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Why The Closest Parking Spot?  
User currently offlineMatt D From United States of America, joined Nov 1999, 9502 posts, RR: 47
Posted (12 years 2 weeks 3 days 1 hour ago) and read 1107 times:

This has fascinated me for years. Why do people try so hard and go so far out of their way to get the closest parking spot at wherever they happen to go?

How many times have you seen someone drive around and around, like the Holding Pattern from Hell in a parking lot? Why do people do that?

What is it about the Closest Parking Spot that elevates it to the status of the Holy Grail? Is it some kind of Status Symbol? Is the relative "rarity" of the "closest spot" as opposed to the other, distant spots what makes it a hot item?

I see it all the time. Someone will be in their vehicle. They will drive up and down every single row, just looking for that spot. Then, they have to go around to the back of the lot, passing scores and scores of ampty, herringboned parking spaces only to return right back from where they started from. I've heard people try and justify this arcane action by saying "Well I'm in a hurry".

To me, that excuse holds no water because they'll spend upwards of 5 or even 10 minutes to "save" a one or two minute walk. If you were really in a hurry, wouldn't you grab the first spot you see, take a 30 second walk, and be be done with it?

And what happens when they do find that spot? More often than not, they're in a huge Suburban or something. Have you ever watched an SUV try and wriggle its way into a spot designed for a Honda? It's even better when there are two Hondas on either side of the opening. That person will back in, then out, then in for another two or three minutes in their effort to "save time". (again, there are spots not more than 150 feet away that have weeds growing through the cracks because no one ever parks there)

Or how about when there are two people vying for the same "closest" spot?

Have you ever seen two cars, headlight to headlight in some kind of bizarre standoff waiting for a car to back out because someone just got into that car? Why will TWO cars sit and WAIT for one spot? Again, remember, there are 300 vacancies just sitting there for the taking.

You've heard of "pissing matches" or games of "chicken" to see who's got "the bigger balls"?

That's what I see when I see two cars sitting waiting for the Closest Spot!

I've heard stories of two cars actually driving into each other when competing for a parking spot, in what had to be the worlds most avoidable accident. We talk a lot about Road Rage and air pollution and rising stress levels and people being rude to each other. I see all of the above when I see people circling around and around. They are wasting gas. They are growing flustered and agitated. Something as simple as a parking spot (which they don't even own) becomes a very personal matter.

I guess it's a matter of principle. We are willing to demolish our vehicles, end up in a fistfight, drive for hours, waste a tank of gas, pollute the air-ANYTHING to avoid having to park "out in the boonies" and actually have to WALK for more than 15 steps from our car to our destination.

I think the ultimate in absurd behavior is when I see this going on at my local 24 Hour Fitness. People are going there to do aerobics, run on treadmills, swim 500 laps, and lift weights. But for some reason, they don't want to have to walk to the gym to do that.

WHY? WHY? WHY? WHY? WHY?

Friends, as you give this post the traditional 1-star rating, just think about what I'm saying. Next time you drive or ride as a passenger to the shopping mall, forget about the closest spot. Take the first one you can find, even if it is a few minute walk to the front door. You need the exercise. You'll save gas. You'll save wear and tear on your vehicle. You really will save time in the long run. You'll arrive in a fresh and great mood. You won't be all irritated form doing battle with the other motorists. Give it a try. It's quite an eye opener.

And lastly, being that you're out in the boonies, you won't have to worry about door dings. There won't be another car within 50 feet of you.



33 replies: All unread, showing first 25:
 
User currently offlineJFKTOWERFAN From United States of America, joined Sep 2001, 1100 posts, RR: 15
Reply 1, posted (12 years 2 weeks 3 days ago) and read 1096 times:
AIRLINERS.NET CREW
DATABASE EDITOR

Matt D I agree with you this is a very serious issue Big grin By the time some dope finds a closer spot I have already parked and been inside the store etc. For 5 min.



C'mon Man
User currently offlineKROC From , joined Dec 1969, posts, RR:
Reply 2, posted (12 years 2 weeks 3 days ago) and read 1091 times:

I want the closest spot, because I'm too lazy too walk.

Signed, the stereotypical fat lazy American.


User currently offlineGreg From United Kingdom, joined May 2005, 0 posts, RR: 0
Reply 3, posted (12 years 2 weeks 3 days ago) and read 1082 times:

It's easiest just to valet park it.
Most the better shopping malls have it--and it's only a couple bucks.
One chain of grocery stores has it here in Houston as well.
Same with some movie theatres.

Beats walking in the rain..or in a dark parking garage. Makes life much easier.


User currently offlineMatt D From United States of America, joined Nov 1999, 9502 posts, RR: 47
Reply 4, posted (12 years 2 weeks 3 days ago) and read 1076 times:

Beats walking in the rain..or in a dark parking garage. Makes life much easier.

Well here in SoCal, we don't get but maybe a dozen rainy days a year. And of all of those, it's rare that the rain is continuous. So pardon the pun, but THAT excuse doesn't hold water either.

Who cares if you're in a garage? What's uppermost in your mind? The clothes/toys/services/electronics/food, or whatever you're going to get or where you park?

That's like saying 'I'm going to be going to the Café Bistro. The food sucks, but you should see their parking lot. It is simply beautiful. So that's where I'm going." I simply must have my car seen in that parking lot.

And now let's talk about making life easier. You must've not read the post. Either that, or you're priorities are pretty whacked.

You're telling me that driving in circles for 5, 10, 15 or 20 minutes, turning, weaving, speeding up, slowing down, searching, craning your head left and right looking for that spot, and getting annoyed and angry is EASIER than simply walking 30 seconds longer?

Sound pretty lame, right? But that's what you're saying.


User currently offlineNonrevman From United States of America, joined Nov 2001, 1292 posts, RR: 1
Reply 5, posted (12 years 2 weeks 2 days 23 hours ago) and read 1068 times:

I am inclined to agree with Matt D on this one. Back in the day, we used to drive with this guy named Frank. He did exactly as you described. He would make a day out of looking for a close spot until he finally gave up. We still refer to this as "franking out".

Another reason why I like areas away from the store entrance is because most of the traffic is concentrated at the entrance. Therefore, if you do get the "Holy Grail" spot, you will likely have to wait for a multitude of cars and pedestrians to pass so that you can fight your way out of there. I dont have this problem in the middle or the back.

By the way, if it is raining, I just bring an umbrella.


User currently offlineFlyguy1 From United States of America, joined Jun 1999, 1738 posts, RR: 4
Reply 6, posted (12 years 2 weeks 2 days 23 hours ago) and read 1060 times:

Actually, in NY people have to do this just to get a spot at all. I dont always look for the closest spot, since it is usually a pain in the ass to get into.


727, L1011, MD80, A300, 777-200, 737-300, 737-700, 747-400, 757-200, 737-800, A320. E190, E135, 767-200, CRJ9
User currently offlineMatt D From United States of America, joined Nov 1999, 9502 posts, RR: 47
Reply 7, posted (12 years 2 weeks 2 days 23 hours ago) and read 1053 times:

Actually, in NY people have to do this just to get a spot at all

It's one thing to circle just to find any spot. It's quite another to circle around and around while passing dozens and dozens of empty ones.

The latter is the subject of this discussion.


User currently offlineNKP S2 From United States of America, joined Dec 1999, 1714 posts, RR: 5
Reply 8, posted (12 years 2 weeks 2 days 23 hours ago) and read 1049 times:

Yes it's an idiotic practice, and no, I cannot see the what motivates some to strive harder for a parking spot than their own professional lives. -- Day after day I see the same half-dozen people ( jerkoffs ) show up an hour and a half early for their shift and sit idling at the parking entrance like vultures. It's really funny when our shift leaves because you can sense their anticipation as they see us getting into our cars. I'm an unconscionable ball breaker though: When I do get into my car to leave and see the parade of headlights jokeying for position, I sit there idling for a few minutes and dither around combing my hair etc, just for spite. I'll also walk toward my car and watch one of these losers bound toward the spot...but before I get there I change course and walk past it like it wasn't mine and when the hapless loser drives on by I do an abrupt U-turn and go back to my car...and someone ELSE gets the spot. I really enjoy this. -- We also always see the same exact cars in the closest "primo" spots every day ( and I mean EVERY ) as I come in. One of my co-workers quipped to me "if that guy couldn't park there, he'd go back home and call in sick". Sick indeed.

User currently offline777236ER From , joined Dec 1969, posts, RR:
Reply 9, posted (12 years 2 weeks 2 days 22 hours ago) and read 1043 times:

Username: KROC
Posted 2002-07-16 16:30:20 and read 43 times.
I want the closest spot, because I'm too lazy too walk.

Signed, the stereotypical fat lazy American


Hehehe, you do realise that if anyone non-American said that we'd be classed as anti-American idiots etc? Smile


User currently offlineKROC From , joined Dec 1969, posts, RR:
Reply 10, posted (12 years 2 weeks 2 days 22 hours ago) and read 1039 times:

777236ER. I was just saving one of those Anti-Americans the trouble of posting it, and possibly averting a flame war.

User currently offlineMatt D From United States of America, joined Nov 1999, 9502 posts, RR: 47
Reply 11, posted (12 years 2 weeks 2 days 22 hours ago) and read 1038 times:

I guess looking for the Closest Parking Spot is an addiction akin to cocaine or pornography.

Want to have real fun with these losers? Try these tips. All, I have done at one time or another:

As suggested above, walk towards your car like you're getting in it. Then walk away. Classic.

Get in your car, turn on the reverse lights and just sit there. Watching the sucker fidget in his car, you'd think there was an ant invasion in his pants.

Same as above, but actually pull out a few feet, then wait there a few seconds, then pull back in. Park your car, and get out and walk away as though you "forgot" something. Watching the smoke come out of the victims nostrils is indeed hilarious.



And now here's my favorite. Do it at your own risk.


You can only do it during the holidays. But if you REALLY want to beat people at this game, here's how you do it.

During the Holiday Rush season (usually between Thanksgiving and Christmas Eve), the shopping malls are jammed to the gills. Even the "boonies" parking spots are taken. You're lucky to find a spot even on the same property, especially in the evenings and weekends.

Go there on a Saturday or Sunday morning at something like 7AM. Find THE CLOSEST spot to the main entrance and park there. Then, go find a nearby coffee shop and have some coffee and some bacon and eggs or whatever you like for breakfast. While you're there, read the paper or surf the 'net on your laptop (if you have one) Then, when the mall opens up (usually at 0900 or 1000), go in, do your shopping, then come out. By the time you are done, it will be around lunchtime. By then, the mall will have filled up to the gills.

But remember, you parked at THE closest spot. Well, here's where wasting your morning pays off. As people drive by, OFFER your spot to the highest bidder! Flag people down and offer them your spot.

Most of them will thumb their nose and drive off. But sooner or later (and the more crowded the mall is, the sooner it will be), some fat and lazy American spoiled with Instant Gratification will, in sheer desperation, accept your offer.

Charge $50, or $75, or whatever you can get.

Some people will argue that you can't do that. Just ignore them. Just don't leave. If you see security coming, just disappear back into the mall. Remember you parked by the front door? You'll vanish in a wink. And security has better things to do than sit and wait for you to come out.

Once you've made your $$$ for the spot, come back on Sunday and do it again.

If you start early, and commit to every weekend for the month of December, you can basically get all of your Christmas shopping subsidized for you......

And if there is more than one mall in your area, alternate between the two.


User currently offline777236ER From , joined Dec 1969, posts, RR:
Reply 12, posted (12 years 2 weeks 2 days 22 hours ago) and read 1030 times:

KROC: don't worry we do this over here too.

Matt D: aren't you reading a BIT too much into this?


User currently offlineSeb146 From United States of America, joined Nov 1999, 11533 posts, RR: 15
Reply 13, posted (12 years 2 weeks 2 days 22 hours ago) and read 1021 times:

My dad did this and it annoyed everyone in the car. If I find a close parking spot upon first entering a parking lot, I will take it. Otherwise I walk. Rain? This is the Pacific Northwest. If you can't handle the rain, go back to SoCal. (My apologies. Typical 'native' reaction.)
The thing that annoys me is when people go the wrong way in parking lots. It is clear that traffic should move in one direction down an aisle yet some speed deamons decide they can go any way they darn well please. It is usualy some lowered, thumpin' Acura or SUV with a very tiny woman behind the wheel. I feel like unleshing my new saying on these....... people: HELLO!!!! OTHER PEOPLE ON THE PLANET!!!!!



Life in the wall is a drag.
User currently offlineGreg From United Kingdom, joined May 2005, 0 posts, RR: 0
Reply 14, posted (12 years 2 weeks 2 days 21 hours ago) and read 1014 times:

Matt:
Sorry....but I valet every chance I can. It's the quickest and easiest way to park. I'm in the building..or wherever I need to be in about one minute. Tip great and they take good care of your car.
Even IAH now has valet parking and will wash your car if you call them the day before arrival.

How much better can that be?

Is it lazy? Nope...my free time is valuable to me. I do it so I don't have to look for a parking space...or more importantly..remember where I parked it.


User currently offlineN312RC From United States of America, joined Aug 2000, 2682 posts, RR: 16
Reply 15, posted (12 years 2 weeks 2 days 21 hours ago) and read 1013 times:

My favorite site is watching that illusive soccer mom try to cram her Ford Expedition or Chevy Suburban into a "compact only" spot...


Fly Delta's Big Jets!
User currently offlineMatt D From United States of America, joined Nov 1999, 9502 posts, RR: 47
Reply 16, posted (12 years 2 weeks 2 days 21 hours ago) and read 1004 times:

Sorry....but I valet every chance I can. It's the quickest and easiest way to park.

What are you apologizing for? I applaud your effort. It sounds to me like you're pretty levelheaded and don't want to bother with petty things like this. Your time is at a premium to you and you're not afraid to pay for it. Unfortunately, there are not valet lots everywhere here in SoCal. Those seem to be pretty much limited to the West Side, Downtown, and The Valley.

I don't frequent those areas. I'm a denizen of the Inland Empire, Orange County, and San Gabriel Valley sections of the LA Metropolis-where valet parking is still relatively pretty rare.

You've got my blessings.


Anyway, now back to the topic.


User currently offlineSrbmod From , joined Dec 1969, posts, RR:
Reply 17, posted (12 years 2 weeks 2 days 20 hours ago) and read 994 times:

I usually try to get the first parking spot I see. If it's an upclose space, great, if not, so I have to walk a little. Some people think that walking 20 extra feet is a complete hassle, like they're having to park a mile away. I mean some places you have no option but to park away from where you are going. When's the last time you parked right next to the venue in which you going to a game or a concert? Unless you have one of those parking stickers given to the suite owners, you're S.O.L. Just that the first empty space you see, and quite whining about having to walk a few extra feet. A little bit of walking never killed anyone.

User currently offlineYyz717 From Canada, joined Sep 2001, 16245 posts, RR: 56
Reply 18, posted (12 years 2 weeks 2 days 16 hours ago) and read 974 times:

Recall the Ally McBeal episode where Ling bumps into a person in a wheelchair -- "watch where you're going, it's bad enough you people get all the best parking spots".

hehehe




Panam, TWA, Ansett, Eastern.......AC next? Might be good for Canada.
User currently offlineSSTjumbo From , joined Dec 1969, posts, RR:
Reply 19, posted (12 years 2 weeks 2 days 16 hours ago) and read 968 times:

Why the closest parking spot?

Ask yourself why so many Americans are overweight. Someone probably said that already, but oh well.


User currently offlineMx5_boy From , joined Dec 1969, posts, RR:
Reply 20, posted (12 years 2 weeks 2 days 15 hours ago) and read 959 times:

Guys,

Laaaayyyyyzzzzziiiiinnnnnesssssss. Simple.

It happens in this country as well, Sydney is full of hideous mega-malls with this sort of problem. We also have that ridiculous problem of people driving up to 4 suburbs away to score 2 or 4 cents a litre off fuel. It defeats the purpose in reality.

Personally, I avoid shopping malls like the plague. *hideous* Instead I shop in the city department stores and have my groceries home delivered. When I do invariably have to park at a major shopping centre I look for a spot that is next to a concrete support and make sure the car next to me doesn't have kiddie seats in the back. (One side is at least protected.) Too many times I have seen kids slam open a car door into another persons car.

Oh, and the parents with *prams* parking spots at Westfield's are excellent to park in - nice and wide.

mb


User currently offlineRussianplnelvr From United States of America, joined Sep 2001, 228 posts, RR: 0
Reply 21, posted (12 years 2 weeks 2 days 15 hours ago) and read 951 times:

Matt D,

I always see quite a few valet parking parking spots in Orange County.


User currently offlineNWA Man From United States of America, joined Jun 1999, 1828 posts, RR: 12
Reply 22, posted (12 years 2 weeks 2 days 7 hours ago) and read 924 times:

Greg...

You're absolutely insane.

Handing the valet boy the keys to your M5???

Takes guts, man.


NWA Man



Create your own luck.
User currently offlineNotdownnlocked From United States of America, joined Sep 2000, 929 posts, RR: 1
Reply 23, posted (12 years 2 weeks 2 days 7 hours ago) and read 918 times:

I would like to add a little this topic here which I have seen to be quite the norm also and perhaps you all did not notice: Is that you can see these same "minions" (i.e.) soccer moms/SUV'ers and others in the same category driving around with very many spaces open even up close to where they need to get out they will still drive around over and over as they are not used to so many choices and will drive trying to decide where to park in the empty lot. I see it every day and it does happen. Am I the only one to notice this?

User currently offlineGreg From United Kingdom, joined May 2005, 0 posts, RR: 0
Reply 24, posted (12 years 2 weeks 2 days 1 hour ago) and read 905 times:

NWA....
I threaten them first...and hand them my business card from my law firm.
I'm kidding, of course.

I've never had any problem--that I've known of... I ask them nicely to take good care of it. And tip generously upfront!




25 Srbmod : I really don't like having to get my car valet parked. I mean, my car's not all that great, but I just get a mental of picture of them doing to my car
26 KAL_LM : Yeah, this always cracks me up. Waht also makes me laugh is when this idiocy happens at the mall. I mean, you're going there to walk around and shop a
27 747-451 : I park where I can find a spot, where ever the spot is. However, my Dad has the last laugh, he has handicapped plates...and there is no greater satifa
28 EWRvirgin : Matt, Sounds like you're doing a George Carlin bit.
29 VonRichtofen : As a former Valet I will say this: Most Valets respect nice cars, even if I wasn't tipped well I'd still take good care of a nice car. If the person t
30 Gumah : Matt, Just as an FYI, there are two OC shopping malls that offer valet that I know of. Nordstrom @ Brea Mall as well as South Coast Plaza. I find thes
31 Post contains images Planelover : What about parking garages? Many times I see people cramming in, trying to get closest to the walkway on the lower level. Seems pretty dumb to me. Why
32 Big777jet : I do not care to park closer to the store. I always park my car in the back parking lot where are no cars next to my car. I hate to see some idiots wh
33 Post contains images Dripstick : Mall Parking Spotters Club of America
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