"Do you hear that sound? That's your yarn...it's crying"~ Magenta Sequins

Wednesday, January 19, 2011

Park It

Not too long ago, the huz and I started doing our weekly food shopping at the local Wegman’s (which is hardly local as it is in a completely different state, but still only 15 minutes away) in Perth Amboy, New Jersey. See, to a Staten Islander, Wegman’s is the Disneyworld of supermarkets, with obscenely amazing meat, cheese, and produce sections; their quality in all three greatly eclipse the SI supermarkets. But this post isn’t about better brussel sprouts, fresher organic chicken thighs or fourteen different kinds of gouda; this post is about parking*.

see, I have a really big problem with this sign. Can anyone tell me why parents need specialized parking? Is procreation finally considered a handicap? Are kids finally being seen as crippling external tumors which have been expelled and given animus? or maybe they're life sucking parasitic viruses? I guess it depends on who you ask.

Now, I know the purported rationale is probably…um…er…actually, I can’t even fathom the rationale behind it is. I seriously don’t know why Mom and/or Dad (or Mom and Mom, etc.) would need special parking. I’m straining my brain on this one, but is it so they don’t have to walk with their kid(s) through the parking lot to the minivan (whose doors, trunk and engine open and start remotely)? That’s just nonsense. I mean really though: a good parent would have their kid sitting in the wagon or they’d be keeping an eye on it so that it doesn’t run, tear ass, through the parking lot (or the store); and Maury knows that most of the kids in the US could use the exercise a walk to the mom-mobile would give.

Believe it or not, this isn't about the kids (for once); it's also not a "gay/straight thing". it's about how the store views parents versus the rest of us. Regardless of the rationale behind the “preferred parking”, it’s clearly a complete crock of shit. There is absolutely no, legitimate, reason people with kids can’t park in the 1st available spot they see, just like everyone else; this is tantamount to those people who drive around with handicap placards they faked their way into getting**.Luckily, though, while you can get a ticket for parking in a handicap spot (sans placard), this Parental Parking nonsense is not enforceable. It’s something made up by the store to show their patrons “they care”, about some of them. Parents’ money must be greener and fresher than those of us who don’t have kids. I guess they never heard the expression “disposable income”.

Since this ridiculousness isn’t enforceable, the huz and I have absolutely no problem parking in one of those spots, should they become available while we’re attempting to park. The last time we went shopping some soccer mom decided to mouth off about us parking thereand we put her in her place right quick but stating that it doesn’t state that the child has to be present, or even human; our child was home…in his cage.

She was not amused and blanched suitably.

* and was evoked my Facebook status, today “David wonders what the HRC and other LGBT groups will do when The Gays finally achieve marriage equality (and we will, goddamn it)”. to which Breen Lantern commented “LGBT PARKING”!
** and don’t give me the “not all handicaps can be seen” nonsense, you know who I mean; if you can climb down out of a Hummer, the handicap can’t be that bad.


DrBMBridge said...

Sorry CawfeeGuy, but you're wrong. Those spots are a real blessing to parents of small children and are intended specifically for parents who have to juggle dealing with shopping on their own and safely managing a child or baby that's young enough that it has to go in the belted part of the cart (or a carrier that locks in there) and isn't old enough to go unmonitored/uncarried/etc even for a moment. The point of the spot is not convenience, i.e. being closer to the store, it's safety, i.e. the space next to spot that should be there so a cart with said baby doesn't have to be out in the flow of crazy parking lot traffic as the parent is trying to get baby from the cart to the car and vice versa, or juggle baby and get shopping into the car. Those spots are also supposed to be close to the cart return areas for the same reason (minimize time with baby/baby carrier out and about with the crazies driving at 50 down the parking lot lanes), which is why I guess they're always so close to the store. Frankly I wouldn't care if they're near the store or at the far end, but if I have to go shopping on my own again with a small baby I'm going to be hoping for a reserved slot with a big space next to it and a supply of carts near by.
At the risk of sounding snarky, you don't have to take my word for it - just borrow a small child (one requiring a baby carrier would be best) and then go for a big shop on your own with just the baby for company, a really big shop, one of those shops where you're having to watch on the way back to the car to make sure nothing falls out (it doesn't even have to be a lot of items, go for volume - a standard box of diapers, a standard box of baby wipes, a few paper towels and little bit of food should do it, put the really expensive food on top so the most damage would be done if it falls out while you're making sure no one drives into the baby carrier) - then see how grateful you'll be for a spot where you can fit the cart next to the car instead of behind it and where the cart returns are close by. Okay so that was a lot snarky, but really until you've tried it you shouldn't knock it.....

CawfeeGuy said...

well, Doc, at the very least you answered my question as to the rationale of the spots. personally, i don't agree that any of what you mentioned legitimizes them being "Reserved". *all* the spots should have enough room to allow a stroller or carriage to slip between, if it's an issue of not wanting to have the kid on wheels behind the car; all the rest points to the obvious (and equally snarky) observation: if you can't manage a kid and a car, either bring a friend to watch one or don't bring the kid to the store. our parents did just fine parking wherever they could and nobody got killed in the parking lots.

DrBMBridge said...

Again, it really comes down to you have to have gone through it. There's not always a friend to bring, or someone to leave the child with. Someone who has almost all of his friends and family a few minutes drive away might not appreciate that, but take it from me if it's just the two parents, and one of them is working (or sick) and there is -no one- you can call on for help then it's the little considerations from stores and the other patrons that make all the difference. Some times it's just unavoidable that you're the only one who can look after the kid and you have to go and get all the stuff in one go from the store for some reason. I had to do it a lot less often than my other half did, but the few times I did I was very grateful for those spots, because sometimes it's just you and although it's really, really worth it, it's also really, really hard to do get things done that other people take for granted. You're also not factoring in that most parents with a child that small who are having to handle all this are most likely also suffering amazing amounts of sleep deprivation, that sounds flippant but I've been there and it's not. Saying it was okay for our folks so it should be okay for us would mean it should also be okay to take out all the airbags, seat belts and safety features from a car and park the baby carrier on the front passenger seat, after all they used to do that too. I'd like to see how how happy folks would be when half the parking spaces go away because all of the spots have an extra half a car's width next to them to aid with loading and unloading from the side.
There's sufficiently little consideration in people as it is without complaining about the small amount that stores (or anyone else for that matter) try to implement (even if it is the minimum and poorly thought out). There should be courtesy spots for the elderly, pregnant women, parents on their own with small children and the disabled. They should be there but they're not, just a couple of vague unhelpful signs. Everyone else should stop complaining and walk the extra few feet they had to park away.
It's a shame that people abuse the spots when their kids are old enough to walk or be trusted for a moment or two not to run into the traffic, but that doesn't mean that the parents who really, really need some help shouldn't have access to it.
What would be perfect is if everyone parked in the farthest spot away from the store that they could manage so that there were spots left open nearer the store for people who needed them more than they do. That way you wouldn't need the annoying signs and everyone would be happy. Now what are the chances of that? Zero, because people are lazy and selfish - so we're left with signs like the one you had a problem with.

CawfeeGuy said...

1. yeah yeah i totally realize it's not feasible to bring a friend. i get that (it's really my weakest argument).
2. sleep deprivation? really? we're gonna go there? 'cus you KNOW what i'm gonna say...
3. i'm all for less, wider, spots (Hummers, Avalanches, Tundras and Escalades usually take 1.5 anyway) the same way i'm all for less, bigger, seats in theaters.
4. you're 100% right, there's zero consideration in the world. ditto common sense.
5. you do know, if they were handicap spots, i wouldn't bat an eye; i'd park wherever i had to and walk, right? for some reason, this just catches me between the eyes. it's like having an Asian Lady Preferred Parking sign with extra room so they don't bump anyone.

CawfeeMate said...

oh my stars.

travelling, but not in love said...

Do I get special parking because I have a particularly demanding husband?

On a serious note, I love the (i tried to find em online but can't) disabled group that advocates not parking in disabled bays. For them, it's all about equality, not special treatment.

I understand the concept of the with kids parking bays, but then I've also seen lots of soccer moms using them in their oversized cars when there are no kids on board.

My main thought is that no-one is forcing anyone to have kids. And what's wrong with walking to the grocery store?

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