Steal My Parking Space And You Will Pay For It!

by admin on October 17, 2011

A few years ago me and my mom went upstate on a “girl’s weekend” away from my dad. One of the things we always do is hit one of the malls, since we live in the FL Keys where malls don’t exist, and so for us going to the mall is probably more exciting than it is for most people. This particular trip was right after a hurricane, and the mall was extremely busy with the holidays coming and with everyone shopping to replace lost belongings, so the parking lot was EXTREMELY full. We drove around for awhile looking for a place, and finally lucked into a place close by one of the entrances where two cars were both about to pull out. So my mom turned on the blinker for one, and there was an SUV waiting for the other.

When the first car pulled out, we pulled into its place, and I heard the SUV driver honk, but didn’t think anything of it until a few minutes later when the second car (in the space on our left) pulled out and the SUV pulled in, extremely crookedly and apparently in a hurry. Leaving the engine still running, the driver jumped out of the SUV, stormed over, and began pounding on the driver’s window of our car, shouting that we had stolen his parking space. My mom rolled the window down an inch to tell him she had figured he’d just take the second open space, but he yelled back that we took HIS space, that he’d been waiting for it for a long time, etc, swearing at us and just in a complete rage. Now, this guy was a big guy, I’d guess 200 pounds, muscular, very tall. Me and my mom are both tiny people, only around 5’3, me at only 90 pounds and my mom 110. So we’re both completely freaked out by this dangerous-looking guy screaming at us, (even though his SUV was already IN a parking place! Right next to us! I could understand being upset if we’d taken the last space in the lot, and I can understand being mad about waiting for a spot only for it to be stolen. Maybe I could even understand if losing the spot meant he had to park much further away. But there was going to be another open spot just a few seconds later. So he’s enraged because he ended up in a spot maybe four feet further from the mall than the spot we were in? And is ANY parking spot really worth getting that upset??) He walked away then to straighten out his car and turn it off, and when he did we both jumped out, locked the car, and sprinted for the mall. (We were in too much of a hurry to get away to think of calling the police, which would have been the sensible thing to do in retrospect.)

But that’s not the end of the story. When we came out, we noticed one side of the car had been keyed. We’re pretty sure it was that guy who did it. It was a rental car so it didn’t matter so much, but still…keying our car? Isn’t that reserved for high school break-ups? We shrugged it off as immaturity, got in, and left. At a stoplight just outside the mall, someone pulled up alongside us and told us one of our tires was flat. We pulled into a gas station, and sure enough, it was flat. Someone – and I have a pretty good idea who – had opened the valve. This wasn’t just immature, driving on a low tire is really dangerous and we were about to get on the turnpike, so thank God someone pointed it out to us. We didn’t know how much air to put in and the gas station owner was no help, but a very nice Cuban family who owned a mechanic’s garage down the street helped us out, checked all the other tires for us, calmed us down (we were beyond freaked at this point, things like this just don’t happen in the Keys – and we had never even heard of ‘parking lot rage’ before!), and refused to take any money.

Because of this, (and of a fender bender I got in once in a parking lot), I now park in the empty areas of parking lots whenever I can, even if it means walking a very long way to reach the building.   1118-08

{ 61 comments… read them below or add one }

Green123 October 17, 2011 at 5:24 am

‘YOUR parking space, you say? Oh, I am SO sorry, I didn’t actually see the reserved sign with your name on it! Would you like me to call the mall security right now and have them help you with that?’

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Susan October 17, 2011 at 6:00 am

I am not sure this is as much an issue of poor etiquette as it is about dealing with the deranged. The man in the story sounds to be out of his mind. My solution in this situation would have been to leave and find another parking space- even if it was going to take a while to find one. It would have put the OP and her mom further out of harm’s way and would have avoided any further confrontation with a person who clearly was not rational. Also, once they came back and found their vehicle was damaged, I wonder why they did not contact mall security or the police?

The fact that it was a rental car and the OP felt “it didn’t matter much” that it had been keyed does not speak well of the her sense of responsibility.

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Laurita October 17, 2011 at 7:00 am

Wow. It never ceases to amaze me how many ways people can overreact to a situation. Maybe that’s a good thing – I’ll never get complacent. But this was way over the top. It was good to hear about the family that helped at the end. It’s nice to have your faith in humanity restored.

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Leigh October 17, 2011 at 8:04 am

A few things: the rental car does belong to someone, and that company had to pay for the key marks to be fixed. It’s still someone’s problem even if it isn’t yours.

It doesn’t matter that the family was Cuban.

PSI is usually on the side of the tire.

Malls have security guards, and they could have called the police for you.

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Aje October 17, 2011 at 8:38 am

If there´s one thing I can´t stand, it´s road rage. No one is a perfect driver, so you´ve gotta have compassion for other people too… and when things are busy, you´ve just got to put on your big girl (or in this guys´case, big boy) panties and deal with it.

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Jojo October 17, 2011 at 8:52 am

Wow, that guy had serious issues. I’d have taken a picture of his license plate on my phone when I saw the keyed car ( if his car was still parked in the lot) and passed it on to the police and car hire company – and most definitely after having my tyres let down.
But that just can’t stop OP as a petite young woman parking at the edges of a quiet car park, particularly at night. It’s far too dangerous to isolate yourself like that because of a couple of complete buffoons.

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alex October 17, 2011 at 9:20 am

I do not think what the man did was right by any means or appropriate BUT if he had been waiting first it would have made sense for your mom to allow him the first spot. You didn’t say which sides of the street either of you were waiting on but if you were going one way and the spot was on that side and he was going the other and that spot was on the other then I could see taking the first spot but I think both parties committed an etiquette breach here. His is obviously opening tires and keying cars when he had a just fine parking spot and should not have been upset but your mothers is taking the spot when he had been waiting first. When parking spots are such hot commodities people can get very upset when they have to wait even 2 seconds longer for a spot :)

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Just Laura October 17, 2011 at 9:24 am

I’m sorry you had to deal with this speed bump on what should have been a fun day.
For future reference, nearly all modern cars have air instructions either where the driver’s door opens, or on the tires themselves. It may also be in the owner’s manual, but rental car companies sometimes remove those.

And as for parking spots, I park far away for the excellent exercise. Not dealing with crazy people is another bonus.

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Mike B. October 17, 2011 at 9:34 am

I think this goes a little bit beyond “etiquette.” Verbal abuse, physical intimidation and vandalism are in another category.

Also:

It was a rental car so it didn’t matter so much

Not to you, maybe, but repairs ain’t free no matter who actually owns the car.

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Psyche October 17, 2011 at 9:36 am

I live in Florida, so this isn’t as uncommon as the OP might think. My father once had a woman who looked to be in her eighties scream at him at him over a Cosco parking spot. A couple of times, my father parked crookedly and we got nasty notes. But keying a car and letting the air out people’s cars…that’s a new one on me.

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ElegantErica October 17, 2011 at 9:44 am

I’m not sure that I would categorize this as bad etiquette… this was crazy criminal behavior.

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Gracie C. October 17, 2011 at 9:46 am

This guy was off his rocker, clearly…but…

If he was waiting before you, which you seem to indicate he was, then you should have been the one to wait for the second spot to open up.

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Rattus October 17, 2011 at 10:03 am

Yes, yes, the man was an obnoxious brute and it was undoubtedly an unnerving experience. But what stood out to me most was the cavalier attitude towards the keyed car – “It was a rental car so it didn’t matter so much”. I have always taken better care of items borrowed or rented than I take care of my own because I would be exceedingly annoyed if I lent or rented something only to have it returned in a state of disrepair. When did the “it’s not mine so I don’t care what happens to it” school of property maintenance take precedence?

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Saucygirl October 17, 2011 at 10:04 am

While the other driver over reacted and put you in a scary and dangerous situation, I can understand his being upset if he was there first and that was the spot he was waiting for. I am an awful parker, and the angle I can pull into a spot at can decide if I take the spot or not. If you left him the spot closer to him, with his suv, it is not surprising he was unable to park nicely. If it was me, and there was a line of cars behind me so I couldn’t back up and reposition my car, you could have cost me the spot completely. Granted, this is making an assumption, and still absolutely does not excuse his actions, but your spot is just a spot rationalization is not necessarily right either.

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LovleAnjel October 17, 2011 at 10:12 am

Oh, OP! Sorry you had to face parking lot rage! It gets worse around the holidays, but exists year-round. Nothing excuses damaging another person’s car.

But, did you even look to see if someone was waiting for the first spot? Did you fly in, once you realized the car that was pulling out was blocking the other driver from taking the space? What would it have hurt to wait a few extra seconds for the driver who was there before you to take the first spot that opened up? It seems he was there first (“…and there was an SUV waiting for the other”) and you jumped in front of him to take the first spot. That is rude. You should have waited your turn.

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Mary October 17, 2011 at 10:21 am

There some SUV drivers (not all, just a few) that insist on taking up two parking spots. I am guessing that this driver expected that he should get both of those parking spots, which is why he was so mad.

Sorry that the OP had to deal with such a rude man and the keyed car and flat tire. In hindsight, she should have called the police or contacted mall security after he confronted her, but I understand in those situations, sometimes you just aren’t thinking clearly.

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Miriam October 17, 2011 at 10:58 am

I would have thought at the point he put a key on your rental car security should have been notified. He put your life in danger by releasing the air in your tire so at least the mall (since you parked close to an entrance) would have a video of what he looks like and what he was driving. I’m not one to freak out and take someone to court but he was threatening , damaged your property, and could have caused a serious car accident that may have led to injury or worse.

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Denise Miller October 17, 2011 at 11:12 am

Did you notice that he was waiting for the spot when you took it?

Why would it matter that he got the second space? It sounds to me like a sense of entitlement that he could just wait a moment for the next one after waiting for the longer space, presumably longer than you had. What exactly entitled you to the closer, first available space?

What difference does it make that the friendly family was Cuban? Or that it was a rental car and therefore totally acceptable to be vandalized?

How did mall security or the police respond to your complaints of verbal abuse and vandalism?

A lot of this story doesn’t make sense and sounds like a perfect example of having 3 sides to every story, your side, his side and the truth.

Honestly, what I think is closer to the truth is that you really wanted to go to the mall for fun, lots of people were going for Holiday shopping and to replace things lost in a terrible storm. You felt as though because you were super excited to go and don’t have malls, it didn’t matter if another car had to wait a few moments longer for a space. When he called you on your behavior you responded with the same cavalier attitude you did here and it further enraged him.

While it does not at all excuse his behavior, him acting like a maniac also does not excuse yours.

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Kate October 17, 2011 at 11:21 am

You stole his spot! He was waiting first, he gets first available spot. These are the etiquette rules that keep our parking lots conflict free, and you were the rude one.

Of course he was the crazy/criminal one.

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Ashley October 17, 2011 at 11:48 am

I live near Milwaukee, and a few years ago, around Christmas time, two fully grown women got into a fist fight over a parking space at a mall. Needless to say, neither of them got any shopping done that day, they spent the afternoon sitting in (separate) jail cells. It’s crazy how worked up people can get about parking spaces. I could understand the guy being upset if you were in a handicapped spot and you weren’t actually handicapped, but even then, to key your car and let the air out of your tires? Wow, just…wow.

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Clair Seulement October 17, 2011 at 11:51 am

@Denise The LW says that she and her mother specifically headed to that space because *two* cars were pulling out; they weren’t simply disregarding the SUV. Sometimes if multiple people are waiting for spots very close to one another, the location of the cars and the amount of room needed to maneuver is a better indicator of who should get what spot, rather than who pulls out first.

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Random October 17, 2011 at 12:07 pm

Unlike some posters, I don’t really have a problem with the OP’s statement about it not mattering so much to her about it being keyed. Of course people will care more if their own car is keyed than if it’s just a rental car. Can anyone honestly say they would be equally upset if their own car was keyed versus a rental car? I’m not going to pretend that that is the case for me. Note that she didn’t say that she didn’t care about it, only that it didn’t upset her so much. It stinks about the car, but it’s natural to care more about your own things. I don’t get why some people are acting like that is so inappropriate.

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Dannysgirl October 17, 2011 at 12:31 pm

Wow, remind me not to post anything! Why is everyone jumping to conclusions here? The OP says that it appeared the SUV driver was waiting for the second spot. It sounds like the two drivers were facing each other, so OP’s mom was waiting for one car to leave, and the SUV driver appeared to be waiting for the second car. How could OP and Mom have known SUV driver had been waiting “a long time,” if they’ve been making circles around the parking lot looking for a space of their own? The OP does go on to express surprise that someone would damage their rental. She states, “…still…keying our car? Isn’t that reserved for high school break-ups?” I also don’t understand why it is bothering some posters that the OP mentioned the kind family’s ethnicity. No, it’s not necessarily germane, but is it a fact worth throwing back in her face? She’s been harassed by a 200 pound guy! No, we weren’t there, and all we have to go on is the OP’s story. Why must some automatically assume the worst of the poster?

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Xtina October 17, 2011 at 12:47 pm

This guy was waaaaay out of line–his actions to the OP and her mother, and then the subsequent keying of the car and flattening of the tire. I’d say that’s way more than the normal person’s reaction to such a situation. I think I would have notified mall security just to make a report for the records (and it would have helped to have the guy’s license plate number when you had to go back later to report that your car had been vandalized). Some people are just not rational at all, and this guy is the stuff that horror stories are made of.

However, I must also echo the sentiments of other posters here–if he was there before you, waiting to get a parking spot, he should have indeed gotten the first spot, even if you both saw another person that appeared to be leaving–I’ve seen plenty of instances in a busy parking lot where that second person did NOT leave, but was merely rummaging around in their car, or realized they forgot something and ran back inside the mall. It does not justify his actions, just saying that there’s a protocol for parking when two people are clearly waiting–first come, first served, period. The OP should have waited on the second spot to open up.

Also–yes, maybe it was “just” a rental car, but the cost of the repair will be passed on to all the customers in the future in the form of higher rental rates–that is why it should concern you, OP, if not for the simple reason that it was someone else’s property that got damaged while it was in your possession. Yes, you had no control over it, but your callous attitude about it is not very good.

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spartiechic October 17, 2011 at 12:51 pm

Denise – You said it better than I ever could.

I’m getting the feeling that there is more to this story than what has been said. Nothing excuses vandalism, but still, I think that some of the responsibility should be taken by the OP.

Reporting it right away would have been the best idea. Even better, leaving the spot and finding a different one somewhere else.

Even if the car is not yours, you had the responsbility to report the damages. At the very least, you should have gotten his license plate information.

Just some food for thought.

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ellesee October 17, 2011 at 1:13 pm

I remember my own parking incident. My BF and I found a spot and waited for it to pull out. It was a truck pulling out and much larger than my car. While it was pulling out, another car had coming around the other end and I guess it had not seen me waiting there (although I’m not sure since I could see that car). I pulled in and the driver screamed at me. Mf BF and I told her we were waiting for it first. She told me “what a good samaritan” I was for not letting her and her kids park first, nevermind I was there first. As she drove away screaming the F word, all 3 kids in the back gave me the finger.

@Mary
“There some SUV drivers (not all, just a few) that insist on taking up two parking spots. I am guessing that this driver expected that he should get both of those parking spots, which is why he was so mad.”

The same could be said for smaller cars as well. It would seem that they would take less space, but some sedans take up two spaces because they do not care about how they park or they do not want any car potentially scratching their sides. Selfish behavior has to do with the person, not the size of the car.

I agree with Denise Miller.
OP, did you and your mother check to see if anyone else was there first? It sounded like you saw him, but didn’t think about it much. Although the distance of the parking spot does not matter, it’s the etiquette of driving that does. If he was there first, then he should be allowed to go first, much like driving at a 4-way stop intersection. Have you considered that perhaps he was one of the stressed people who needs to replace lost items? His behavior is inexcusable and criminal, but your parking faux pas probably broke his limit.

“Maybe I could even understand if losing the spot meant he had to park much further away. ”
If the second spot was not there, this statement suggested that you would take the spot despite seeing him already there with little guilt. Rude.

You and your mother seem to have a sense of entitlement since you do not care who was there first and just assume that people would be okay with what you’re doing. Shockingly, you just brush off the damages to the rental! Maybe it’s because you have insurance on it already which can take care of it?

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MellowedOne October 17, 2011 at 1:25 pm

Berating the OP because she went first is rather silly. Two cars, waiting for two spaces of equal value, each guaranteed a space. Who cares who goes first? There is absolutely nothing the OP did that justified the verbal assault she received.

The only point of contention I have has already been mentioned..treating damage to a rental car like it is of no consequence. Does not speak well for the OP sad to say, but even so does not affect her experience.

As far as people being upset because she used the reference to the family’s nationality…true, ‘technically’ there was no need for it to be specifically mentioned. However I do think there are some well-intentioned people out there who don’t like it that there are so many unflattering comments related to other nationalities, etc., so if there is opportunity for it they will share a positive upbuilding experience.

Instead of assuming the OP made the statement because she felt the family was acting in a unique way, why not assume the OP felt she knew her experience with that family wasn’t unique but wanted to share it because she knows others need to know that too? :)

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Dear! October 17, 2011 at 1:48 pm

Wow! What a horrid guy. Maybe he had boar rage.

For one of the posters I think they missed a few points, and had a tone of placing blame on the OP.

I think she may have mentioned the family was Cuban because although she is American, she felt a far way from home and in another world of sorts, and it was ironic that her fellow Americans were the ones who did not help, but rather a family who was from other country were the ones who offered a helping hand. That’s how I saw it anyway.

Car rental companies have insurance, so I think that’s what she meant. It was not her personal vehicle. I dont think she said this to say that “oh, it’s their problem.”

And, I think when she said she didn’t call the police, though she thinks she should have, I think the mall security would have fallen into that authoritative category. They were frightened and just wanted to leave. Calling the mall security would have taken as much energy as calling 911.

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Margo October 17, 2011 at 1:50 pm

I was puzzled by the reference to the keying not mattering as it was a rental car, too.

Quite apart from the issue that the daage will need to be paid for, Surely when you hire a car you normally have to pay the insurance excess /deductible for damage to it, or for added insurance againt this, and in either case if the damage is due to vandalism wouldn’t you need to provide a police report to the insurer?

I agree that this goes beyond etiquette & that there was no excuse for the man’s behaviour, but equally it does sound as though OP may have jumped the queue, which is rude

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badkitty October 17, 2011 at 1:57 pm

Could everyone calm down about the rental car thing? This is what the rental insurance is for, and the OP’s family did indeed pay for the repair, you can count on it. The point, I think, is that it’s not as though they needed to waste any of their holiday getting the car painted; rental companies are equipped to handle that sort of thing and they understand that it happens, because tourists and travelers typically drive to exactly the sort of crowded and stressful places where things like this happen. Not like the next person to rent that car got a scratched-up car, so this was not a thoughtless or inconsiderate statement by the OP, just a comment on the fact that they didn’t need to worry about alerting their insurance company (the rental insurance bypasses that process) and calling the police about it, thus giving this cretin more power over their lives and their day.

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Margaret October 17, 2011 at 2:08 pm

Is there some weird thing about Cubans in the US? Why are people picking on the fact that she was helped by a nice Cuban family? Would it be okay to say that she was helped by a friendly Canadian family? As a Canadian, it does not bother me to be described as a Canadian, especially when being portrayed as friendly. I’ve heard of the US melting pot, but does that mean you are not even allowed to acknowledge that some people might have unique origins?

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Stepmomster October 17, 2011 at 2:41 pm

Wow, talk about entitled…I have been angered by someone taking a space I was clearly waiting for, blinker on, and there was no other space available. Never in a million years would i have thought it was acceptable to key their car. Maybe that is why the guy was so large…he works out all the time to deal with his inner rage. :P

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cjane October 17, 2011 at 3:27 pm

Ah, memories. South Florida road/parking lot rage is particularly insane. I feel so bad you had to go through that. I live in Central Florida now where, except for parts of Orlando, people don’t fly off the handle so easily about such ridiculous things. My sibs and mom still live in SFLA, though, so I have to go there occasionally and, no lie, my shoulders raise as soon as I’m south of Palm Beach and don’t go back down till I’m back home for a few hours. It is literally a war zone down there.

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Shoebox October 17, 2011 at 3:37 pm

Wow, way to pile on the obnoxious self-righteousness, comments section.

You ever think that maybe, just maybe, the OP having to deal with a huge man literally threatening her and her mother with her life might already be payment enough for any minor etiquette issues (or, just as likely, awkwardnesses in telling the story) she may have committed herself?

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Robert October 17, 2011 at 3:45 pm

Around holidays I try to avoid stores/malls and if I can’t I just head to the rear of the lot. A few years back one place was chock full. Every spot was taken and people were cruising around looking for people leaving. I found one couple getting in their car so I put my blinker on and waited.

Unfortunately this was one of those times when the couple was puttering around doing whatever so I wound up waiting about five to ten minutes (long enough for a cigarette) while I waited for them to pull out. Just as they finally start to back out of the spot another car comes from the other direction and puts their blinker on.

Car pulls out, I pull in and the woman with four or five kids who came at the last minute parks behind me and lets off a string of obscenities about how I stole her parking space. I just ignored her but I did make a note of her license plate and instead of going directly into the store I decided to wait outside keeping an eye on my car until she drove away.

If I have any reason to think someone is being hostile in a parking lot towards me I always make sure to not very subtly take their plate number down so if something happens to my car I can give the police some info to work from and provide my insurance carrier info on who was involved. Sure they can deny it but most stores around me have cameras in the lots and a lot of people seem to forget they are there.

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thestashattacked October 17, 2011 at 4:13 pm

This is my first post here, and I just had to make this comment.

I think the commenters aren’t reading the story accurately.

So let’s see if I have the facts right:
-2 spaces.
-one car pulls out (likely the car closest to the LW). Okay. It makes the most sense that she’d take that one. I cannot imagine someone going “Oh, well, I’d rather make two people wait so I can be four feet closer to the mall.”

And yes, two people would have to wait. If you were to cross over and take the space furthest from you, not just the other person waiting would have to wait for a space, but the other person trying to get out would have to wait until you were no longer behind their rear end, which would make this doubly rude.

I’m pretty sure that this SUV owner was either trying to take two spaces, or he had some form of OCD that made him obsessed with that one space.

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Politrix October 17, 2011 at 4:18 pm

“I now park in the empty areas of parking lots whenever I can, even if it means walking a very long way to reach the building”
I’ll reserve judgement on the rest of the OP’s story (except that I think we all agree that the guy was a psycho nut-job), but the above statement’s what’s really bothering me most of all. NEVER park in a secluded area far from your destination if you can possibly help it, especially if you are a petite individual (notice I didn’t say “lady”, although there’s even greater risk if you are!). This presents a golden opportunity for real criminals — and not just random weirdos who fly off the handle — to break into your vehicle, or worse. ALWAYS park your car in a well-lit, well-traveled area where others can see it (and see YOU, and hear you!) in case there’s a problem. Perhaps that day you could have found nearby witnesses to tell you who damaged your car and let the air out of the tires. If (heaven forbid) you were attacked in a secluded area of a parking lot, you might not be so lucky.

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A.J. October 17, 2011 at 4:19 pm

Whether or not she took his space (and she said he pulled in right next to her so there were obviously two spaces), that guy’s behavior was completely inappropriate. Maybe she did take it, maybe she didn’t, but normal people, when someone steals a parking spot, says, “Jerk” and moves on. People who take it as a personal attack on them need to realize the whole entire world does not revolve around them. I’ve seen one to many examples recently of people taking random human error and blowing it way out of proportion.

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Enna October 17, 2011 at 4:46 pm

If the other driver was there first he should have been allowed to park first, unless it was clear there were going to be two spaces free, however that DOES NOT excuse his behaviour.

Random – I disagree criminal damage is criminal damage. The car is owned by the rental company and when people aren’t bothered to report it drives the prices up or there is a risk that the car company may charge the person who is renting the car: or at the very least infrom the car rental company where the incident happened and what date and rough time – that way they can find out from the sercurtiy camaras who was parking where.

Susan – the OP wasn’t to know what was going to happen but I can see your point about moving away, at the same point I can see why someone would want to stay still.

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Rachel October 17, 2011 at 4:52 pm

Cubans in Florida are not unique. The far off land idea doesn’t work since they have probably been in Florida for decades.

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Saucygirl October 17, 2011 at 6:39 pm

For the commentators saying some of us are jumping all over the op, I don’t think that is what most people are trying to do. For myself at least, I am just trying to point out a possibility/scenario that she might not have considered, to possibly help her avoid a situation like this in the future. Because as has been mentioned numerous times on this site, you can only control your actions, and unfortunately there are a lot of crazy people in the world.

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Riva October 17, 2011 at 7:31 pm

That must have been so scary for you and your mom!

I don’t think this was an etiquette problem so much as having the bad luck to run into a criminal type.

Etiquette might say to let the person who was waiting first take the first space to become available, but vandalism is a crime, not a breach of etiquette.

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Louise October 17, 2011 at 7:53 pm

Someone keying my rental car doesn’t matter so much to me as someone keying my car. That doesn’t mean I don’t care at all, or am cavalier about the damage, or think the car repair fairies wave their wands and fix the damage. It means my rental car means less to me than my own car, and I’m relieved that I don’t have to spend the time — not money, time — fixing the problem. I don’t understand why people find that such an outrageous idea.

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Asharah October 17, 2011 at 8:59 pm

Will everyone please get off OP’s back already!!!!!!!!!!
There were two spots, two drivers waiting for them. OP took the spot closer to her, irate driver got other spot right next to her a few seconds later. If she violated some minor role of protocol by not letting SUV driver park first, it in no way justifies SUV drivers behavior.
As to the idea that keying a rental car doesn’t matter as much, well if it was OP’s actual car, she would have to go through all the hassle of calling her insurance company, arranging the repair, possible renting another car with the repainting is done. Since it’s a rental car, the rental agency will take care of the repair. If it’s a big rental agency, they might even have someone on staff in-house to handle it. And if the repair costs the rental agency money, well that’s what they have insurance for.
As for not reporting the car, I can imagine if something like that happened to me, I would probably be in too much a state of shock to even think about anything other than getting away from the crazy person screaming at me. OP admitted in retrospect she should have called the police.
And what the heck is wrong with stating the family that helped her was Cuban?
And why does it matter if she was going to the mall for fun while some people were there to Xmas shop or replace items from a hurricane? Does that mean she isn’t entitled to park until all the people there for more serious reasons have a space.
OP and her mom were subjected to a vicious verbal assault over what was t most a simple misunderstanding. The last thing she needs is a bunch of sanctimonious people with a “blame the victim” mentality attacking her some more.

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Katy October 17, 2011 at 9:44 pm

I’m willing to bet the bigger guy has used his size to his advantage before. And he has a temper about all sorts of little things. I’d be willing to bet he’s the type to go off on a cashier for accidentially handing him the incorrect amount of change. As much as I’ve worked in public service positions, I’ve seen his type.
The hubby and I make it a point not to go out on busy days because we hate the parking lots, but one time we ran out as a favor to an infirm family member. It was one of those parking lots with the slanted spots, so it’s one way down each lane. Pretty easy to avoid two people coming from different directions, right? Well, we saw someone near the front of the lane pulling out, so we stopped (blocking the lane, but it was narrow enough we had no choice), put on the blinker, and waited. The other car pulled out quickly, and we started pulling in. We had just gotten our front tires in when a guy in a giant SUV nearly t-boned my car trying to get into the spot from the wrong direction. This guy, about 200 lbs and 6 foot ish, gets out and starts yelling at us about stealing his spot and so on. His SUV was brightly colored, we would have seen him waiting, he just came out of nowhere and expected a claim on the spot. We let him go for a minute, hoping he would calm down, but our refusal to respond to him seemed to get him more upset, and he kicked the side of our car where our baby was sitting. That was hubby’s breaking point, so he got out of the car to confront the man. Hubby is 6 foot 5, 320 lbs and at the time dressed somewhat like a stereotypical Harley rider. All he had to say was “What were you saying?” and the man scrambled back into his SUV and hurried away. I took the baby in for the quick trip, and hubby sat outside in the car. Apparently the guy approached with his keys in hand, but saw hubby glaring at him and turned around and left the area completely.

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JLB October 18, 2011 at 12:14 am

I like how many of these commentators are making very interesting assumptions. You know what they say about assuming.

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Enna October 18, 2011 at 6:37 am

At the very least the OP should let the car rental compnay knew what had happened so that way they can chase the man who did the damage. If the OP loaned her car to a firend and the firend had the same expirence as the OP in this inncident I think the OP would want to know what had happened so she could claim on her insurance and then the insurance company would go aftter the man who had committed the crime. Since it was a rental the OP would not have to sort out the repairs herself but infrom the Car Rental company so they can chase the rude criminal idiot who did this. Fair enough if the OP was scared and didn’t want to do anything at the time but she can still let the car rental company know what happened so they can sort it out.

As for those posters saying “that is what insurance is for” this does drive prices up and it isn’t fair on the car rental company as it could effect their earnings, especially if the company is small. I think the OP should give the car rental comapny a statement so they can recover the costs from this very silly man who is clearly going to be a danager on the road and possibly to women as well.

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admin October 18, 2011 at 6:55 am

How do you know the OP did not alert the car rental company of the damage to the car? I just recently rented a car and at least Alamo employees go over the car with a quick but finetoothed comb when I returned it. Keyed scratches in the paint would have definitely been noticed.

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Enna October 18, 2011 at 6:39 am

P.S by infroming the car rental company who can then persue it, it will show the vandal that this kind of behaviour is unacceptable and costly.

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kelly October 18, 2011 at 7:04 am

The other driver was very wrong to scream and yell, and damage their car and he should have been arrested. There is never any excuse for violence or threatening behaviour. But the OP and her mother were in the wrong for taking the space. He was there first he gets the first space, that is manners and ordinary social behaviour. They behaved very rudely by taking the first space because they wanted to get the space first and thought he could just wait another minute or two. The OP does not have to now park when they are lots of empty spaces just show some manners and if someone is in the queue before her do not jump in front of them because she figures they can just wait for another minute or two because she wants to get in first.

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Cupcake October 18, 2011 at 8:23 am

I am so sick of commenters calling out OPs on this site just for the sake of it.

Maybe the OP and her mother took the first space because they were closer to it and didn’t want to hold up traffic. Maybe when she says “it was a rental car so it didn’t matter much”, she means that, since it wasn’t her own car, she a) wasn’t greatly saddened by the damage and b) didn’t have to pay to repair it as she had already paid for insurance that covered it – I doubt she thinks damaging rental cars is a harmless activity (if she did she wouldn’t write to E-Hell about it). Maybe she included the detail about the family being Cuban in case they ever read this! Maybe she was trying to illustrate that while she was a visitor to the area she had a bad experience with a local but was treated kindly by non-locals (I am not assuming that this family didn’t live in the area, I’m saying that MAYBE that was the case and that’s what the OP wanted to say). Maybe she just included it because they were Cuban – I would not be offended if someone described me as “an Australian girl” to add a bit of interest to a story.

OP, I’m sorry you had such a bad experience, that guy sounds like a real piece of work.

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