In Britain they're known as civil enforcement officers. In the US it's parking attendant. In Montreal, Canada, it's Green Onions, inspired by their uniform colour.
Here, we call them parking inspectors when we're not grunting more obscene monikers under our breath at the sight of a fine slipped under the windscreen wipers.
Whatever the title, these men and women inspire equal parts ire and fear in motorists with a car parked in a street.
Strictly speaking, ''Don't shoot the messenger'' is apt here.
A parking inspector - or the gussied-up ''community safety officer'' title Parramatta City Council gave staff in 2010 - merely reinforces local parking laws.
They didn't make the rules. They don't deserve abuse if they're just doing their job.
Why, though, do they have to be so efficient at it?
Of all the local government positions, why are they the most prompt, most accurate and most reliable?
We can drive for weeks, even months, over suspension-juddering potholes before council workers fill them in.
Park in a two-hour spot for two hours and eight minutes and you can be sure a little strip of moisture-proof, rip-resistant paper, with an insultingly handy orange envelope, is fluttering on the windscreen.
Yes, the sign says two hours. Yes, it is now 10 minutes past that time. But, honestly, inspector, it took me that long to decipher the multi-panelled parking restriction sign.
See - it wasn't yet a clearway but had finished being a loading zone. It does become a taxi zone in three hours but remains a normal parking zone between 11am and 3pm, unless it's a weekend, when that runs out at noon and only two-person helicopters can park here, if they are facing the flow of traffic and have their registration sticker on the window, not the rotor blade.
There are many valid reasons for promptly dispensing parking tickets. Parking spots for the disabled, bus stops, areas blocking peak-hour traffic - all warranted.
But when it's 1am, no other cars are parked for a two-kilometre radius and you're fined for breaching the meter by 10 minutes, the future of society's kinship seems damned.
Look, I’ll admit I find it hard to understand what motivates people to become parking inspectors, in much the same way I don’t understand why anyone would want to become a nightclub bouncer, a firing squad marksman or a Telstra call centre operator (I mean, imagine having to put up with all those irate customers yelling down the line at you in accents that bear no resemblance to your native Hindi).
But while it doesn’t rank high on my list of occupations I should have taken up instead of journalism (Russian tennis coach, for example), I can appreciate the vital role parking inspectors perform in society.
I certainly have little sympathy for people who constantly pick up parking fines (are you reading this, darling?). I mean, you know the rules, you know the punishment, you commit the crime and you whinge about the outcome.
How hard is it to set an alarm on your phone and pop down to feed the meter or scrub the chalk off the tyres?
The whole idea of a two-hour parking limit (apart from the inconsequential amount of money raised from meters and the associated fines) is to allow as many people as possible to enjoy our overcrowded beaches, parks and shopping centres.
Overstaying your welcome on a backstreet, though, is nothing compared with that most heinous of antisocial parking crimes, parking in a clearway.
As far as selfish, inconsiderate acts are concerned, that has to rank up there with letting your dog poop on someone else’s lawn and leaving it there (I will catch you one day!).
I mean, you’re consigning hundreds, possibly thousands, of motorists to more peak-hour pain just because you couldn’t be bothered walking a couple of extra blocks to the restaurant.
Clamping tyres and towing cars isn’t enough for this special breed of social pariahs. The council should make their driveways a free parking zone for a few weeks. Then they might get the idea that there are other people on the planet.
So before you have a lash at that parking inspector, have a good look in the mirror. Remember, it’s a dirty job but somebody has to do it.