I was heading into the grocery store the other night when I saw something that made my jaw drop. A lady, apparently deciding that the cart-return was too far away, decided to give her shopping cart a solid heave… right through the sporadically parked cars in the back half of the lot.
The cart, as Wally-World carts often do, immediately hooked a left into oncoming traffic, causing a guy to slam on his brakes to avoid a collision. The lady, either too callous or too oblivious, pulled away with nary a glance at the narrowly avoided impact.
Now, granted, I was at Wal-Mart; I don’t have high expectations for the patrons. In fact, I saw not one, but two ladies wearing Snuggies as I perused the aisles.
But it certainly got me thinking. Parking lot courtesy (and safety) is sorely lacking. Few other places combine the confusion, frustration and crowds of both pedestrians and vehicles in motion like a modern superstore parking lot.
So as a public-service announcement, I present to you some insights into parking lot manners. These are insights gleaned from years of walking through the loosely-organized chaos that is a Midwest Wal-Mart blacktop – so trust me, I’m an expert.
Those Arrows and Lines Mean Something
Those arrows at lane entrances in parking lots? They mean something. All too often I have to stop to let some clueless driver who is going against traffic by because they don’t realize that the arrows, and the angles of the parking spaces themselves, are setup to guide traffic and keep it flowing.
Even worse are the people who cut across rows of spaces. A slow cautious turn is fine, but these slowpokes are usually driving 55 mph as they blaze a new trail through the white lines.
I Took The Crosswalk Because I Didn’t Want You To Hit Me
Or alternately titled “Slow the F down!” Crossing the gauntlet between a parking lot and the store entrance has become a deadly gamble. Just when you think the coast is clear, a 16-year-old in their parents Suburban comes roaring past the crosswalk, walkers-be-damned.
Parking lots have people walking through them – people who would not like to die before they’re able to complete their purchase.
Return Your Cart, A$$hole
Parking lots have little cart-corrals spread throughout, providing convenient spots to park your cart after you’re finished. So why do they end up randomly strewn about?
I park in the back of the lot on purpose – in a likely misguided attempt at protecting my car from careless door dings. An unfortunate side effect of being alone in the back of the lot is that my car is usually surrounded by abandoned carts by the time I return, which I have to carefully maneuver around as I leave.
It Isn’t A Better Spot if it Takes 30 Minutes to Park
Whats with the obsession over front-row parking spaces? You’re not saving any time if you have to sit for 10 minutes while you wait for someone to unload their packages and back out – and in the meantime, the seven cars behind you are steaming with unspeakable rage because you’re the guy who’s been driving through the lot like a vulture waiting for a prime space to open up. Never mind the fact that you’ve driven past a dozen open spaces. Never mind that I’ve parked, walked through the lot into the store, found my items, completed my purchase and am now walking back out in the time it took you to park. You got that front-row space; you win, buddy.
So there you have it; four common-sense observations on the degradation of our parking lot courtesy. Take heed and learn from the misdeeds of those around you. And if you’re the cause of these fist-clenching acts of obliviousness, may the unsightliness of a thousand door-dings rain down upon your car as it sits in the front-row space you spent 30 minutes searching for.