Thursday, May 25, 2006

Am I Missing Something?

I think I'm missing something when it comes to parking lot/baby etiquette. Maybe my readers can help.

Jay and I are not yet part of the minivan set. We drive regular four-door cars, so when we put the baby into the carseat, one of the back doors is necessarily hanging open. If I am parked next to an empty parking spot, I will access the carseat through the door that is on the side of the empty parking spot. This makes sense to me. I have enough room to maneuver the baby and all necessary paraphenalia without having to worry about banging the car next to me.

Without fail, as I am struggling with baby, grocery bags, and a diaper bag, someone will want to park in the spot next to me. This has never happened in a parking lot where all the spots were taken except the one next to me. No, it always happens in parking lots where there are plenty of open spaces. I can only assume that the open space next to me is the most convenient or closest to the store (because God forbid anyone ever have to walk anywhere.)

The sequence of events following the person seeing the open spot is different every time. Today Jay reported that a driver pulled her enormous SUV around the open door of his car and ended up with her vehicle in some jacked-up position. A few weeks ago I actually had a guy inch up closer and closer into the empty parking spot so that he was actually bumping up against my stroller. (I'm so mad at myself that I didn't just leave my cart sitting right in the middle of the spot he was trying to pull into. I actually moved it out of his way! Argh!) I've also just had people sit in the lane of the parking lot and wait for me to finish and close the door, meaning that everyone else behind that person also has to sit and wait.

Am I missing something? Is there something I should be doing differently, or am I just overly-sensitive to everyone else's convenience?


Jim said...

I've noticed this, too!

My theory is that most people have accumulated numerous experiences waiting for parents to stow away strollers, diaper bags and infants when trying to claim a parking space in a crowded lot, and this leads to a subconscious, negative association toward small children when parking. As a result, they act in a territorial manner toward the minivan/rugrat set. Studies have even shown a strong correlation between latent territorialism and parking.

Then again, I may be over-analyzing this and we're just more cognizant of everyday idiots when they come near our kids.

Gran said...

We are not changing the self-serving public. That is why I park in the section of the lot where there are no people/vehicles. A habit I picked up when I had the truck and had to open suicide doors to get groceries in the back.

Mary Beth said...

Jim--Great article, and heck yeah I took longer than normal when that creep was edging into my space!

Mom--I guess I could park farther away, but I like to minimize the distance that I have to walk through the parking lot with Joshua with all those yahoos whizzing through.

jenny said...

Local supermarket chain Marsh offers "Pregnant mothers and parents with toddlers" parking. It's in the first row, but off to one side, with similar markings to handicap parking except with pink-and-blue slashes instead of just blue. Each space has a "marked off" space beside it for loading ease.
Other places I just try to park next to the cart corral, wherever that is, so I can take the cart back easily.
But even with a sliding minivan-door, you still end up with your butt in the space next to yours as you tuck the wee one into the car, and darn it, people need to learn to wait anyway. Whatever happened to common courtesy???

Mary Beth said...

Ah, Marsh is Jay's favorite grocery store. I'll have to let him know that yours has a set of special parking spots and see if his does, too.

The cart corral is also a really good idea.

So many common sense ideas that I didn't think of!

BTW, I love the potato story, Jenny. I sent it to Jay after I stopped laughing.

Rightthinker said...

Yes, there are a plethera of people who can't drive and park. In addition, I find that people driving minivans are awfully prone to this. It seems that they often think that because they have a minivan, they can drive and park any way they choose.

I am one of the "HUGE SUV" people. We have a very large, comfortable and roomy SUV with 3 full rows of seats. We have 4 kids, 3 in car seats, and we detest minivans-so it was our only choice.

However, my husband made me drive this vehicle with him, and practice, for a whole week before I drove it on my own. I always park far out in the lots, because with 4 kids, and someone waiting on me to move, I could seriously lose my cool and calm spirit and motion to them as to where they should go... ;)

I find that people are often only concerned with themselves. They will leave a woman, with four children in tow, standing in the rain, so that they can drive in their dry car, across the lot first.

Driving and parking are one of those things that I think, sadly, are a reflection on how people act, in general. Their driving and parking lot etiquette are representative of their whole life. Take and be aggressive. Sometimes the car they drive is carte blanche to do so, as if we should feel sorry for them that they chose to have a mini van.