Scruples question

So here’s an interesting “scruples” question for the weekend…

My husband and I had friends over for dinner last night, and one of our friends posed the following scenario.  It sparked a fair amount of debate between the eight of us, so I thought I’d throw it out here to see what others think.  Here’s the question:

Can you hold a parking spot?


Here’s the situation: My friend and her husband were at a crowded outlet mall over Memorial Day weekend and spent 45 minutes trying to find a parking spot.  One opened up a lane over and my friend got out of the car and stood in the empty spot while her husband drove the car around.  Another car got to the parking spot before my friend’s husband and The Other Guy told my friend she couldn’t stand there to hold the spot.   Quite angry, The Other Guy told my friend that holding a parking spot was illegal.  Said the parking spot was public property and she was illegally taking it.  When my friend wasn’t impressed with The Other Guy’s legal case, he got even angrier and threw out the Parent Card: “Do you have a son?  Because I have a kid in the car.”  Sidenote:  I have a two year-old, and boy do I ever understand use of the Parent Card at appropriate times.  (Four hour plane rides to California come to mind.)  But to me, this doesn’t seem like one…

Anyway, the stand-off finally ended when my friend’s husband got to the parking spot and “strongly suggested” (I’ll leave it at that) that The Other Guy move his car along.  

So there you go: Can you save/guard a parking spot?  Like I said, this topic spurred a lot of interesting discussion amongst all of us last night and I’d love to hear what other people think.

Note: I should mention that the photo above is NOT my friend, although that would be hysterical.  It’s just some random photo I found on the internet.

11 thoughts on “Scruples question

  1. Venus Vaughn says:

    I did that once.
    I was at some famous beach in California – I can’t remember the name – and parking was absolute hell. We’d circled a few times on a street not designed for circling until, finally, we parked in a Customer’s Only spot for a restaurant we weren’t frequenting.

    The four of us guiltily get out of the spot and slink around to the front and look at that! A gorgeous spot, public and waiting for us. A friend is directed into the spot, to “hold” it while the driver hurries back to the car. The friend looks nervous so I step in to bulk up the front line.

    You know what happened, right? So this guy in a muscle car drives up and wants the spot. We stand there. He honks. We stand there. He advances the car. We stand there, and start to sweat. He honks more. People start looking.

    Then he makes his error, he leans out the window, and starts shouting at us. I’m a stubborn cuss and do NOT like to be told what to do, so that pretty much insured that I wasn’t going to budge.

    In the meantime, another spot has opened up, three cars over. But Mr Muscle Car is so invested in getting THIS spot that he doesn’t even notice. The crowd is now on our side and we’re standing firm, but only because we have each other to hold on to.

    Our friend arrives (what the hell took her so long????) and Mr Muscle Car is slowly edged out by Ms SUV. He drives three spots down and parks. We hop back on the sidewalk and reflect on our stupidity.
    The spot is ours.

  2. Dottie Taylor says:

    I would have no problem holding a parking spot so that my husband could park, in fact, I’ve done it as well. That guy that told your friend she could do that because it was illegal was so full of cr**. I have three kids, but I’ve never said to anyone that I need a parking space more than you because I have kids. That just makes me mad as a Mom, really ticks me off.

    He did have nerve to try to move her, too bad he was being stupid about it though.

    Dottie 🙂

  3. Lea says:

    LOL Julie!

    Wow, hell if I know. Certainly around the busy shopping times here, i.e. Christmas and Boxing Day folks “cruise” and follow people coming out of the stores and “ellicit” their spots. I have also seen actual fist fights break out over parking spots which I find rather extreme, to say the least.

    However, the legalities involved with actually “saving/guarding” a parking spot? I have no idea.

    As for that woman in the picture, laying on the pavement to keep a spot? Can anyone say “death wish”? YIKES lol

    Best Regards

  4. katiebabs says:

    There have been many times where I have stood in an empty parking space for a minute or two. As for lying down and spread myself over the empty space…. no.

  5. Elyssa Papa says:

    Does this remind anyone else of the scene in Fried Green Tomatoes where Kathy Bates slams her car into the other after it’s stolen, and KB says something like: I may be older but I’ve also got insurance.

    I think both your friend and the guy have a point. I’ve never saved a spot and hate being yelled at, so I would’ve just given the spot to him. (Obviously, this isn’t a good example about my character. LOL)

  6. Frances C says:

    Although I understand the frustration behind trying to find a parking space. I do not recommend holding the space with a physical body. We are living in very bad times. People are very unpredictable at best. I seriously wouldn’t want to be part of the news story because of a parking space. Now blocking it with an object…still questionable but at least no one gets hurt. Also you would have to put yourself in the other person’s shoes. That would not be okay with me someone blocking a spot I was fortunate enough to get to first. Or should I say first with my physical vehicle. Lastly, people just need to lighten up. So you have to walk a few blocks to where you need to be. I lived in Oak Park, IL. a very unfriendly parking suburb. But where it lacked in parking, it made up for in atmosphere.

  7. Julie says:

    Venus: great story! I love the part where Mr. Muscle Car is so p.o.’ed he doesn’t even notice the spot opening up three spaces away. Too funny.

    Dottie: I agree– inappropriate use of The Parent Card just makes us all look bad. 😉

    Lea and Katiebabs: no kidding about the woman laying across the parking spot. Although there’s just something about the picture that cracks me up. The extremes some people will go to…

    Elyssa: it does remind me of that scene in FGT! Classic.

    Frances C: you raise a very good point– never assume that strangers will react to situations in a reasonable manner. You never know… Also, I completely agree with you on Oak Park: my husband has family who live there and it’s a great suburb! If we ever make the move out to the ‘burbs one day, Oak Park will definitely be one of our top choices. 🙂

  8. Stacy ~ says:

    This rarely happens to me in the ‘burbs, unless it’s Woodfield during Christmas, which I try to avoid like the plague. I’m the type of person that would walk the extra block just to not have to circle a parking lot, so no, I probably wouldn’t save a spot. Not unless someone was pregnant or having difficulty walking. To me, it’s not worth the aggravation. As for seeing someone else saving the spot, that’s their deal. 99% of the time I wouldn’t care. I don’t mind walking. Even now I tend to park further away to get a little exercise.

    But ask me again when it’s January….

  9. Carolyn Crane (CJ) says:

    I think it’s wrong to hold a parking place with a body. It reminds me of being in a crowded coffee shop, and there are no tables, and you go up to the counter to order coffee, and then a table opens up, but the person who just walked in runs over and puts their stuff there before you can get to it. Hey, you got there first. The table should be yours.

    Your friend’s car was in the wrong aisle of the parking lot. Another car was in the better aisle, and that car should have the space.

    I hope I don’t sound like a bitch, but I feel like holding a space with your body isn’t too far off cutting in line!!

  10. Julie says:

    Stacy: love the Woodfield Mall reference, b/c I used to work there back in high school. That place is a mad house during the holidays! I’m a lot like you– I try to take the stairs, walk everywhere, etc., but this is a lot easier to do in the city. I don’t have a lot of patience, though, and you’re right, when the weather’s bad that adds another element to the equation.

    CJ: You don’t sound at all like a bitch! Although now you’ve got me thinking about that coffee shop situation… Funny, b/c there’s a part of me that would be thinking that if the person in line didn’t take the table, that means she is likely getting her coffee to go. So now I’ve got to re-think all these situations… 😉

  11. Shannon says:

    Haha. That picture is too funny.

    I think my mom was at that same mall that weekend. She said it was so busy that the employees had to park a mile away and took shuttle buses to their stores.

    I can see both sides of the argument. If I was there, I may have done the same thing. I can also see being irritated if I were The Other Guy. However, that was not an appropriate situation to play the parent card.

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