I Like To Move It, Move It.

by admin on April 20, 2011

I was reading one of the comments of a Road Rage entry, and it reminded me of this story my friend told me.  When we were in high school, my friend lived either next door or a few doors down from a single guy who was in his early 20s and threw parties all the time.  The neighbor was friendly, well-mannered, and kept the noise down, etc., but parking did get kind of crammed because it was a short street, so late guests would often have to park a block over and walk to the house.  Apparently, this was not good enough for one guest.

One summer afternoon my friend’s mom comes home from grocery shopping, pulls up to her house, and sees a car she doesn’t recognize parked in her driveway.  Seeing all the other cars around and smelling the scent of barbeque, she suspects this is one of the neighbor’s party guests, so she just pulls into her driveway behind him and brings her groceries in.  Lo and behold, about 45 min later she hears a knock on the door.  A sheepish-looking guy tells her that his car is blocked in her driveway and asks if she could move it.  My friend’s mom informs him that, unfortunately, she doesn’t have a reason to move her car because she isn’t planning on going anywhere any time soon.  The guy tries to reason with her to move her car, but she politely informs him that it’s her driveway and perhaps he shouldn’t have parked there if he was going to be in such a need to leave. The guy gets this I’m-kind-of-annoyed-but-I-probably-deserve-this look on his face, apologizes for parking in her driveway, and returns to the party to wait.  An hour or two later, she decides she needs to go out to the store for something, and when she comes back the car is gone.  It never happened again. 0418-11

This isn’t an example of cleverness but rather retaliatory rudeness in response to an admittedly “sheepish” guest who makes a polite request to rectify the situation he got himself into.   Graciousness is extending the hand of kindness to the undeserving and this case, while the guest goofed parking where he did, his attempt to move his car was matched with an appropriate level of chagrin and deference that did not justify the ungracious declination to move a car so he can reposition his vehicle.

{ 126 comments… read them below or add one }

Lizajane April 20, 2011 at 2:46 pm

What if she’d said, “I’m sorry, that won’t be possible”? We’re always recommending that people use this when someone asks us to do something we don’t want to.

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Robert April 20, 2011 at 2:46 pm

@ Bint RE Retaliation

I freely admit I was a complete and utter thoughtless jerk when I was younger. I parked in a condo parking lot to visit a friend and had not realized the spaces were designated. When I went to leave my car was blocked in by the owner of the space and I guess he was keeping an eye out for me because he yelled at me out the window, told me I could come by tomorrow to get my car. slammed the window and shut the shades.

So I used my shit-box car to push his out into the parking lot so I could leave.

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Calliope April 20, 2011 at 3:04 pm

I can’t believe it’s been suggested that the mother should have immediately called the police and had the car towed. If this had happened more than once, sure. But to call the police–or to simply be rude, as the mother was–after just one incident? Obviously, the young man was wrong to park in the driveway, but come on. Those of us who care about being on friendly terms with our neighbors would be wise to take Vicky’s route: just knock on the door where the party is and politely ask the offender to move his car.

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bonzombiekitty April 20, 2011 at 3:07 pm

I agree the response to the situation was entirely unnecessary. If this had been an issue that had arisen before, then I’d understand, and agree that I wouldn’t have moved my car for the guy until I was ready for. The OP does not indicate that this was the case. For a one time occurrence? I’d park my car, do my stuff, then go ask who is parked in my driveway and ask them to move. I’d let the guy know not to ever do it again because next time, I wouldn’t move it until I felt like it or would have the car towed.

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HonorH April 20, 2011 at 3:18 pm

Dawn, do you also smash cockroaches with a sledgehammer? Yes, the guy was rude; yes, he technically broke the law. In this case, though, etiquette could solve the problem without bringing the law into it. The guy wasn’t a hardened offender, he just made a stupid decision. She could’ve gone over to the house with the party and requested the offender move his car. She could’ve admonished the young man, when he came to her “sheepishly” and asked her politely to move her car so he could get out. It was not necessary for her to up the ante through retaliatory rudeness, let alone call in the police. That sort of thing causes tension between neighbors. Etiquette is a far better tool than the law in cases like this. I agree fully with the admin.

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Amp2140 April 20, 2011 at 4:05 pm

Look, the woman was a jerk. Yes, the guy was a little thoughtless, but you don’t know if the neighbor told him to, or if he had trouble walking, or whatever. Instead, she effectively kidnapped his car. I’m surprised he didn’t drive on her lawn, or back his car into hers.

The woman could have simply moved her car, parked at the bottom of her driveway, and brought it up to her neighbor if they could please remind their guests not to park in her driveway.

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Pinkwildrose April 20, 2011 at 4:20 pm

I disagree with the admin. The OP’s mother did nothing wrong by parking in her own driveway; it’s not her fault that someone else was there, especially someone who had no business being there. And to the PP who suggested the driver had done it by mistake; he should have figured out his mistake the moment he rang the bell to the home in whose driveway he had parked. Since he wasn’t invited in to a barbecue, he should have immediately moved the car.

It’s easy to illegally park and then sheepishly apologize. I’ve done it a time or two myself, on purpose, because it was more convenient to me.

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SillyMe April 20, 2011 at 4:20 pm

I don’t know. If this happened to me, by the time the guy came to ask me to move my car that he’d blocked, I’d probably be helping my mother into the bathroom, or have something cooking on the stove (or both), while doing laundry upstairs and telling my husband where five different items are located and have been for years while he’s changing clothes upstairs. Maybe the woman probably *couldn’t* move the car?? Okay, from the story it sounds more like *wouldn’t*, but I could see myself doing one of two things: either apologizing for not being able to accomodate someone else’s laziness or rudeness (yeah, I can be a doormat), or saying I just *wouldn’t* when I actually wasn’t able, just to make a point because that guy just had to ask me to move my car when I was the absolutely busiest and wanting me to do it RIGHT THEN. But then, I’d like to think maybe she had something on the stove she didn’t want to leave right then. It makes the universe seem more benevolent, yet fair, somehow.

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loveisintheair April 20, 2011 at 4:50 pm

I liked what the lady did! If I came home to find a car parked in my driveway, and I had things to do, I would not go out of my way to move my car until I was ready to move my car. The lady could have been doing any number of things that did not give her time to get out there and move her car. It was her car, in her driveway –she had a right to move it when she was ready to move it. She was doing nothing wrong. At least she didn’t go banging around on neighbor’s doors looking for the offender, throwing a scene, getting it towed, or even damaging it in anyway. She simply went about her business and well she should have. Rude? Nope.

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karma April 20, 2011 at 5:20 pm

Personally the minute I found a strange car in my driveway, I’d have gone next door and explained that the offender had approximately five minutes to move the vehicle before I called a tow truck. That person would have also received a severe scolding on trespassing. The next day, the party-throwing neighbor would have been treated to a gentle but firm monologue on making sure his guests know where not to park.

I have zero sympathy for this fool. The moment he knew which house held the party was the moment he knew he was in the wrong driveway and should have moved the vehicle.

Additionally, I DO think this was a clever way to teach a life lesson the young man will never forget. The owner of the driveway cleverly, and not unkindly, taught the fellow to make a better decision in the future.

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Xeno April 20, 2011 at 5:22 pm

The woman in this story took an awful chance that this partygoer might not have shrugged, gotten into his car, and rammed her vehicle out of the way before making a left turn across her lawn to get out. Was he wrong to park in her driveway? Of course he was. But the smart way to deal with that is NOT to block him in and then practically dare him to do something about it. Forget for a moment about who’s being “rude” – a guy who parks in your driveway has already shown disrespect for your private property, and he may have no qualms whatsoever about showing a little more. It’s kind of like crossing at a crosswalk; you may have the right of way, but a smart person checks for oncoming traffic anyway. Being right isn’t worth much when the guy who can hurt you doesn’t care about being wrong.

If it’s the first time it ever happened, the intelligent thing to do is to go over to the house where the party is and inform the host of the situation, including the fact that the police will be called in ten minutes if the car isn’t moved by then. The next time it happens, give no warning – just have the car towed.

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spyderqueen April 20, 2011 at 5:35 pm

I am kind of torn on this. Yes, not escalating would have been wise especially considering he was apologetic, but the fact is, what he did was not just rude; he willfully and knowingly disrespected her property – in NO UNIVERSE are you allowed to just park in someone else’s driveway without their permission and he can’t possibly claim he thought it was okay. Honestly, in a situation like that, you do kind of need to make sure they suffer some kind of consequences for their actions and frankly, blocking him in for a little white is a lot nicer than getting him towed.

Admittedly though, I feel very strongly about this sort of behavior because my apartment complex is right near a sort of farmers market and many of the shoppers there apparently don’t understand that the short driveway in front of the nice black gates is OUR EXIT and they shouldn’t park in or in front of it.

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kelly April 20, 2011 at 6:22 pm

It was fine blocking the car in initially, but after that the woman was just being an ignorant twit. Yes the guy was annoying, but it was a one time thing, and he apologized. Apart from anything else what if he had just said ok, I’ll try not to hit your car as I back out or he had got another friend to block her into her drive (or he turned out to be a thug and punched in the nose – why go out of your way to tick off a strange man who knows where you live and what car your drive?). I do not know what the law is in the US, but in most of Europe if someone leaves their property on your property then you are acting illegally if you refuse to give it back to them or refuse to allow them to take it away. the thing is everyone makes mistakes at some points and ends up annoying someone like a neighbour, by behaving like she did she has ensured that her neighbour will never give her any room for mistakes, so lets just hope none of her friends park stupidly, make too much noise, she gets pets or teenagers who make noise, she needs to have a bonfire, a package of hers gets posted to him by mistake etc. The neighbour was normally quiet and considerate and this was a one time thing, yet she decided it was worth giving up the neighbourly good will to be petty. Foolish woman

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kelly April 20, 2011 at 6:27 pm

At my last apartment, someone kept parking in the visitor parking as they only had one designated space. The building busybody decided that despite this was visitor parking, that they could not use it regulary and so would block them in. sadly for him, they just always managed to manouever around his car and leave his car looking as if he had just randomly parked in the middle of the road.

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RayChee April 20, 2011 at 7:13 pm

I live in a fairly laidback country, and I find it hard to understand that someone parking in your driveway could cause such irritation. Really, in the scheme of things, is it worth being so petty and aggressive about something so minor? I’d start to worry about myself if I felt it necessary to be so ghastly to people in my community, like the OPs friend’s mother.

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Erin April 20, 2011 at 7:21 pm

I have to agree with the admin – the mother’s refusal to move her car was very rude.

I was in a similar situation where I went to visit a friend and didn’t know the parking spaces were designated – it had snowed that day, and all markings on the spaces were covered. When I came out to leave, someone had parked directly behind me. Instead of being a jerk and smashing her car with my giant truck, I asked another friend to drive me home, and retrieved my car in the morning, when the snow had melted and I could see which door to knock on.

Even if you’re initially in the right, being petty like that is uncalled-for.

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Aje April 20, 2011 at 7:43 pm

I dunno, I’m sort of inclined to think that she handled this perfectly… I’m sure she knew that she was going to leave in an hour and the man was going to leave while she was gone. People don’t think about the long term consequences of their actions, and that just seems like a natural consequence to parking your car in someone’s drive way.

Our driveway is a long dirt road next to an empty field that is used for parking during a town fair often uses our driveway for access because it’s closer than the fair’s stone driveway. One day it was raining and a man got stuck in our lane. Talk about getting caught in the act! He had to walk up and ask our father for help to get him out. My Dad did help him- but only because he was ruining our lawn. Even then he never said sorry, or thank you for that matter!

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Walden April 20, 2011 at 7:56 pm

I think an hour to wait is a bit overkill, but I don’t think I would have jumped up to do it forthwith. I would have definitely had the fellow cool his heels for five or ten. Moving my car for your imposition will be at my convenience, not yours, fella.

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Livvie April 20, 2011 at 9:01 pm

Um, you realize that the cops won’t come out for this right? And even if you live in a cozy community where they do, their response will be walking over to the party, asking whoever has parked in your drive to move, and apologize. I can’t believe that these commenters are all calling the police all the time for everything. Grow up.

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WOW April 20, 2011 at 9:13 pm

This actually reminded me of a funny note that was in my apartment complex last Christmas period.

“Dear fella who has parked in my private space for three days. That carpark is registered to my unit – on which I pay a mortgage. This has been a great inconvenience, as such I have parked my Landcruiser (large oversized ute) behind your vehicle. I will flying interstate in two days to visit family for a week, while I have no reason to move my vehicle before I leave, you may have need to access your vehicle during this time. I drink Crown Lager, my wife enjoys a quality Sav Blanc. Please place these tokens outside Unit 23. Regards and Merry Christmas”

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Ali April 20, 2011 at 9:28 pm

I have to disagree. You have the right to keep people off your property. What if he’d parked in front of her garage and then she couldn’t get her car out in an emergency. I would have had his car towed or asked him for a parking fee.

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Mike Johnson April 20, 2011 at 11:10 pm

Isn’t one of the topics on this forum “grow a spine”? All of the negative comments about the homeowner required her to do something to rectify the issue (go to the neighbor, etc). She had absolutely no obligation to go out of her way to help someone out that had already shown zero consideration for her or her property. As far as calling her rude that is just silly, is she supposed to apologize if someone walks into her house and then says he’s sorry? I’m sorry but she has zero obligation to do anything beyond what she was planning to do to help this guy out.

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KH April 20, 2011 at 11:34 pm

I disagree, the woman had every right to park her own car in her own driveway. She was not inconveniencing anyone but the person who did the wrong thing in the first place. My partner and I live in an apartment block, and have only one car bay for our apartment. One afternoon we came home to find a strange car parked in our bay. Parking is tight in our complex, and there was only one place we could park without inconveniencing our neighbours by blocking them in/out of their own bays – which was right in front of the car in ours. We had no way of knowing who had parked there or how to contact them, and therefore not much choice. We were heading out again about 20 minutes later anyway, so it was hardly a huge wait, and in any case to be perfectly honest we weren’t particularly concerned since they made the choice to park in our only car bay. We did also leave a note on their windscreen, suggesting that next time to avoid this exact situation perhaps they should use the visitor bays.

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Sara April 21, 2011 at 12:45 am

I can understand that she was really annoyed, I would have been also, but that doesn’t make her behavior more right and less rude.

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Rug Pilot April 21, 2011 at 12:50 am

I have people parking in my driveway all the time. The law changes, alternately requiring signs posted or not depending on how the city council feels. I honk for about half an hour trying to get the blocker moved. Then I try calling the police, not knowing what the law is that week. Sometimes they get the car towed and sometimes they tell me to suck it up. Only if the vehicle is blocking the alley (not just my driveway) then they will town it. My neighbors whose friends and relatives do the parking have torn down every no parking sign I have put up. Unfortunately I can’t leave the car in the alley. It was broken into the last time I did that so I must sit in it waiting for the blocker to move.

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Lizza April 21, 2011 at 1:15 am

The problem with accommodating the “sheepish” guy (nowhere does it say he actually apologized, just that he was sheepish) and moving your car so he can leave is it creates precedence. He might park there again, thinking hey, she was cool with it. He might park in someone else’s driveway, thinking they’ll be fine with it. He might mention it to his buddies – “hey, last time I couldn’t find parking, I just parked in a driveway and it was fine, the person was cool with it!” If you do something once, people expect you will do it again.

I admit, though, I think she could have handled it better. Asking for an apology and assurances it will never happen again would not have been out of line. And giving him assurances that if it does happen again, the car will be towed.

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Izzy April 21, 2011 at 2:54 am

I have to say, the general pattern for the people disagreeing with the admin seems to be “well since HE was rude, it gives ME a fair pass, anything goes”. Why are we only gracious to those that are nice to us? That’s hardly grace at all. A polite spine would be to park wherever, even if it means double parking, zip into the neighbour’s house, have a strong word with the host/describing the offending vehicle, give the driver some polite but strong words, should get the job done, everyone’s civil. Neighbour knows you’ll interrupt the party and can’t be walked all over, you’ve come out the other side as the polite one.
And I agree with the commenters that say it was very risky, I’m surprised the woman didn’t come home some day next week with vandalism done to her house.
Also, if you have a 2m log/steel pipe, a brick, and a heavy adult, you could actually flip someone’s car. Yes it’s possible, no don’t try unless you don’t mind a dent on the side of your car. If there was alcohol at the BBQ, stupid things could happen. Obviously the guilty party wasn’t SO impolite that he rammed her car out of spite or ran over her garden on the way out, he just had a stupid moment. Making him stew for an hour or two could be giving him an hour or two to plot.

And believe it or not on the scale of things I think getting it towed would be a safer option, at least the attention/rage wouldn’t be aimed at you (as much) and you risk less retaliation

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mahadevi April 21, 2011 at 4:35 am

We have our normal driveway (on an incline), as well as some land at the top of the hill, which we also use for parking. People are always thinking it’s public property or something and parking up there. We’ve also had people park in front of our driveway, blocking us, or in front of our mailboxes across the street (we live on narrow roads), preventing us from pulling out or getting our mail. It’s so frustrating!

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karma April 21, 2011 at 5:45 am

People say, “What if he retaliated?”

Well….that would prompt a call from the homeowner to the police, which would cause the young man’s arrest, which would result in the party host probably throwing him under the bus despite their acquaintanceship. After all, the host doesn’t want to get a citation for all the illegally parked cars on the street.

Retaliation while trespassing in someone’s driveway? That would be a foolish and costly mistake for that young man in terms of both time and money.

Hey, folks… think about what you usually say to improper behavior: don’t let folks off the hook for their behavior choices. Doing so only encourages more boorish behavior on their parts. If you want to minimize the occurrence of rude behaviors, don’t support them with passive acts (gift grabs, rude guests, AND trespassers alike).

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kelly April 21, 2011 at 5:57 am

Ali,
But she did not try to keep him off her property, she actively did her best to keep him on her property.

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CindyG April 21, 2011 at 6:48 am

My opinion is this..we ALL do inconsiderate, and sometimes even rude, things at one point or another in our life. And when we do, we usually don’t repeat the offense. So, when someone is inconsiderate to me, I treat them like I would like to be treated..with graciousness, and a willingness to forgive and make peace. If they failed to get the message and repeated the offense, I would have to be more direct in handling the matter, yet still polite and dignified.

Example as relevant to this incident:
Initial incident – go to neighbor’s, kindly explain the matter and ask that he have his guest move his car. (And, if parking by various guests is occurring, request that he please tell his guests not to park in driveway.)
For repeat offenders, go to neighbor, firmly but politely state that same guest is parked in your driveway again and tow truck will be called in 5 minutes. Also, request he tell his guest if it happens again, car will be towed without notice. These two statements should be sufficient to stop any further incidents. The one-time offender won’t need to have the ‘tow-truck’ threat, and the repeat offender has been given ample warning.

In doing so, we keep peace with the neighbor, and we recognize that everybody does inconsiderate things from time to time..things not done out of maliciousness. So why not treat others the way we would like others to treat us when we goof up? And while paying back ‘like for like’ may satisfy our instinctive need to avenge the wrong, being willing to forgive and make peace will bring a deeper joy and satisfaction, as well as preserve our own dignity.

Being gracious and polite is not just something we do when it’s convenient. These qualities really shine when we express them when confronted by (socially) ignorant, inconsiderate, or rude people.

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Calliope April 21, 2011 at 7:54 am

The more I think about this story, the more it bugs me. I can’t believe so many people think the woman was right to be petty and rude just because the guy parked in her driveway. So, politeness only applies when dealing with other polite people? If that’s true, what’s the point? I think the true test of etiquette is to behave civilly even when faced with rude, inconsiderate, or boorish behavior. I certainly don’t think my job as a polite person is to go around “teaching lessons” to people who mess up. If I wanted to do that, I’d apply for a job with the parking authority. And people keep bringing up personal examples of times when neighbors or strangers repeatedly parked in reserved parking spots, as if that’s what was happening here. This was a one time thing, and it could and should have been dealt with gracefully.

There is a difference between being the kind of person who doesn’t let others walk all over her and being rigid and defensive to the the point of rudeness.

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Andrea B. April 21, 2011 at 8:04 am

You don’t have to be a “hardened criminal” to be towed, just careless or a complete special snowflake to think that you can illegally park and not get a ticket or be towed.

I would have gone over to the party, told the neighbor that one of his guests had parked in my driveway, and if it wasn’t moved within 20 minutes, I would call the police to have the car towed. And yes, in my jurisdiction, the owner of the VEHICLE, not the person who owns or has the right to use the driveway, pays.

If you are mature enough to have a driver’s license, you should be mature enough to accept the consequences of your actions.

That being said, I think that since the mother decided not to tow the car, as soon as the guy came over, the mother should have moved her car and given him a warning.

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Ali April 21, 2011 at 8:05 am

There are actually some legal issues here. If she continually let people just park on her driveway, after a while they could argue they have a perscriptive easement to park on her property.

Second, the right to exclude others form your property is a fundamental property right. She had a right to be upset about his huge trespass – it violates one of her most fundamental property rights. She had the right to demand payment/not move her car all she wanted. You don’t mess with others property like that and you don’t let some jerk bully you into moving your car. I don’t care how sheepish he was – he was in the wrong and then tried to force her to do something she had no duty to do.

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Bamph April 21, 2011 at 8:11 am

I like all the people asking what would happen if he *absolutely needed to get somewhere right away*. I thought we had something that would allow people to get driven somewhere that they needed to go, if the didn’t want to use a bus or bike or walk. Tell him to take a taxi and come back for the car later. Let him know as well that any damage found to your house, car, lawn, or property will be associated with his car and license plate.

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Maitri April 21, 2011 at 9:25 am

@ Rug Pilot ~ In that instance, when the neighbors have repeatedly removed your “No Parking” signs, I would be tempted to sit in hiding with a camera, video or not, and take their picture when they trespassed and stole the sign. Then you do have something to tell the police about.

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Lizajane April 21, 2011 at 9:50 am

Asuyuka,

The only thing preventing him from hearing his mom’s last wishes? Really? If his mom just keeled over while he’s at a barbeque and he has to rush to her side, surely one of his friends at the party could drive him.

We can sit around and make up “what ifs” all day. That’s not what happened. Both parties were inconvenienced by each other. On purpose.

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Xtina April 21, 2011 at 10:09 am

If this were me–I’ll give someone the benefit of the doubt the FIRST time it happens that it was an honest mistake, even if I can well imagine it probably was a case of laziness. I would go knock on the door of the neighbor and ask the offending guest to move his car, and tell them not to let it happen again (politely). If it happened a second (or more often) time, then police or tow trucks would be called.

Although I like the theory of what this woman in the story did–it’s appealing in the “he’s getting what he deserves” line of thought, there’s really no need to be uncooperative (even if she wasn’t being rude) if it is a first offense–and the guy seemed genuinely sorry he had done so. There is certainly a lot of worth in trying to maintain harmony with one’s neighbors as much as possible without being a doormat. Hopefully, the guy having to knock on the door, ‘fess up, and have everyone know what he did was punishment enough.

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Hanna April 21, 2011 at 10:35 am

I completely disagree with the admin, and find her response to this story somewhat hypocritical. What about the roommate who leaves a pile of dirty dishes in the sink? I believe the admin suggested taking all of the dishes out of the sink and setting them on their bed. That is retaliation, is it not?

I think the mother in this story did a very wise and clever thing.

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admin April 21, 2011 at 3:16 pm

Hanna, there is no hypocrisy. The situation you refer is a roommate who had a considerable and repeated issue with a fellow roommate who would not clean her dishes despite persistent requests to do so. After all attempts at civility and polite appeals fail, the next step was to simply remove the dirty dishes and place them into the care of their owner…on her bed. This “parking in the driveway” story doesn’t even compare. It’s the first time the trespassing driver parks there and the proper avenue to deal with that is polite requests to move it and please don’t do it again. Escalation to towing vehicles and calling police for a first time offense without even bothering to speak to the neighbor about his guest’s parking location and one’s preference that his guests cease to do this is the stuff of drama queens.

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Kat April 21, 2011 at 10:50 am

Lizza – it does say the guy apologized.

Everyone else – what we’re looking at here is a case of etiquette vs. kindness. It would have been an act of kindness to forgive the miscreant parker when he apologized and to release his vehicle. The woman wasn’t obligated to do that, but it was unkind of her not to. I think etiquette would state that she doesn’t have to be kind to someone who’s been unkind to her (parked in her driveway) but then, that’s not really what kindness is about.

But this isn’t Hey That Wasn’t Very Nice Hell, so I guess we can’t get too worked up about it. :-)

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many bells down April 21, 2011 at 12:01 pm

I frequently have issues with people parking across my driveway. For whatever reason, they seem unable to see MY driveway out of all the ones on the street. Often when I get up in the morning, it is to find a car parked completely across my egress.

I live on a street with a number of condominium complexes, and one large apartment complex. With absolutely no way of ascertaining who this car belongs to (on each occasion it has been a different vehicle), I have to call the police and request a tow. Perhaps this makes me rude and ungracious for not simply forgiving each individual transgression? I believe the last count was 7 different vehicles blocking my driveway. I’ve only ever caught two of the people in the act. The last lady claimed she “didn’t see” my driveway. My driveway is all of 10 feet long and terminates in a beige garage door. It’s identical to the house next to it, which never seems to have this problem.

Again, if I had any way of telling whose car it was, I would speak to the person. Since I do not, short of breaking into the vehicle to see if there’s a registered address, I am going to tow these people who think not wanting to park legally trumps my need to be able to get to school and work on time.

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OP April 21, 2011 at 1:01 pm

Just for some more background info, they lived in your typical suburb where each house has its own driveway, and her driveway led into her fenced backyard, so there was no mistaking that this was definitely not his friend’s driveway. I’m not sure how a person could mistakenly park in someone else’s driveway, so he knew what he was doing was wrong. If he had needed to leave for some sort of emergency or obligation (work, etc.), she would have let him go with a lecture. His reasoning with her involved “But I want to leave” and “I don’t feel like being here anymore,” not “My boss will fire me!” or anything like that. From what my friend gathered from her mom, he was rather young (18-20ish) and in the “I wonder what I can get away with in this adult world” phase, and no, he didn’t apologize until after he realized that he was, in fact, going to be punished for what he did wrong.

I’m not condoning what she did, of course; like some other posters, I have mixed feelings about it. In her situation, I probably would have done the same, except move my car right after an apology. In any case, it was much more reasonable that having his car towed. Knowing her, too, it’s also likely she exaggerated how long she let him wait. With her, “an hour or two” probably meant 30 min.

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Ken April 21, 2011 at 1:43 pm

Before we bought our house two years ago, the house sat vacant for over a year…during that time, the neighbors across the back alley and next door, all parked in the four parking spaces along the alley. There were also always cars parked along the street in front of our home as well. This made moving particularly difficult, as we often had to park down the street to unload boxes, furniture, etc.
After we were settled in, we would sometimes be forced to park across the street, in front of a neighbors home. This upset the neighbor greatly, and he came pounding on our door one day, to inform us of an “unwritten rule” in our town, that the street parking spaces in front of your house “belong” to the homeowner, and we needed to stop parking in front of his home. Oddly, that winter, when I would have our spots shovelled out, so that parking and getting in and out of the car would be easier for my family, their guests always found the snow-free parking quite enjoyable, letting their cars sit there for hours on end. I never retaliated against him.
A similar problem occured with our driveway along the back alley….I should specify, it’s one car deep, but the width of the property can easily fit 4-5 cars, depending on the size and how well they were parked. The neighbors next door are a lovely family, and made us feel at home in the neighborhood as soon as we were settled…they have a large family, and many vehicles…they politely asked if their son could park his car next to their garage, in our driveway…we were fine with this, as there usually isn’t a problem with parking in the rear. The problem is the rental duplex across the alley from our driveway….they seem to believe our driveway is part of their parking lot. We came home one winter, after a rather bad blizzard, it was late, the street in front of our home was plowed in, and with almost 2′ of snow, we had only shovelled the spaces in the back we needed for our cars. They had parked in our space. We were forced to parallel park behind them and our truck, just to get off the street. At about midnight, there was a pounding at our back door, which woke up half the house. An incredulous teenager was standing there, to inform us that we had parked his mother in, and didn’t we know, she had to leave for work? We moved the car, but not before getting stuck in the snow, and almost hitting their car, all while being glared at by an annoyed blonde woman. This still happens every so often, coming home, to find that we can’t park all of our vehicles, on our property, because they are having overnight guests.
The worst story about the neighbors across the alley has nothing to do with parking. It has to do with breaking and entering. It was a few days before Easter, and we were getting ready for the huge egg hunt and party we throw for our family and friends every year. I was up late, baking, and doing the “company’s coming cleaning”, when I heard our back door open. It was pouring rain out, and when I glanced at the clock, it was almost 2 am. It’s not unheard of for late night coming/going at our house, so I just walked out to see who it was, figuring it was someone in my family. I encountered a rather wet looking young couple, the young man so obviously intoxicated, he could barely stand on his own. The girl, then asked if “Sam” was there. Since no one in my family is named Sam, I told her I didn’t know who she was looking for….quite alarmed, she asked again if Sam lived here…I told her I didn’t know any Sam, and that no Sam lived there. Panicked, she started apologizing profusely, that her friend said this was Sam’s house, and she grabbed him and drug him through our house, out the door, and down the stairs…they got into a car parked in our driveway, and sped off. It was several weeks later, when we learned the names of the annoyed blonde woman’s children from another neighbor. Her oldest son, in his early 20′s….was “Sam.”

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Miss Raven April 21, 2011 at 2:50 pm

I don’t understand how the woman was being petty or rude. She was being logical. She had parked in her driveway, and didn’t need to inconvenience herself on the whim of the guy who had trespassed on her property. She wasn’t mean about it, just factual.

I probably would have done something similar. There are a lot of comments about people not knowing that they parked in someone else’s “designated” spot. It’s not the same. It’s easy to park in any random spot in a lot without knowing that it belongs to another car. This is a DRIVEWAY. It is off the street, on a lot, attached to a garage, on someone else’s property. It wasn’t an honest mistake. It was a deliberate offense. Surely the offender weighed the pros and cons in his head and miscalculated. It should have been an easy decision. “Is this a stranger’s private property? Yes? I should park elsewhere.” He did not. He decided that his convenience was more important.

It wasn’t retaliation so much as a consequence that this man obviously did not plan for or consider. It’s a valuable lesson. What if she had parked behind him, being unable to get into her garage, and then went to dinner with her husband? He could have been blocked in for the entire night. What if she had pulled in and then her car refused to start? He could have been blocked in for DAYS.

His decision was stupid; the lesson was learned. Calling the cops would have been like sand-blasting a cracker, and moving her car when he decided he wanted her to would have set a bad precedent, even if she had given him a lecture.

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aventurine April 21, 2011 at 3:41 pm

ITA with this:

“Chocobo April 20, 2011 at 1:31 pm
Yeah agreed. The guest was obviously rude in parking his car on someone else’s property out of person convenience, but then he admitted his mistake. Retaliation is the *worst* way to “teach a lesson” — all it does is turn the offender into a victim, which makes them feel justified, or at least less wrong, in their actions.”

Chocobo also had a good point in that the mother had already gotten her own back by forcing him to come find her with his hat in his hand, so to speak, rather than seeking him out. Refusing to move the car, while no doubt satisfying in the moment, was overkill.

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Anon April 21, 2011 at 3:44 pm

I don’t understand how the woman was being petty or rude. She was being logical. She had parked in her driveway, and didn’t need to inconvenience herself on the whim of the guy who had trespassed on her property. She wasn’t mean about it, just factual.

I agree entirely with Miss Raven’s comments. He inconvenienced her once by parking in her clearly delineated driveway. He could have (if he were responsible), checked next door on occasion to see if there was an issue with his parking. He could have knocked on her door and then left a note with his name to make it easier to find him at the party if she wanted him to move his car (thereby preventing the inconvenience of walking around what seems to have been a large crowd of milling people, eating and drinking and talking, in order to find the offender).

But he parked where he wanted, and tried to leave when he wanted, thereby incurring another inconvenience to her — saying “my car was fine where it was while I WANTED it to be there; now that I WANT to leave, you had best let me.”

Also note from the original post and the OP’s update that he didn’t apologize until he was told that she would not accomodate his request.

There’s a (horrible) saying: “It’s easier to apologize than to ask permission.” Well, he learned that in this case, it wasn’t. Good for her.

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Michelle P April 21, 2011 at 4:15 pm

I’m torn on this one, also. I agree with admin that the woman’s reaction was excessive. The boy made a mistake, he apologized. It depends on whether or not it happened before. If this was the first time, I would have, been the woman, told him that he had no business parking in my driveway and moved my car, asking him not to do it again. Had it been the tenth time, I would have done what she did. I’m afraid of the retaliation scenario, also. I also like to keep good relationships with my neighbors.

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Louise April 21, 2011 at 4:17 pm

Next door is one thing, but I might not connect a strange car in my driveway to the party happening a few doors down. I’d probably call the police because I’d be afraid someone was robbing my house!

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sally April 21, 2011 at 4:39 pm

I agree with Miss Raven. Sad but true, sometimes people just need to be taught a lesson. I think the OP’s friend actually did society and the other neighbors a favor by taking it on herself. Bravo!

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karma April 21, 2011 at 4:54 pm

I dunno about that one, admin.With all due respect, I think that putting dirty dishes on someone’s bed and keeping their trespassing car blocked is definitely in the same ballpark.

In fact, of the two scenarios, the bed/dish one is more inflammatory than declining to move for a trespasser. The bed/dish scenario can result in damaged belongings. The car scenario only results in frustration for the trespasser for a short time.

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