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A European job, being civilian staff employed by the police to enforce parking laws. Their handiwork can be seen if you ever park on a double yellow line in a British city.
Having acquired a reputation for petty-mindedness and inflexibility (ticketing people attending a funeral, for example), traffic wardens have become Acceptable Professional Targets in the United Kingdom and France. The North American versions are known as meter maids (even though most are male).
This sentiment has not been helped by the fact that the job is now outsourced to private companies. "Horror stories" such as vehicles involved in traffic accidents and ambulances picking up critically injured patients being ticketed are commonplace. Other stories include the disabled and elderly people's cars having photographs deliberately taken from angles that won't show the Disabled Pass. This happens because Traffic Wardens work on commission.
Contrast with Meddlesome Patrolman.
- A McDonalds advert in the UK featured a traffic warden trying to put ticket on the windscreen of a monster truck.
- A certain phone company has a Traffic Warden go around and putting tickets on people that really shouldn't be getting tickets. Like right after they've parked. During all the scream and pleading they open up the ticket to reveal money...or at least something nice.
Comics -- Books
- Gaston Lagaffe's longtime foe Longtarin, who lives only to give parking tickets. Their rivalry sometimes reaches escalating prank war proportions.
Films -- Live-Action
- In The World Is Not Enough, James Bond splashes two wardens (played by those featured in Clampers) in a tight turn with the Q-Boat. Many cinema audiences in the UK cheered at this scene.
- Lock, Stock and Two Smoking Barrels has a traffic warden held prisoner by the criminals and beaten up, then recovered by the heroes -- who can't resist beating him up themselves.
Eddie: I fucking hate traffic wardens.
(the gang proceed to beat said traffic warden senseless)
- In Good Omens the angel and demon protagonists both come upon a traffic warden writing a ticket, and both assume traffic wardens were created by the other's faction.
- When Sergeant Colon and Corporal Nobbs found themselves in charge of the Discworld-equivalent of this department, the over-zealous clamping policy went so far as to include buildings as targets, including the Opera House and the Patrician's Palace. It could be argued that buildings do impede the flow of traffic somewhat.... Of course, Colon is a reasonable man and recognizes that Vetinari was parked on business.
He's also willing to overlook the offense if the accused presents credible evidence of a free pint or meal. Possibly the best trick they pulled (subsequently busted by Vetinari) was for Nobby to disguise himself as an old woman and cross the road extremely slowly in front of oncoming traffic, getting people to stop long enough that Colon could ticket them.
- In the Tom Holt novel Who's Afraid of Beowulf?, the heroes find their vehicle has been clamped while they were in the museum. The king responds to this by drawing his sword and cutting the clamps off. All bystanders cheer.
- One of the few sympathetic portrayals of traffic wardens was in the Julian Symons novel A Three Pipe Problem. Needing eyes on the streets, the hero Sheridan Hayes recruits the local traffic wardens: they know the streets, are out every day, and no-one pays them any attention.
- A BBC Docu Soap, Clampers, followed about a bunch of traffic wardens.
- The Tomorrow People story The Doomsday Men featured a traffic warden as a Running Gag. In his first appearance, he tries to put a parking ticket on a van belonging to a friend of the TPs, only for the van to teleport away before he has a chance. He later gets fired after trying to prove to his boss that there is a disappearing van, and in his final appearance, he jumps in a river.
- In the season three opener of Primeval, a traffic warden gets killed.
- Parodied in The Chaser's War on Everything, where Julian Morrow, as the "Citizen's Infringement Officer" went around giving tickets for things such as stupid baby names instead.
- Jocelyn Jee Esien played the character of an officious traffic warden who issues tickets for increasingly ridiculous "offences", such as being in a road accident or taking a nap in the car.
- In the Red Dwarf episode "Camille", Lister tries to break Kryten's programming and teach him to lie. Succeeding, Kryten describes a banana as a "small, off-duty Czechoslovak traffic warden", which was inexplicably changed to Tasmanian in the Czech dub.
- One episode of Candid Camera featured a car with a loose windscreen, which fell in and smashed when the traffic warden tried to attach a ticket.
- One sketch/bit on Trigger Happy TV featured a prank where the actor disguised as a Traffic Warden approaches a man either stopped at a red light or stop sign to tell him he can't park there. When the driver insists he's just stopped and not parked, the warden warns him not to get belligerent and starts writing up a fake ticket.
- Harry and Paul features Parking Pataweyo, a cross between Postman Pat and a traffic warden, who lies in wait to issue people with tickets the second their parking permit runs out. In Pataweyo's last sketch his colleague gives him a parking ticket on his day off.
- Parking Wars is an A&E Reality Show about meter maids.
- The Beatles: "Lovely Rita, Meter Maid"
- That Mitchell and Webb Sound had a sketch about traffic wardens, which unusually is supportive of them.