Elaine Brown is not looking forward to the holiday shopping season. She’s no Scrooge. It’s just that as the malls fill up, drivers are more likely to park in the spots she and her wheelchair-bound eight-year-old rely on.
“They’re just waiting for someone to come out of the mall, so they think it’s no big deal because they’re not officially parked,” says Brown, who has to carry her son, Nate, across the parking lot when no accessibility spots are available.
“It’s amazing how many people do it,” she says, adding there’s a $301 fine in her hometown of Cambridge, Ont., for those caught violating this parking bylaw.
Around the holidays, when people are pressed for time and parking spaces are scarce, drivers can become stressed, forget their manners, or worse.
Andre Bourgeois had an encounter he’ll never forget at Sunnyside Mall in Bedford, N.S. It was “the midst of the pre-holiday last-minute shopping rush,” when he and another driver both set their sights on the same spot.
As the minivan driver reversed rapidly toward the spot, Bourgeois swerved, narrowly avoiding a collision.
The other driver then jumped out, kicked Bourgeois’s car and threw punches at him.
The saga ended with the other driver’s wife yelling that Christmas had been ruined, and their two young kids standing by crying.
“I had my glasses repaired in the mall for free and, in the spirit of the season, did not press charges,” Bourgeois says.
Even when drivers aren’t breaking laws, their parking transgressions can drive a person to distraction.
Robb Engen’s biggest peeve is drivers who feel entitled to more than one spot. “I’m in Lethbridge, Alta., and there are a lot of big pickup trucks,” he says. Last Christmas, he saw a Ford F-350 parked across four parking spots.
Engen’s advice: “If you have a new car and you want to avoid a door ding, either don’t go to crowded parking lots or you park far away and don’t inconvenience others by taking up prime spots.”
For Misty Tsilimidos, there’s nothing more annoying than drivers who park too close.
At a store in Orangeville, Ont., a driver parked so close their bumpers were touching. “I just stood there thinking, ‘What the hell? How can one be so oblivious?’”
Of course, there’s no guarantee you can get out of a crowded parking lot once you’re in. Kristina Huisman once sat trapped in her car at Real Canadian Superstore in Edmonton while a man beside her changed his daughter’s diaper. “Have a little respect for those around you or perhaps use the bathroom in the grocery store instead of a parking lot to change your daughter!”
You could always stay home and order gifts online, but what if you just can’t avoid a busy parking lot and someone steals your spot, then flips you the bird? When that happened to Betty-Anne Howard at the Costco in Ottawa, she just let it go. “Life is too short to be getting bent out of shape about these things. It’s a frigging parking spot.”
What’s your biggest #ParkingPeeve? Tell us.
Click here for a gallery of the guilty.
Report on Business Community Editor Dianne Nice begins writing monthly for Globe Drive.