The homeless guys who hang around the wholesale toy district downtown have got a crazy parking meter scam going. I’ve been over there a few times in the past week or so in the quest for cubes and have encountered it every time. Basically it’s like this – they figured out how the meters register the coins and fashioned little plastic sticks that they can slide down the coin slot and rack up time – then they jam the slot so you can’t put any change in it. When you park they rush you and explain that if you want to park in that spot you need to give them the change you would have put in the meter and they will then rig it for you so you have time, if you don’t pay them, they won’t use their magic meter sticks and you’ll get a ticket. There’s probably 20 different guys doing this all day on the several blocks north of 3rd and west of Alameda, specifically on Boyd and Wall streets. I got the feeling they’ve been doing this unchallenged for a while because they were telling me the scam before asking how long I was going to be there or if I was a cop (which they did, but after they’d already given me a hour credit).
The karma of this came back and kicked me in the ass an hour later when I got a $45 ticket at 2:58 in Culver City for parking in a “street cleaning – no parking noon – 3PM” zone. Ugh.