Parking “Savsies”

by admin on January 2, 2012

I was prompted to write after I read several scenarios in which rude people, when called on their rudeness, react with even more rudeness and anger and insist on playing the victim. Looking back now, I don’t know if my dad did anything wrong in this story, but I am positive that his actions did not merit or excuse how he was treated. I would most likely call this experience “DMV Debacle”. I’m actually surprised the DMV (Department of Motor Vehicles) doesn’t have it’s own section but maybe it’s reputation is more one of inconvenience than rudeness. Technically, this happened in the parking lot anyway so maybe file under Road Rage? Anyway, the more accurate title for this would probably be something like “No Savsies.”

My father (who is 84 so he really puts the elder in ‘respect your elders’) was giving me a ride to the DMV (one we’d never been to and were lucky to even find) so I could get my ID renewed (oh how I now wish I could have done it online!). As the DMV never has a ‘slow day’ (or if they do we weren’t there for it), the dismally inadequate parking lot was of course packed (and oddly shaped so navigating was a pain the the rear). My father drove to an empty spot…that was not in fact empty but had a man standing in it. At first we thought he was just being clueless, like you’re walking across the lot and you don’t realize you’ve walked in front of a space. Nope. My dad rolled down his window and the man said he was saving the spot for his friend who was circling around, explaining that they had been illegally parked for 45 minutes.

Now I haven’t found a section about parking etiquette on the website yet, but my feelings about the situation are as follows: If parking is first come first serve, you circle around until you find something. It is a question of luck, and I don’t think anyone is entitled to a parking space no matter how long they have been waiting for one. If you see one open up, you pray to the parking karma gods, ‘make a drive for it’ and hope you make it. It doesn’t matter who saw it first, all that matters is who gets to it first. I’m not counting handicapped parking obviously, and pull-out-and-‘wave-in’ situations like that scene that happened in “Fried Green Tomatoes” (those young women in the beetle sure were brats weren’t they…).

My point is, I think it’s cheating to have a passenger in a car jump out and ‘save’ a parking space if the car in question is not in an immediate position to take possession. Even if they think they ‘saw it first’, I think it’s the same as cutting in line. You had your chance and missed, so go around again. It is also unfair to single drivers since they have no one to grab spaces for them even if they are first/waited longest. Never in all my years as a passenger have I been told “Oh there’s a space over there, grab it while I bring the car around!” If a driver said that to me I would just look at them like they were crazy.

Regardless of how I feel personally, because I don’t know the official rules of parking space etiquette, I can’t decide if my father was in *any* way rude or simply showed a “polite spine” (though I’m voting for polite spine I acknowledge I am also biased): Since he felt the same as me about the whole “saving the parking spot” idea, my father basically (but not impolitely) called BS on the guy. He shook his head and said quietly but firmly “No, sorry we’re taking the spot.”

Now the young urban man, who up to this moment had been civil if unrealistic, transformed before our eyes into every stereotypical gangster punk you’ve ever seen on every movie or tv show. He proceeds to cuss my father out and threaten him. He called him the MF word and said someone should ‘slash his *bleep*ing tires.’ I sat mortified with a huge knot in my stomach (and cell phone in hand praying I wouldn’t have to call 911), wondering if he was going to refuse to move, or if he would assault my dad when he got out of the car. He went off to find his friend that was circling while my father and I went into the building. I took a number and sat miserably in my chair, wondering if we would find our car keyed or tires ruined when we came out. A long time later, the man came in with his friend and sat down. The ironic thing is, he had a lower service ticket number than me (they must have grabbed one while still trying to find parking) and still got to go sooner anyway.

Looking back on it, I feel very sad and angry that this man chose to take his frustration out on my father. Maybe my father was rude to take the spot (I don’t think so but I’d appreciate any opinions on that), but the man was at his best a crass and ungracious loser. Also, when you think about it, it’s not a very smart thing to threaten someone in a place that has all your identification information – if we had come out and found our car vandalized in retaliation, the police would have no problem getting the name, license plate number, and address of their number one suspect!

{ 50 comments… read them below or add one }

Jennifer January 2, 2012 at 10:28 am

Generally, parking saves are a no-no. There is an exception (for us Chicagoans anyway). If you dig out a spot in the winter – it’s yours. It can take 30 minutes to dig out a spot in front of your apartment – hours longer if the snow plows have pushed the snow in there, and reserving your spot while you go get your car is considered normal.


June January 2, 2012 at 10:33 am

The spot-saver was definitely rude. However:

If taking the spot made you feel miserable and threatened, I’d just say it wasn’t worth it and keep driving. If the spot-saver is angry enough that you fear for your elderly father’s safety, look for another spot. Sometimes it isn’t worth engaging people like that.

The wording of this phrase struck me: “Now the young urban man, who up to this moment had been civil if unrealistic, transformed before our eyes into every stereotypical gangster punk”.


whiskeytangofoxtrot January 2, 2012 at 10:38 am

I’d have reported the jerk for threats, myself.


Cat January 2, 2012 at 11:14 am

I would have thought that, once he saw the driver was elderly, he would have allowed the older man to have the spot, regardless of who was “right”.

We are so ready to insist that “we are all equal” that we ignore the obvious fact that we are not all equal. I give place to those who are elderly (and I am 62), those with young children in tow, the handicapped, and sometimes just to be kind to someone who was not expecting kindness.


Lilya January 2, 2012 at 11:49 am

I had no idea parking saving was considered particularly rude: my family and I have done it occasionally.

The last time I did it, I almost got run over: the parking spot I was saving big enough for two, so when another car pulled up, I didn’t say anything, I just moved a little not to get in his way.
But the guy kept backing up until I had to jump back on the sidewalk or risk getting squished. Not only that, he also parked in such a way that his car occupied most of the parking space and thus there was no more room for a second one.
I admit it, when the guy came out, I yelled at him: “Why don’t you just run me over the next time?”
Of course, according to him it was all my fault for moving away – maybe I should have just let him squish me against the parked car!
I guess it’s a trip to E-Hell for both of us.


Redblues January 2, 2012 at 11:58 am

The wording of this phrase struck me: “Now the young urban man, who up to this moment had been civil if unrealistic, transformed before our eyes into every stereotypical gangster punk”.
June, that was the first thing I noticed about this entire story too. Anyway OP, rather than kowtow to such tantrums, just call 911 when someone acts like that. He sounds dangerous, foul-mouthed and rude, not ‘urban’. And in the future, have your father drop you off and go to a diner to wait for you. You can call him to pick you up when you’re done.


Rabbit January 2, 2012 at 11:58 am

I guess I am one who saw nothing “wrong” with the younger man holding the space for a friend. To me, it is no different than saving a seat for a friend at a theater. The man had been civil and stated what he was doing. I saw Dad’s statement of “No, sorry we’re taking the spot” as antagonistic and the catalyst for what happened next. Obviously, the younger man moved out of the way (so Dad won) but voiced his anger at how Dad acted. I can only imagine what would have happened if the younger man had held his ground and not moved. Would Dad have moved in anyway or just stayed put causing a traffic jam?


siobhan January 2, 2012 at 12:07 pm

Cat- I agree.
The only time this happened to me (encountering a space-saver) was in a very high-tourist ares in south FL. It was occupied by a very street -saavy young woman. We didn’t engage, because it wasn’t worth it.

I agree that it’s rude, but not a thing to fight about. It would have been very dumb for the DMV person to carry through any threat, because all his info was available.


peony January 2, 2012 at 12:11 pm

I, too, agree that the OP’s father was perfectly within his rights to take the parking place. While I have jokingly threatened to “reserve” a parking place by lying down in it, it is not practical seeing as how the person in the car (several thousand pounds of metal) will always win.
I am sad that the young man in question became overly rude/borderline violent when thwarted. Where I live, the Department of Public Safety (read Highway Patrol) administers driving tests. As law officers, they could have arrested him right there for such abusive behavior.
HOWEVER — I do wish the the OP had eliminated one word from her narrative. There was no call to use the word “urban”. Too much baggage comes with that word. In my experience no one group has a monopoly on bad behavior, be they urban, rural, wealthy, destitute, religious, atheist — name your sub-set. It would have been sufficient to note that a young man who had previously been civil became very rude.


Gracie C. January 2, 2012 at 12:12 pm

I couldn’t agree more with June. The guy in the spot completely 100% wrong. But in this case, not sure being right was worth it.

Meanwhile, if I’m just the drop off person and there is no spot, I would have simply dropped you off, found an out of the way place in the lot to hang back and then just moved around if I was in the way of others or if I was blocking a car that needed to move. If that wasn’t possible, I’d have driven around the block a few times or parked a few blocks away and circled back for you in a 1/2 hour or so.


Kitty Lizard January 2, 2012 at 12:23 pm

Last time I went to the DMV here, there was some jerk who was “saving” 5 of the limited seats in the
waiting room for his buddies, while a number of people, some of whome were elderly, were standing.
I couldn’t believe the gall. I finally got tired of standing (when his buddies weren’t showing up,) went
into the actual license room, and (politely) complained. One of the DMV ladies went over to see what
was going on, and went out and told the guy to let the other people sit down. When he made the mistake
of pulling the thug act on her, she took his ticket and told him to leave. Then everybody got to sit down.
Made everyone’s day. Who needs to bring 5 friends to get a driver’s license???


Lisa Marie January 2, 2012 at 12:57 pm

I don’t understand how the passenger was able to get to the spot and the car wasn’t. If he passed the spot couldn’t the car back into it? Did the passenger run around looking for spots? I would have let him
keep the spot and kept on looking myself. Did your dad have to come in with you? Did you have cell phones? You could have said I am done come get me while he drove around the block or waited elsewhere.


Roo January 2, 2012 at 1:04 pm

I agree that the guy’s threats were wayyy not cool and out of line. I’d also probably given up a spot to an elderly man out of politeness as well. But really, I disagree that showing up and cruising on in ahead of someone who has been waiting for something a long time is a-OK. How do you like it when you’ve been standing in the world’s longest line, a clerk finally opens a second lane, and someone who just walked in the door cruises past the twenty waiting people before they have a chance to react and gets helped immediately? How would you have liked it if you’d been cruising the parking lot for 45 minutes and someone pulled into the space you finally spotted, even once you let them know how long you had been waiting for it? Sure, it’s technically fair game, but it smacks of entitledness: “Well, I don’t care how long you’ve been waiting and that you were here first, I’m going to get mine!” Be a decent human being and wait your turn for things.


NicoleK January 2, 2012 at 1:06 pm

I’m gonna disagree with you on the savies. But I agree there was no need to go psycho.


Catherine January 2, 2012 at 1:11 pm

I was in a similar situation just a few days ago on New Year’s Eve. I was driving around with a friend trying to find a parking space, and the only open space within 3 blocks of our destination had a man standing in it. The first time, we just passed by, wondering if he was holding the spot or just standing there. The second time we passed, he was still there, so it was clear he was holding the spot. My friend wanted me to pull over and ask him to move, but I refused because I was afraid that if we took the spot from him, he might retaliate by damaging my car (we were two women in a sketchy area, it was dark, who knows what could have happened).

I agree that holding a parking spot is wrong – just as wrong as swooping into a spot when someone is clearly waiting for it with their turn signal on. Unfortunately, there often isn’t a safe way to get people to give up the spot to you. It’s just one of those things that’s rude and irritating, but that you have to accept unless you’re willing to get yourself into an altercation.


Genevieve January 2, 2012 at 1:31 pm

The first half of the story, I think that if they are so desperate as to save a spot (not a convenient thing to do) and have been circling for forty-five minutes, in a way, they’ve earned the spot and I would have ceded it to them based on the fact that if I’d been waiting so long for a spot, I’d wish someone would nicely allow me to have the spot, too. So many parking lots in my area are poorly conceived that it is easy for someone who has just come in to grab a spot while the person who is waiting tries desperately to circle around. Maybe since that’s the case, here, in my area it is consider legit to “save” a space, though it only happens in really extreme circumstances and in very poorly designed lots (which, unfortunately, there are a great deal since parking lot standards are nonexistant, as far as I can tell). Usually cars just observe the person standing there and move on – they don’t try and force the human standing in the space to leave it or engage in a confrontation. I’ve also seen people hold spaces with traffic cones and shopping carts or folding chairs. The idea is if it is first come first serve, it belongs to the first person to occupy it, whether they have a car or not.

That being said, yes, it was terribly rude for the young man to start cussing and screaming. He probably paid for it by being embarrassed when he had to share the lobby with you both.


Melissa January 2, 2012 at 2:02 pm

What, exactly, is a “young urban man”?

Personally, I don’t see a need for the conflict. I would have gotten out of the car to wait inside the DMV while my father waited for parking to open up. The DMV is not a pleasant place to be in general. I would have just let the “young urban man” and his friend finally get some parking. Seems like a simple thing to do.


livvy17 January 2, 2012 at 2:33 pm

I do wonder, if there were two of them, why didn’t they just drop one of them off to wait in the DMV, and have the other circle for parking?

@Jennifer – I agree with the you-shovel-it’s-yours idea as long as you’re only talking about shovelling out an empty space, then running to go get your car right away. What mystifies me is some areas, where they feel that if you’ve shovelled it, you own it for days. (Pittsburgh folks put a lawn chair in the spot to mark it as “saved” and seem to think of this as a sacred right.) What about the folks who didn’t happen to be parked when the snow fell? They’re just out of luck until spring? Why couldn’t someone just put up a canopy over their car and claim the spot to be theirs since they kept it snow-free? What is the precise moment that public property becomes private, and when does it revert to public ownership? I find this sort of mystifying.


Emmy January 2, 2012 at 2:43 pm

I don’t know the official etiquette, but having a person save a parking spot is similar same as having a person save a seat. In both cases, the person or car isn’t there to claim it so somebody else is holding it. I don’t see why it would be rude to save a space for car, but not a seat for a person. In fact, it seems like common sense for somebody to hold a spot in this situation. I wonder if the OP’s attitude would have been the same if she had been the one circling the lot and somebody cut her off and got in the spot first. She seems to think the first car in the spot is the ‘winner’, but I imagine she wouldn’t feel that way if she was the one stuck circling the lot.

Yes, it was rude of the guy to yell, curse, and threaten, but I don’t blame him for being steamed and disgusted with her.


Rap January 2, 2012 at 2:47 pm

Ehh…. I’m torn. The guy standing on the spot saving it was rude to blow his top but honestly, I don’t think its “impolite” to have someone grab a parking spot by standing in it so the driver can recircle around and park. I assume, and correct me if I am wrong, OP, that the guy got out of the spot because it was understood that your dad was going to gently nudge him with the might of the car and or simply wait until the friend with the car came in behind you and basically force the issue. Look at it from the perspective of the guy saving the spot. They’re having a hard time finding a spot, he sees one and gets out of the car to “save it” so his friend can circle around and park, and someone comes in and breezily says “oh, sorry, I’m taking this spot”.

Its not “scream MF at the offender” rude, because that never helps…. but lets see, they were having a hard time finding a spot, finally found one and had a passengar get out so they could hold it and actually park, and some guy with a car bulled his way into the spot. What they did isn’t against the unspoken rules of parking…and while I abhor the throwing of a giant possibly violent angry fit over losing a parking spot, the rudeness was in the overreaction, in my opinion, and not in how the guy was just rude to save a parking spot.


Enna January 2, 2012 at 2:50 pm

I would have reported the man to reception. He shouldn’t queue jump by getting a number ticket sooner – it would be interesting if he had missed his time and was told “no”. I would also report them for illegally parking for 45 minutes. People shouldn’t make threats like that.


Tara January 2, 2012 at 2:53 pm

Personally, I think the OP’s father was rude first, even though the guy saving the spot was ruder once he started swearing. It seems to me that the OP is thinking that if parking is a free-for-all, then they somehow “earned” that spot, whereas the POLITE thing to do would be let the guy have that space. He said they’d been looking for a spot for a long time, and it would’ve been nice of the OP’s father to just let him have that spot! That’s what manners are, not “OH we got to it first so it’s mine!” The other guy wasn’t being rude by saving the spot so his friend could drive around, he was being practical.


Cherry January 2, 2012 at 3:35 pm

My personal opinion is that “Savsies” are rude and inconvenience everyone else, but I have another fault to pick.
It’s dangerous!
If your father couldn’t see this man until he had gotten close, then it is entirely possible that someone else who was possibly not paying much attention could have swung into the spot at a relatively high speed and then quite possibly hit the man if they didn’t react fast enough to slam on the brakes.
No parking space is worth broken legs, or worse!


Lily January 2, 2012 at 4:15 pm

In Pittsburgh we also have custom of saving spaces you have dug out of the snow. Typically you dig a space and place a deck chair in that space. This is mostly respected, not because the space is yours, but more that it takes a great deal of work and effort to dig a space.

There is no custom saving a space any other time of the year, so I agree that the young man was playing cutsies.


Kry January 2, 2012 at 4:23 pm

This xmas just gone I had to drive to a shopping center 2 hours from where I live. When I got there I was driving around the parking lot (all spaces were angle parking and you could only pull in from that side of the road) for another 30-45 mins before I saw someone getting into their car. I put my indicator on and waited. Another car was pulled up on the other side of the road with no lights or indicators on. I pulled into the spot and as I was getting out a man ran up to me and threw a punch at me! Because I took “HIS” space. I walked away and called the police and security but by the time they got there my tyres were slashed, windows smashed and they had smashed the back end of the car!

Unfortunatly for them, I was parked near a security camera and the police caught them the same day.


Angel January 2, 2012 at 5:53 pm

Honestly I would have avoided confrontation and driven around, myself. Why invite trouble? Unless the guy is standing in the only available handicapped spot and your dad has one of those placards–I would have driven around and found a new spot. Do I think your dad was wrong for taking the spot? No, but a little unwise in this particular situation. What if the man had a weapon?


Rubies January 2, 2012 at 6:10 pm

The age of your father doesn’t matter here, sorry. There’s no rule or law saying that the other man could not hold the space for his friend. Your father didn’t like it, but that did not give him the right to take the spot himself. He took a minor annoyance and escalated it into a big confrontation. I’m curious about how he did it: if the other man was standing in the space, did your father force him out of it with his car?


yankeegal77 January 2, 2012 at 6:21 pm

The guy was definitely a Grade-A creep. I have to agree with June on two points:

1. A parking spot just isn’t worth it if you think harm may come to you or someone else, or if someone is threatening damage to your vehicle.

2. The wording here really was unnecessary: “Now the young urban man, who up to this moment had been civil if unrealistic, transformed before our eyes into every stereotypical gangster punk”. Perhaps “The young man, who had been civil, if unrealistic, all of a sudden turned foul-mouthed and began to make threats.”


Hemi Halliwell January 2, 2012 at 7:34 pm

I have never heard of a person standing in a parking spot “saving” it for someone else! I think your father was perfectly within his right to take the space and was not rude since he did not yell at the young man. I think you should have spoken to someone since he threatened your father and your father’s property.

I’m almost inclined to believe you are speaking of the DMV office in my town, as the parking area is horrible. Steep hill in and out and only about 20 spaces for an office that serves a town of over 100,000 people plus all the drivers who come over from neighboring towns/counties.


Cat Whisperer January 2, 2012 at 8:02 pm

Some general comments:

First, at least here in California, you can make an appointment at the DMV for things like license renewals and such. While this doesn’t help with the parking situation, it surely does make a difference in how quickly you can get in and out. If you find yourself in the position of having to actually go into a DMV for some reason, it’s a darn good idea to find out if you can make an appointment.

Second, I side with June: whatever the etiquette of the situation is, claiming a parking spot is absolutely positively 100% not worth feeling miserable and frightened over, getting cursed at, or taking the risk of getting your car vandalized. Safety trumps etiquette every single time, no exceptions.

Third, and this is perhaps the most important thing to remember: crazy people do not recognize good manners, etiquette, consideration, or even rational common sense. If you have an encounter with someone and that person behaves irrationally, i.e., acts crazy, then you need to let go of all expectation of rational, reasonable ideas of civility, compromise, good manners, and the other things that define civilization. You are dealing with a crazy person, and the rules you are playing by don’t apply.

I’ve been driving since I was 15-1/2 with a learner’s permit, mostly in the asphalt-and-concrete jungle of roads, freeways, and parking lot wastelands that is the Los Angelese metropolitan area, and I have never yet found a situation where it was worth it to get into a fight with someone over parking, no matter where I was, how urgent my business was, or how crazy things were. In every single situation I’ve encountered, there was a way to park sensibly and with minimal stress. Sometimes it involved paying for parking, sometimes it required walking a little distance, sometimes it involved making a strategic decision to abandon the attempt to park, leave the area, and re-schedule what I was planning on doing to a less frenetic time.

If I were OP, once I saw how awful the parking situation was at the DMV, I’d have done one of two things:

Suggested to my dad that we abandon the trip to the DMV at that moment and find a time when they were less busy or find another less crazy DMV,


Suggested to dad that we look for parking a block or two away from the DMV instead of in the DMV lot, and had dad wait for me in the car there while I walked the block or two to the DMV to do my business.

Some things are just not worth getting riled over. Parking spaces fall into that category.


Dani313 January 2, 2012 at 9:39 pm

Parking is on a first come first save basis. Parking spots can only be “saved” if there is a car in said spot. Also as a fellow Chicagoan, I agree with Jennifer. If I spend the time to dig out my parking space that space is mine. However this rule only applies to spots dug out in front of your house. Last year when Chicago was the recipient of over 20 inches of snow I dug my car out 4 times in 3 days. So as the snow is coming down here is a warning to all non-Chicago residents. DO NOT PARK IN A SPOT THAT HAS AN OBJECT IN IT!!! That object may be a traffic cone, milk crate, chair, broom, stroller, ironing board or other household item. Fair warning DONT MOVE THE OBJECT. Consequences are harsh. Happy New Year!!!


anonymous January 2, 2012 at 10:28 pm

Parking saves are a no-no (unless, as above, you dug the spot out of the snow), but in my book not a rudeness worth calling someone on. I wouldn’t have started a fight, I would have just given him a cold look, maybe even a “Wow. Just…wow” and driven on.

That said, it’s really sad that there are actually people in the world who wouldn’t give a spot to an 84-year-old man (or very pregnant woman, or single parent with children, or someone who is handicapped) and wouldn’t feel bad about it.


Stacey Frith-Smith January 2, 2012 at 11:51 pm

It’s interesting to read all of the perspectives from everyone in comments on what constitutes “fair” standards for parking. After getting an enhanced education on how and why “saves” would be used in some cases, I have to say my sympathies have swayed towards those of the young man whose friend waited 45 minutes to find a space. Insisting on one’s rights through blunt force is not a component of normative etiquette. (Her father was in no danger due to the loss of a parking space, for which another person made a reasoned appeal, and which he could only have taken full possession of by force or threat of force (moving his car in). I guess it’s not so much about who is correct as it is who is governing their own conduct so as to mitigate possibly injuring or offending others. (The loss of the space does not excuse cursing on the part of the “saver”, but the forcible ejection of the “saver” by LW’s father speaks less well of his comportment.) Sometimes correct etiquette is as much about motive as about specific actions.


Tanz January 2, 2012 at 11:55 pm

OP of course you were in the right! It’s never ok to ‘save’ a parking spot, a seat, etc. etc.! But considering how the young man reacted I’m not sure I would have left my car there alone.

Oh, and an easy solution for both parties – I’ve had to do this so many times myself – is to have one person go in and do what needs to be done while the other cruises the carpark looking for a park.

And everyone else… instead of implying racism to the OP, am I the only one who read ‘urban’ as a misspelling of ‘urbane’?


Rap January 3, 2012 at 12:54 am

Do we have any agreement on whether “saving” is ok?


“I would have reported the man to reception. He shouldn’t queue jump by getting a number ticket sooner – it would be interesting if he had missed his time and was told “no”. I would also report them for illegally parking for 45 minutes. People shouldn’t make threats like that.”

Its not jumping in line if he sends a friend in to grab a number for him while he’s looking for a parking spot. You pull a number, you wait until your number is pulled. There’s nothing to stop say, the person needing DMV assistance from grabbing their ticket while the friend idles with the car, and then parking the car and returning to the waiting area to be called. The person who does this runs the risk of missing their number being called… but are not doing anything wrong.

I hate to sound apathetic but sure, go report him for illegally parking – if he’s not caught by an official, what, are they going to stage a little trial right there to determine if the word of the OP is enough to ticket him.

It was absolutely rude of the young man to blow up and lose his temper. I’m not seeing overwhelming agreement though, that the OP’s dad had the right to take the parking spot . To use the saving a seat analogy – if this was a theater and the OP’s dad took a seat that this guy was saving for a friend, is that polite of the OPs Dad? And if not, then why is it polite to do it over a parking spot?


Rosewater January 3, 2012 at 2:14 am

Sorry but parking is first come first served and it is entitlement thinking at it’s zeneth to think that you can have someone save a spot for you all the while waving the first comers to the spot on their way. Many places I have lived and visited this is an illegal practice that will result in the spaceholder being ticketed.

As to the person changing and becoming threatening, that would get them a call from me to the police. I will not tolerate personal threats being made to myself when I do something that is perfectly proper to do. You had your phone with you, shoot video of the person acting in that manner and share it with the police.


runriver January 3, 2012 at 3:36 am

About the Chicago/Pittsburgh digging the spot out:

I live in Minneapolis/St Paul. If you’re digging your car out, you’re digging your car out to GET OUT. Once you’ve removed your car from that spot, that is no longer your spot. Much like you can now, when you come home, park in whatever spot has been dug out. We’ve all dug our cars out to go to work or school or wherever. That means we all get a spot when we come home.

What are you digging out that doesn’t have a vehicle in it that would merit a a lawn chair/ironing board/whatever to hold it?


Gilraen January 3, 2012 at 4:35 am

I think the parking saver was right. When you have been driving around for 45 minutes or illegally parked and you see something the new people should wait in line behind you. They were later. It is as simple as that.
Sorry but what your father did was IMO very very rude. No matter his age. Granted though the tirade was possibly a bit much, But then again How would you respond if sombody is trying to run you over? I hardly think you’d step away and say thank you


Enna January 3, 2012 at 5:33 am

I think Cherry has a good point that it is actually dangerous what the man did. Although sometimes it is best not to take the risk and just find another car parking spot. I can also see what Rubies is saying as well. If the man is dumb enough to stand in a car parking space what else is he able to do? Swearing and making threats is bad and is not on personally I’d just driven off.


Kovitlac January 3, 2012 at 8:43 am

I’m surprised at how many people think this behavior is okay. Never once have I ever seen someone saving a parking spot for someone else. It’s incredibly dangerous to just stand out in a parking lot, just twiddling your thumbs and waiting. Not to mention it’s terribly rude behavior – parking is always first come, first served. I know – if I’ve been looking around for a spot for minutes and see someone brand new just pull right in, I might let out a frustrated curse or two (to myself, of course). But I wouldn’t dream of confronting them, or feeling like the world somehow owes me a parking spot first.


Serenity S. January 3, 2012 at 10:18 am

I am not sure if saving a parking spot is rude, because no one does that in my area. I think the Dad was rude to start a confrontation with the young man and of course the young man was rude to scream at an elderly person. I think I would just look for another spot rather than start a confrontation with a stranger, the situation could have turned out much worse than it did.


Xtina January 3, 2012 at 10:22 am

The guy was rude to name-call and get ugly. I don’t like “saves” in general–if your entire party is not there (except in the case of restaurant seating in which someone is parking the car or something, and going to join you within 10 minutes or so), then you need to wait until everyone has arrived or you are ready to utilize the venue or service. Saving someone’s place in line or in a parking lot is not worth the dirty looks, actions, and so forth. I can wait a few more minutes to avoid that.

I know it’s generally accepted, but saves are just not nice to other shoppers/drivers/what-have-you. I don’t think the OP’s father OR the young man in question handled it very well–but really, I don’t think there is really a graceful way to handle this situation as there is such a wide variety of opinions on saves.


Mary January 3, 2012 at 10:29 am

This happened to DH and I over the holidays. We went to a local outlet mall on Saturday 12/31. There was no available parking in the front lot so we traveled to a nearby satellite lot. There was a space, third space in, and a woman was standing in it. My husband put on his blinker and started to turn in but the woman wouldn’t move and was talking on her cell phone. We waited, she stood her ground, so we backed out and went on to a spot 1 row over and parked. I called out to her, “what are you doing?” she completely ingnored me so we just rolled our eyes and kept walking. Another car comes along and was trying to pull in the spot and as we walked past that driver was blasting the woman and inching closer and closer to her until she finally moved out of his way. absolutely ridiculous behavior to stand in a spot and wait for someone to come to the space.


Xtina January 3, 2012 at 10:31 am

Also meant to add that the appropriateness of “saves” is congruent to how busy the place is or how long those behind the saver will need to wait when the save-ee arrives. A few examples: saving a parking space in a parking lot that is extremely busy and crowded–especially for more than about 2 minutes–is unacceptable and rude, but if there is plenty of parking (if a bit further away), then I don’t see much of an issue. Saving a whole row of movie seats in a theater where people are lined up waiting to sit down (and your party doesn’t show up for 10 minutes) is wrong. A third example would be check-out lines–I have no problems with someone saving a space in a line as long as the person the space is being saved for doesn’t arrive with a shopping cart that’s overflowing. Just use common sense, people.


Lilac January 3, 2012 at 12:18 pm

I have to side with the parking space saver in this instance. It sounds like he was just waiting for his friend to circle back and pull into the space. If they had been willing to try to find a space for 45 minutes and then had to resort to a saving a spot, I think they deserve to have the spot. It’s not like he was sitting in a lawnchair in the space for an hour. We are talking about a minute or two of waiting for his friend. It might not be what is normally done in parking situations but from reading the OPs account, she and her father were completely aware that the lot was inadequate for patrons. They could see that the circumstances were different than in a large mall parking lot. If they were having trouble finding a spot, they should have been more understanding of someone in the exact same situation (plus 45 minutes) and had the courtesy to move on. If the OP and her father were so desperate for a space that they literally drove someone out of one, can you imagine how frustrated someone who had been waiting for almost an hour would be? I would be angry too.


MoniCAN January 3, 2012 at 12:35 pm

I’m curious if all the posts are coming from the United States or if we’re getting some from elsewhere and what feelings are about “saving” parking in other countries.

I just returned from an extended trip to Mexico City, Mexico and a few surrounding cities.
This is not the case in every part of town, but frequently a group of men claim “ownership” of the public parking on a certain street or block.

They stand at the corner or in spaces and then act helpful to guide you to an open space and wave you in. They often stand inches from you car if it’s a tight parallel parking space to make sure you get in safely. Or sometimes they will wave you off if someone else has ask them to save that space.

Once you’re in a spot you “tip” them for the help (usually 5 pesos will do, which is around .35 US cents at this time).

But what you’re really doing is paying them to not scratch your car or slash your tires for parking in “their” area.

Rude, illegal, whatever it is, that is the way it is in certain parts of Mexico.

I imagine you run into that elsewhere in the world too, maybe even in certain large US or European cities with a police shortage (though I’ve never seen it).

Is it worth the risk of a ruined car because what they’re doing is wrong/rude/illegal/thuggish?


Bint January 3, 2012 at 12:38 pm

People think it’s ok to stand in a parking space and refuse to let an 84 year old man park there when his car got there first?

Good grief. I don’t care how long you’ve been circling. Your car didn’t get there first and in this case he’s also an old man. You don’t get to stand in a parking space to save it. Of all the stupid ideas. Get a grip before that driver you stop parking turns out to be a short-tempered, violent chav.

I cannot believe how many posters think this is acceptable, but then again I remember an argument here about taking back shopping trolleys, and the amount of whingey excuses why it was ok to dump them in the carpark was just astonishing.


Miss Raven January 3, 2012 at 2:47 pm

I agree that in this situation, parking savsies are a no-go. I’m willing to bet that OP’s pop and the young man’s friend weren’t the only car circling around looking for parking. It’s a game of luck. If you see a spot opening up but there’s a car in front of you, keep going. If you see a spot open up and can pull right into it, congratulations! You win. Especially at the DMV when you have to figure a significant percentage of clients have come alone, it’s not fair that the people who brought friends have an edge.

That said, what’s up fellow Chicagoans? Here’s the deal: If you have a parking spot in front of your house where you usually park, and you dig out your car and make a nice big space, and you stick a lawnchair or a traffic cone in that space, that space is yours. Because you put your time and sweat into making it. And in 2 days when it snows again, the snow plow is going to come through and block that space up again, and you’re going to have to re-shovel it. And your neighbor up the block who wasn’t parked in front of his house when it snowed isn’t going to come over and do it for you, so he doesn’t get to park there. And the guy visiting Ms. Next Door doesn’t get to park there, because he’s going to be long gone.

So, yes, if you weren’t parked in front of your house when it snowed and didn’t have to dig out your car or your space, you get to just keep moving or park in a non-residential area. Digging out parking spaces is a horrible little tax on living in the city, and if you do the work, you keep the space.


MellowedOne January 3, 2012 at 3:10 pm

This quote comes to mind, “Much ado about nothing.”

It’s a parking space. OP do you realize your Father put both of your lives in jeopardy over a parking space? I wish I could say I am exaggerating. There are waaaay too many crazed, psycho nuts around, just waiting for an opportunity to beat someone up over ‘differences of opinion’.

Seriously, both of you need to learn to let things like this slide.


Molly January 3, 2012 at 5:06 pm

I guess I’m trying to redo this letter in reverse. If the parking situation was as you say and you and your father had been waiting for a legal parking spot for 45 minutes. I can imagine that you would feel you would be next in line for the next available spot and not someone who had just pulled in the parking lot. How do you know he didn’t have an elderly family member waiting in the car?

I know that these situations can be extremely stressful and I feel sorry for all the parties involved. Arrrhhh …. been there myself and very grateful I was home this week. I hope you can let this go and have a little forgiveness and perspective regarding the situation.


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