Maybe those “Downtown Ambassadors” who patrol the city streets wouldn’t seem so creepy if they weren’t decked out in ill-fitting black-and-red uniforms.
The net effect is unsettling: A mash-up of high school band uniform, hotel bell-person, and the Hitler Youth.
So I’m not surprised that someone, in this case the Pivot Legal Society, finally complained to the Human Rights Tribunal about this ersatz junior police force that harasses homeless people and snoops around the dark corners of the city looking for violators.
Clearly, it’s no coincidence their superiors decided to deck them out in militaristic regalia. It makes them look more important, intimidating. Since they have as much authority as I do — none — they need to at least look as if they’re in charge. The overall effect would be a little more impressive if their pants fit.
How the Downtown Vancouver Business Improvement Association thought it could get away with turning a bunch of mall cops loose on the city streets is beyond me. What if we all decided to get into a jumped-up band uniform and took to the streets with a whistle, flashlight and clipboard, targeting our pet peeves?
The big mistake of the DVBIA was not fitting their uniforms with epaulets. My uniform would definitely come with epaulets. Then I could go out and look great as I get into the faces of buskers who can’t sing or play, people who walk right through you as they check their text messages, and those happy warriors for the Red Cross, Greenpeace, Amnesty and Teddy Bears International who ask me for a donation every three feet.
Not that I’m a big fan of the bums, winos, and fake homeless people who get in my face every day, 37 times a day. But the solution is not this band of annoying minimum wage slaves with a sense of self-importance almost as big as their hat. Maybe if they really were downtown ambassadors, but most of them know less about the downtown than the people they’re harassing. If you’re lost, the last person you want to talk to is a Downtown Ambassador. They want to know what you’re doing here if you don’t know where you’re going.
I’m also not a big fan of the Human Rights Tribunal. But the whole thing is kind of fitting. You have a kangaroo court passing judgment on a fake police force … what’s wrong with this picture?