A Parking Ticket? Take one!

Sunday, July 15, 2007

When I first parked in front of the laundry and started gathering my belongings, a young uniformed woman came up to me, almost immediately, with a ticket book in her hand. Without waiting a moment, I quickly apologized and drove off and parked a couple of blocks away. On my next visit, I noticed a sign that said (in Spanish) "Parking with ticket." Still somewhat confused, I parked my car in the downtown area. Again, a young woman in an orange jacket approached. This time I figured it out. You need to pay .40 cents to get a ticket, which is put under your windshield wiper. Every half hour, the ticket provider puts another ticket under your windsheild wiper. When you leave, you pay up. Each block has one ticket person, and they seem to be pretty relaxed about their job. They stand on corners and chat with each other, talk with the drivers of the cars, and are friendly to everyone.

There are many examples here in Chile of jobs that have been replaced with automated machines in the United States. Unlike the Untied States, here there are no self-serve check-out counters. Rather, in some stores, there are different salespeople who ring up the merchandise and then you pay yet another cashier and then receive your bagged goods from a third person. I am sure it is different in the large cities like Santiago, but for now, we are enjoying the relaxed pace of Puerto Natales.