After a recent trip to the grocery store which was terrifying - and not just because of the prices - it occurs to me that it might be time for a parking lot etiquette refresher. Some of this might sound harsh but sometimes, things just need to be said.
For The Drivers:
1. First of all, parking lots are not race tracks, slow the heck down.
2. Parking lots are also not Demolition Derby's. Do not crash your carriage, your walker, your wheelchair, your baby stroller, your kids backpack or your keys into other people's cars!
3. Speaking of which, park between the doggone lines! If your depth perception is so poor that you cannot manage to maneuver between the lines, you probably shouldn't be driving at all.
4. Which reminds me, if your car is so doggone precious and valuable that you require 6-8 spaces to keep a protective bubble of no other cars around it, your car is probably also too valuable to be driven to the grocery store. Keep it in the garage (with armed guards, barbed wire and trained dogs walking the perimeter). Especially in a very busy, high traffic parking lot.
5. Hey driver pulling out of your space, you are not the only person in the parking lot. Look behind you, to the right AND the left before you pull out. Make use of your rearview and side mirrors for heaven's sakes!
6. For the people who drive cross-lots, if you are so lazy or in such a rush that you cannot drive the full length of the parking aisle but instead cut over, STOP and look before zooming across. The cars that are politely driving full length up and down are not expecting a crazed maniac to fly cross ways in front of them!
7. Those little arrows in the driving aisles of the parking lot are there for a reason. Ours point either east or west. Follow freakin' directions! It's Just Not That Hard.
8. If you, like me, live in a pedestrian right of way state, calm the heck down. There's nothing you can do about it. Honking, yelling or gesturing rudely absolutely does not make people cross the road ahead of you any faster. And in fact, it could encourage them to slow down a bit. Just because they can.
9. It should go without saying, but sadly apparently I have to say it: if you do not belong in a handicap parking space, don't. Just don't be that jerk.
For The Pedestrians:
You walkers aren't without flaw either y'know. It's not just the drivers.
1. Walk on the sides of the driving aisles. Not down the center. I will repeat that because clearly I need to. Do Not Walk Down the Middle of the Driving Aisles! No matter how fast you believe you are walking, it's still slower than a car drives. Get the heck out of the way.
2. When you cross the road in front of cars and they stop for you, because the law says that they have to, don't dawdle. Move it! Tie your shoe, tuck in your shirt, finish your phone conversation or yell at your kid on the other side, not in the middle of the road!
3. When you cross the road in front of cars and they stop for you, again because the law insists that they do, thank them. Be gracious. Just a smile, a wave, a nod, anything that lets them know that you appreciate it. Sometimes the little things really do mean a lot.
4. For heaven's sakes, after unloading your shopping carriage into your car, walk your carriage back to the carriage return. It's just not that far. You managed to walk it into the store, all around the store and to your car. It's probably the shortest distance you will ever push the carriage. Do not abandon it in the parking space next to yours, or give it a nice little push which ultimately rolls it into a car, or pull it up on the median under a tree. It goes in the carriage return. That's why they exist.
5. The parking lot is not a playground. Do not allow your children to run amuck through the traffic. I have a small heart attack nearly every time I go to the grocery store with little people popping out from around parked cars or running in the driving aisles. I live in absolute terror that I might possibly, entirely by accident, injure or worse one of those free range kiddos. I recently saw two little boys playing tag in the parking lot and one of them ran smack into an older gentleman walking with a cane nearly toppling him over. CONTROL YOUR CHILDREN!
6. Oh and by the way, get the heck off the phone while you are walking through the parking lot. Almost as bad as the kids. Taller and more easily spotted and therefore less likely to get run over but still, Get Off The Phone While Walking! Pay attention to your surroundings!
For The Bicyclers:
1. I really have only one thing to say to bicyclers. Maybe you don't know this, but you are supposed to follow the same rules of the road as cars. Which means, Stop at the damned stop signs, signal before turning and wait your turn at the intersection! If you are on wheels you are not a pedestrian.
Ok I think that is quite enough. You may disagree with me. That is fine. I welcome your thoughts. You may have more things to add to this list. Great! I'd like to hear those ideas too.
I know what I've written here won't change a thing. But I feel better for having said it.
Have a Great weekend!
Yup, this is me. Some people said, "Sam, you should write a Blog". "Well, there's a thought", I thought to myself. And so here it is.