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Is there a need to make the sentence below parallel?

Whether you are looking for a place to leave items or want to manage your inventory . . .

I find that if it's converted to the more parallel structure below, the contrast between the two choices is lost.

Whether you're looking for a place to leave items or manage your inventory . . .

[Managing the inventory will happen at the place, so the sense of the sentence above is correct. This isn't the actual sentence I'm working with so it might not sound completely logical.]

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There is never a need to to use a parallel structure, but there can be very good reasons for wanting to.

Your second sentence suffers by not being parallel enough, so you have lost the 'place to do inventory' sense which makes it unbalanced. As you correctly observe, this reduces the contrast by subordinating the inventory. Try:

Whether you're looking for a place to leave your items, or a place to manage your inventory . . .

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