Holiday Parking Rage

by admin on December 13, 2012

Well, I know that the silly season is here.

I went to do some Christmas shopping at a large shopping center and, as expected, the car park was very busy. After driving around the parking areas for a half hour I saw someone loading their car and pulled to the side and indicated that I was waiting for that space. Up ahead there was another car being loaded and a car sitting in the lane with no indicators on. After a few minutes the car I was waiting for left and I pulled safely into the space. That is when the trouble began.

The car that had not been indicating reversed toward me and stopped, blocking me in (the space was against a wall and the only pedestrian exit was toward the road). A man in his early 20’s got out and began yelling at me. He started screaming in my face how it was “His!” space and I stole it, how dare I take the spot when “Everyone could see” it was his. I tried to keep calm and apologized for misunderstanding and offered to give him the space. The man then lifted his fist and threatened to hit me and my children aged 11 and 7 (I was standing between him and my kids). He would not listen to anything that I said and I was fortunate that a person notified the security people about the problem and they were hurrying towards us. The man then threw a punch (that I dodged) that broke a window on my car. Security jumped on the man and took him away before any more damage could be done.

A security person stayed with my car while they dealt with the issue. The man was given the option of paying for an emergency on-site repair to the window or being arrested. He grudgingly parted with the $450 for repairs and was banned from the center indefinitely. My children and I were shaken over how someone’s behavior could change our day so badly.

{ 50 comments… read them below or add one }

NostalgicGal December 13, 2012 at 3:11 am

Oh people can be even more clueless than this. Not just the holidays, parking spots are not worth the life and death tht some attach to it. I’ve decided I’ll walk at times than deal with fisticuffs or car-ramming rage….

I am so glad you didn’t get hurt and someone got the security there pronto. I also hope your kids are fine now after all that!

I had two in the same town same holiday season, different mall lots. One I started to pull out of a glassy icy lot spot and someone speeded up and rammed down the row; I managed to pull in again before they hit ME. They then got out and insisted I HAD hit them. Fortunately from a ‘professional hit and run’ insurance scammer I’d met that summer previous I knew the name and badge number of an Accident Reconstructionist from our Finest, and called and asked if they were on duty and could they be sent out. The lady was not going to be soothed by anything but I’d been sticking out and managed to take most of her car side for a good scrapeNdent. He quickly pointed out my rear light lenses were intact and my vehicle profile did NOT match anything on hers, and hers had OXIDATION (aka rust) in the wounds. Um her hubby was overseas and coming home from deployment and she didn’t want him to know about the vehicular damage she’d done earlier! She had a chance she thought for my insurance to fix her problem. Nuh-uh.

#2 a week later, pulling in next to an older van, side is also looking not good, and my car is a low wide old flat thing. I get out of car and woman comes pelting out of this store screaming I did her van side in. And starts trying to beat the crap out of me. I took both of her hands in a ‘holding’ grip (it takes showing someone else but it is effective as the person can’t swing or claw you to death and anyone looking on can tell it’s defensive!) and kicking my shins up as I couldn’t get them both out of the way and stay on my feet. Store people come out and pull her away and it’s obvious her swipe is a foot above my carline, and witnesses in the store said it wasn’t me but the big SUV that had pulled out earlier and they’d tried to find her then… and no nobody got the plate. I did not need EMT’s, she was charged for assault as I had bruises and broken skin on shins; and witnesses also said I did not attack but defend.

I now like to sit at home and shop on the internet. It comes to my door and I am safe and sound. Or I can have the gift dropshipped straight to the recipient when I buy it. No hassle.


Rebecca December 13, 2012 at 3:33 am

This man did not merely violate etiquette; he has a screw loose and should be charged with assault. And you did nothing wrong; if he wanted that spot he needed to indicate.


KMC December 13, 2012 at 4:31 am

Wow, I am so sorry you went through that. How scary.


Carol December 13, 2012 at 5:50 am

That is terrifying. I’m glad you weren’t hurt. I’m really glad he got his comeuppance.

People like that boggle me. It’s entitlement to the nth degree, and a terrifying lack of understanding that you can’t control circumstances, only your reaction to them.


Allie December 13, 2012 at 6:17 am

What a jerk! I’m sorry this happened to you OP, but it’s more of a criminal matter than an etiquette issue. He should have been arrested for assault. I try to avoid the malls at this time of year as much as possible or go very early to avoid the crowds.


Emmy December 13, 2012 at 6:59 am

That’s very scary for the OP and her children. This goes beyond rude into crazy. Even when the OP offered to move, the man could not be appeased. The positive note is the man was caught and made to pay for the damages he caused and nobody was actually hurt. I still think he should have been arrested, somebody who threatens to harm a woman and her innocent young children (and then actually attempts to do so) over a parking space has major issues. As long as him and his temper are loose, somebody is in danger of being harmed.


mpk December 13, 2012 at 7:19 am

Sounds like the guy was in a nasty mood and looking for a fight. If he had to reverse to even get to the space you were in, then he evidently wasn’t waiting for that one.
You did the right thing in trying to stay calm, but nothing was going to calm him down. Glad security showed up and that he had to pay for damages. Unfortunately, entitled people like these don’t usually learn their lesson. Since he actually had to pay, maybe that will help him along.


AuntyEm December 13, 2012 at 7:31 am

This is not an etiquette issue but a criminal assault. He should have been arrested, not just made to pay for his damage. Please don’t think you did anything wrong.


Lo December 13, 2012 at 7:40 am

OP says “car park” so I’m assuming not an American, so I don’t know if pepper spray is legal where you live. However here in the US it is, so I would have responded to any man’s efforts to hit myself or a child with a face full of it.

Frankly, he got off easily with the repair payment. It would have been better for him to pay for your window and also be arrested. Throwing a punch indicates clear intent to violence, he’s incredibly lucky that you ducked. Threat to assault a child should always be taken absolutely seriously.

This man should be in jail.


DowagerDutchess December 13, 2012 at 7:46 am

Well, yes, you are supposed to signal, and yes, road rage is never the answer, but were you signaling? What did you think the car waiting near someone who was leaving was doing?


Julia December 13, 2012 at 7:50 am

You gave him more courtesy than he deserved (IMO), but more importantly, I’m glad you and your children were not hurt.


Green123 December 13, 2012 at 8:05 am

Jerks like this guy are rare, thankfully – I hope the OP and her family are not put off from shopping at the centre again.


Jewel December 13, 2012 at 8:15 am

How frightening! I must say that I wouldn’t have been happy with the mall security’s two options. He should have been arrested for assault AND been sued in civil court for the window repair. He deserved no less than a legal one-two “punch” from you for his lunatic behavior.


Shalamar December 13, 2012 at 8:20 am

Oh my GOD. I’ve been through the “you stole my spot!” situation myself (haven’t we all?), but no-one has ever tried to hit me. Thank goodness security was there!


Jennifer December 13, 2012 at 8:34 am

I’m glad you’re ok!


sv December 13, 2012 at 8:35 am

How awful! I’m a pretty unshakable person, generally speaking, but that would have rattled me to my core! And especially awful that your children were present. Hats off to you, OP, for keeping your cool. Sounds like this guy was going to be irrational no matter what you did.


Damn Yankee December 13, 2012 at 8:58 am

This, this is why I park in the Back 40. I’m young, healthy. I’ll walk. Less chance of my car getting bashed if I hide it with the employee vehicles!


The Elf December 13, 2012 at 9:03 am

Wow! This isn’t just rude, it’s criminal!

Also, the “parking wars” (plus crowds in general, the awful music, the pushy salespeople, etc) is why I avoid pretty much every retail establishment after Thanksgiving. I shop via internet or wait until January. The only exception is the grocery store.


MT December 13, 2012 at 9:04 am

OH. MY. What a scary, horrible situation.
I have to agree with previous posters that, if you are permitted to do so, you should arm yourself with a good can of pepper spray. I have carried a can for almost 20 years (not same can of course!) and there is a great peace of mind that comes with it. This lunatic could’ve seriously hurt you or your children.
I agree he should’ve been arrested, and ordered to attend anger management classes as well.
Please don’t let this hothead ruin your independence or your holiday.
Many hugs to you and your family. So sorry you had to go through this!


The Elf December 13, 2012 at 9:06 am

NostalgicGal, you were able to get an police officer to do an accident reconstruction on a personal property collision? That’s surprising. Ours only responds for fatal collisions. Sadly, they’re still busy.


Rap December 13, 2012 at 9:08 am

Grr I am sorry this happened to you. I hate to say it but this is one reason why I shop online at the holidays.


LiLi December 13, 2012 at 9:08 am

Not that is ultimately matters, but I do wonder if the OP is male or female. Assault is assault, but for a man to swing hard enough at a woman to crack glass is more than just chest thumping machismo. Don’t even get me started on threatening children. He should have been arrested flat out.


Cat December 13, 2012 at 9:12 am

People have been killed in the US over parking spots. My neighbor was attacked by a man armed with a machete and had some fingers severed while defending himself. You were very fortunate that it was no worse but I also think the man should have been criminally charged.
To lend a sense of balance, I once backed my old Toyota into a Rolls Royce in my church’s parking lot. I went and located the owner. She came out, looked at the damage (a scratch), and told me not to worry about it. I offered my insurance information, but she wasn’t interested and I never heard any more about it.


Margaret December 13, 2012 at 9:16 am

Dowager Duchess, OP said she was “indicating”. I take that to mean using her turn signal. Under NO circumstances is that man allowed to threaten OP and her children with violence. Turn signal or not.


GleanerGirl December 13, 2012 at 9:18 am

This is one of many reasons why I take the furthest spot I can find from the entrance, only shop in broad daylight, and do as much as possible of my shopping online.

Also, if I can get all my present-shopping done before Thanksgiving, then I find the only stress is keeping the gifts hidden (and then finding them again!) until Christmas. There is much less holiday shopping rage before the holidays begin.

Even with all that, I still have to go shopping in December, and I HATE IT!!!!

I’m sorry you went through this. I’m very glad the security was able to help you out. Kudos for the person who went to get them! Not everyone would have bothered to call them.


Mrs. Lovett December 13, 2012 at 9:22 am

@DowagerDuchess, according to the story, not only was OP signalling, but the man was waiting for a different spot further up ahead. He had to reverse in order to block her in.

Agree with everyone else that he should have been charged with assault. A man who gets so upset over something like this almost certainly has issues with rage and control. If he’s willing to hit someone (hard enough to break a car window, which is hard enough to be a serious or even fatal blow to the face) over a parking space, you better believe he has and will continue to hurt people in his life. So glad you were okay.


AMC December 13, 2012 at 9:33 am

Wow! That must have been terrifying! I’m so sorry you and your kids went through that. This goes well beyond bad etitquette. The guy must have serious problems if he thinks a parking spot is worth assaulting a mother and her children. I’m really shocked he wasn’t arrested; a violent person like that should be locked up.


Nikki December 13, 2012 at 9:34 am

I agree with others that this goes beyond the bounds of etiquette and into assault. And perhaps lunacy, for that matter.
However, it has been my experience and it is my belief that these sorts of incidents do not normally happen to usually well-behaved individuals having a bad week or a bad day – they are usually the result of a lifetime of feeling entitled. Being mildly rude on a Monday is one thing. This sort of boorish, agressive, and violent behavior is a different animal altogether, and he should have been charged with assault and made to pay the damages. Hopefully, the financial hit from this occasion will make him think twice before acting out like this again.
I am thankful that OP and her children were all okay.


DGS December 13, 2012 at 9:41 am

That is not just rude or an etiquette breach, that is assault. It is criminal. I can’t believe that he merely got away with a fine; the man should have been arrested.


AMC December 13, 2012 at 9:43 am

@DowagerDutchess- OP said that she pulled to the side near the car being unloaded and “indicated” that she was waiting for that spot, which I think means she turned on her turn signal. She said there was another car being loaded up ahead of her and a car (driven by the violent jerk) sitting in the lane near that without a turn signal on. So to OP, the jerk appeared to be waiting for the other spot up ahead. She also said that after she pulled into the free spot, the jerk “reversed” and block her in. So as he sat waiting for OP’s intended parking spot, he was faced away from it. No wonder OP didn’t know he was waiting for the same spot. Regardless, all of this is mute since none of it justifies a violent reaction.


Shannon December 13, 2012 at 9:54 am

The fact that the security team already had a protocol in place for a crazy window-basher is 1. impressive, and 2. depressing. Has it really come to that?

Personally, I shop online, visit malls accessible by transit, or go to local craft markets for my holiday shopping. It’s just not worth the stress of finding a parking space (because even if you’re willing to park in the boondocks, that doesn’t always guarantee a space).


egl December 13, 2012 at 10:01 am

@Lo- Pepper spray isn’t legal everywhere in the US. Plus, if the wind is wrong, it can hit you. Definitely not something to be overly reliant on for safety.

I’m lucky to have only heard about things like this. Nobody’s gone beyond honking and cursing at me over parking spots. Those people were rude. The guy in this story was way beyond rude.

Personally, I’m glad for the internet and that I’m lucky enough to live near a good bus route. (Mall on one end, major city on the other.)


WildIrishRose December 13, 2012 at 10:08 am

What is it about the holiday season that turns people into animals? This type of thing is exactly why I would like to dispense with the whole gift-giving aspect of Christmas. Nobody I know or love needs things that badly! Glad you and your kids weren’t hurt, OP, but I too think that jackass should have been arrested AND made to pay for your window.


Robert December 13, 2012 at 10:12 am

Ah, holiday parking. I normally just go for the furthest spot in the lot but there was one time a few years ago when every spot in a large mall was taken and you literally had to troll around looking for someone who was leaving.

I saw someone loading there car and no one was waiting for the spot so I put my blinker on and waited. Unfortunately it was one of those people who kind of dawdle so I wound up waiting for over five minutes before they finally started backing out of the space. Just as they were starting to back up a car came from the other direction and also put it’s blinker on for the same spot.

Luckily for me the way the person I had been waiting on pulled out I was able to take the spot before the claim jumper had a chance. As I get out of my car I see that the person who tried to steal the spot I had been waiting so long for had pulled right behind my car (much like the OP). It was a middle aged woman with a car full of kids ranging from a toddler to teens and man was she mad. The only English I could make out was, “STOLE MY SPOT! STOLE MY SPOT!” but the spittle, red face and volume made me think the words in the language I did not understand were not nice ones.

I just walked away but I was worried she might vandalize my car so I stopped about ten feet away and watched to see what would happen (with my cell phone out in case I needed to call the police). Sure enough after a minute the oldest teen got out of the car and walked towards mine and I shouted, “HEY!”. I very deliberately took a picture of the cars license plate and another of the teen. He gave me a nice finger gesture accompanied with some more screaming but he got back in the car and the woman peeled away.

I figured that was the end of it until I ran into the family again in a store. She went right back into red faced spittle flying rage right in the middle of the crowded store. I just shook my head and walked away. You can’t reason with crazy.


Psyche December 13, 2012 at 10:15 am

I don’t own a car, so I’ve never had a “parking rage” incident, but I have had experiences with entitled people putting a personal item on a chair thinking it’ll save the spot, then getting irate at the person who moves it.


Magicdomino December 13, 2012 at 10:21 am

@dowagerduchess: The OP was signaling. From the post: “After driving around the parking areas for a half hour I saw someone loading their car and pulled to the side and indicated that I was waiting for that space. Up ahead there was another car being loaded and a car sitting in the lane with no indicators on.” (I’m assuming that like “car park” equals “parking lot,” “indicators” equal “turn signals.”)


Virg December 13, 2012 at 10:28 am

I personally would not have allowed the mall security not to file a report that would result in his arrest regardless of whether he paid for the damage. The answer to an assault is to send him to a jail cell for long enough to figure out he shouldn’t attack someone, and there’s nothing more to it. I’d have reported his actions to the police and had him hauled in.



Tini December 13, 2012 at 10:31 am

I used to live just across the road from a luxury supermarket. Lovely place, really, great staff, and their staples were not overpriced, but they’d also have things like 2000 euro bottles of whisky. Most of the time going there was a pleasure, but the last two days before christmas were horrendous. The problem was parking – very small car park. This being Germany, this isn’t so much of a problem throughout the year. People come on foot, on bike (even little old ladies in their eighties) or by public transport as much as anything.
Anyhow, just before christmas you’d get the really rich guys that I fancied usually never go shopping. They’d pull up in Jaguars, Ferraris, high-end Mercedeses, whatever, and I guess they were so used to being top dog that they just could not cope with people not jumping out of their way when they pulled up. Twice we saw fist-fights in the car parks over a parking spot. The one time the one gentleman (and I use that term loosely) had his kids in the car with him. I have never seen anything like that anywhere else. In the end I only went really early in the morning before the lunacy kicked off.
I don’t think I ever saw anyone punch in a window, though. The OP must have terrified


Molly December 13, 2012 at 10:32 am

I am with the others who think the guy should have been made to pay AND been arrested: assault, attempted assault, disturbing the peace, something. You had your signal on and you offered to give the spot to him — he was the one in the wrong. Clearly.


Jay December 13, 2012 at 10:37 am

I certainly would’ve pressed charges if someone assaulted me and my kids.


The Elf December 13, 2012 at 10:39 am

Virg, it isn’t your call on whether the mall security files a report or not. Nor is it your call if the police file a report or not, or make an arrest or not. The mall security and police make those calls, respectively. It is your call to sue him civilly, though.

I’m speaking about the US – not sure how it would work elsewhere.


Really December 13, 2012 at 10:42 am

@DowagerDutchess- The man had to go into reverse to get to the OP. I don’t know many people who pull past a spot to wait for the occupant to leave the spot. Even if OP had “taken” the spot, threatening to harm her and her children and the attempting to do so is a punishable, criminal offense. It is lucky OP ducked the punch and the only damage was to her car.

I have had people “take” a spot I was waiting but I never threatened or attempted to harm them. Yes, I muttered curses under my breath but I just found another space.


Amber December 13, 2012 at 11:06 am

You must be British. Only a Brit would downplay attempted assault and vehicular damage by fist as “the silly season!”

I’m pleased that it worked out for the best, however, and hope you never have to deal with the crazies again!


Seiryuu December 13, 2012 at 11:30 am

Agree with the idea of the man being arrested and paying for damages. Why was there any trouble anyway? There was another car that was about to leave, wasn’t there?


Sazerac December 13, 2012 at 11:33 am

I’m familiar with the term “Car Park” in the US, usually in major cities – it refers to pay by the hour lots, either on the ground or in multi-level “parking buildings.” You drive through a gate, take a ticket, and after you’ve finished parking you pay as you leave. Very common with large malls, shopping centers, airports, and downtown areas. That’s what I was thinking when I read the story, that it was just such an arrangement – which would also account for why it had its own security there.

Craziness seems to escalate at this time of year. My wife and I have little family to buy for anymore (generally just send cards) so I’m only too glad to skirt the malls until after New Years. I’m glad no one was injured in this altercation, and yes, the offender should have been arrested as well for assault.


A December 13, 2012 at 11:42 am

I find all of these incidents sad. I would like to make one plea to all of the readers here, as well as the op. Please, when you park, look around before getting out of your car. If someone is blocking you in, do not get out until they move. Call the police if you have to. Lay on your horn to get attention if you do have a phone. This applies to any time of year, but especially around the holidays.


Lisa December 13, 2012 at 11:45 am

What is wrong with people? Yes, it’s annoying to have someone pull into a spot you were waiting for, but physical violence? It’s just not worth the time or energy.
Nostalgicgal – all I can say is wow. How fortunate that you have something like an Accident Reconstructionist that can come out and assess the situation and solve the issue.


inNM December 13, 2012 at 11:46 am

OP, you did not say if you were already out of your car when the man approached you or if you got of your car when he approached. Just in case, I would suggest that you never get out of your car if someone like that approaches you. Get in, lock all the doors and call the police/911 immediately. (I have the local police and campus police as an entry in my phone.) Tell them that a crazy person is attacking you and your children, and give them your exact address (e.g. 3rd story, West side , Mall X parking structure.) and as much information as possible to the operator on the phone.

Any other safety advice, readers?


StephM December 13, 2012 at 11:49 am

The most likely reason security gave him those options instead of just calling the police is that the owner of the mall doesn’t want police there worrying shoppers. It looks bad and blah blah blah. So if everyone is willing to go without police, they won’t call. All you have to do is demand they call the cops or you will.

I commend you for keeping a cool head, OP. Keep an eye on your children though, in case they start having nightmares or become afraid of strangers. You never know how a kid will react to such an event.


Leah December 13, 2012 at 11:49 am

I think DowagerDuchess may have been speaking sarcastically to the man whose insufficiencies as a human being caused the OP to share her story.


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