Dear Drivers in a Crowded Parking Lot,
It appears that many drivers do not have common sense. Or, perhaps, drivers lack common courtesy. Optimistically, I want to believe it's merely a matter of common sense. But many times, I can't help but to think otherwise. Driving in a crowded parking lot is one of those times.
Here are some tidbits that everyone should observe in order to make crowded parking lot ordeals a better experience for us all.
Upon entering a crowded parking lot and you find a spot,
1. Look around. If no one has already claimed the spot, turn your blinker on indicating that you are going to take the open spot, move your car into a position so other cars can then go around you (if possible) and then wait for the car to leave. Other drivers should glare at you for a second for lucking out, and then move on in search for another spot.
2. Don't ever, ever, have your shopping buddy/child/boyfriend/girlfriend/partner get out of the car and stand in the soon-to-be-empty spot to "save it" for you*. Such a move always strikes me as somewhat childish. None of us own the parking lot just cuz we see it first.
3. It's sad, actually, that we have so little trust in other people respecting the "I-was-here-first-so-I'm-going-to-park-here" customary rule that some people have to send others to piss on the spot so other people know to stay away. It would be amusing, say, if someone at Trader Joe's parked in a "people-held" spot anyway. What would a polite yuppy do? Would there be a fistfight? Psychologists, perhaps, would be able to make up yet another disorder: parking-lot rage. Pharma companies could create a pill for this and a subsequent ad campaign reaching (and making) millions.
Okay, that's a bit much.
Upon finishing your shopping and seeing that the parking lot is crowded,
1. Find your car as quickly possible. Everyone occasionally forgets where their car is from time to time. In such an event, don't panic. Don't lolligag. Don't call your best friend and tell her that you lost your car. Focus. Think really hard and keep looking.
2. If you happen upon a friend while looking for your car, say a quick "hello, how are you?" and move along. Stopping to chit-chat for more than 2 minutes is not appropriate when your car is taking up a coveted parking space.
3. Upon finding your car, quickly unload your groceries or parcels. If you are talking on your phone, hang up so you aren't loading 15 grocery bags half-assed and one-armed. Again, focus. My time is just as valuable as yours and the fact that you find it essential to tell your friend about your new bangs while leaving the grocery store wastes part of my precious weekend.
4. After loading your car, quickly return your shopping cart to the nearest cart return. Leaving it out "for someone else to take care of" wastes someone else's time and supposedly raises prices for all of us (or some shit that I once read on a K-Mart sign).
5. When you return to your car, insert the key into the ignition. Turn it. And leave the parking space. Don't make a call. Don't talk to your shopping buddy while sitting in the parking space. Leave. Your work here is done. It's someone else's turn. You do remember which gear is "reverse" correct? Nnnnkay.
Yes. I did go grocery shopping this weekend. In case anyone was wondering.
*Open letter coming this winter: Chicago drivers who "save" their shoveled parking spots by placing lawn furniture in the street when they are gone.