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First Come, First Parked

Hello. Would like others opinions on who was in the wrong here.

Recently I arranged to meet my husband at the beach after he had been to the gym so he was in his car and I was in my car with our 3 young kids aged 1, 2and a half and 5 years old.

The beach was pretty packed but there were a few spaces to park still. I’d driven around a few times looking for a parking spot close to where I could see my husband who was already on the beach as I didn’t want to walk too far with my 3 small children.
A car left its spot fairly close to him so I turned on my indicator but as I went to drive into the spot a lady who was parked next to that spot jumped out of her car talking on her mobile phone and stood in the way. I thought maybe she hadn’t realized and was just standing there so I wound my window down to ask her to move which is when she walked over to the car so I started pulling in and she said, “You can’t park here I’m calling my friend to come and park here.”  I said, “Well, I’m sorry but I’m parking here as I have little kids and we are here before your friend. ”

I was now parked and getting out of the car and she said, “But she needs this spot next to my car.” I asked why is that? I figured if she said she has some very reasonable reason for needing to park directly next to her friend I would move, but she just said because they are going for a walk together. So I just said,  “Well, look, I’m parked here now.  I have little kids who can’t walk too far as I’m meeting someone already on the beach.  Your friend will just have to stay parked where she is.”   Then I got my kids out and went onto the beach.

I did feel rude but I figured first in first served? 0424-13

{ 56 comments… add one }
  • Mojo April 25, 2013, 2:26 am

    You were right. Don’t give it another thought.

  • Virg April 25, 2013, 3:50 am

    It seems this missed “Polite Spine” day by a few, but it’s a perfect fit. The phone-talker had no more claim to the spot than the writer so it was not rude of her to take the spot. She shouldn’t feel rude about doing what she did, and she was polite about declining the talker’s request to leave the space.


  • Margo April 25, 2013, 4:53 am

    You were fine. It wasn’t a private space.

    Even if she had had a special reason to need that space, such as having a disability or needing to unload something heavy, it would not have been rude to say no.

    After all, if it was so important that the friend park right there, there was nothing from stopping her giving up up space to her friend, and parking elsewhere herself.

  • Carol April 25, 2013, 5:13 am

    There is no saving spots in parking. Sounds like you were perfectly reasonable.

  • Marie April 25, 2013, 5:19 am

    You were not in the wrong. That lady had no right whatsoever to occupy a parking spot for a friend that was not there yet. With parking spaces it’s very easy: first come, first serve (or in this case: parked). You can even leave your children out of the equation, because it’s as simple as that.

    The only exception to this is the handicapped spot, and I doubt you were parking there.

  • josie April 25, 2013, 5:50 am

    That’s nice that they were going for a walk together….now they can just walk a little further 🙂

  • Cherry April 25, 2013, 5:52 am

    You were in the right as far as I’m concerned. You were there first and you had a more sincere need for the space. This woman was just entitled.

  • Sazerac April 25, 2013, 5:53 am

    Having a polite spine is not “rude”. The woman was rude in presuming she had the right to save a public parking space for someone who wasn’t there. This falls into the same camp as those who reserve blocks of seats in a theatre or auditorium for friends or family members who haven’t yet arrived. If you’re not paying for them, if you don’t own them, you don’t get to reserve them. End of statement. I think you handled the situation admirably.

  • Just call me J April 25, 2013, 6:01 am

    If she absolutely *needed* to park her car next to her friend’s car, why didn’t she move her car to park nearer to the further-away parking spot her friend had?

    You were not rude. She was acting selfish.

  • Weaver April 25, 2013, 6:25 am

    Of course you weren’t in the wrong! Definitely a first come first served situation. How very entitled of her.

  • Weaver April 25, 2013, 6:29 am

    Oops, meant to add – I think the fact that you had young children with you is immaterial here, and while it was a perfectly reasonable explanation of why you were keen to take that spot, you were by no means obligated to provide any reason to this woman. You got there first and that’s that.

  • cocacola35 April 25, 2013, 6:37 am

    You were there first and had the right to that spot. The lady’s friend was not there yet and she had no right to save a parking spot for her. I thought you were being considerate by asking the lady why her friend needed that spot, from your post it sounds like the lady’s friend did not need the closer spot as much as you did.

  • Lo April 25, 2013, 7:00 am

    You weren’t rude.

    The person with the vehicle should always get the space. Using people to save spots is rude and dangerous to the person.

    I would probably have let her have the space if I were feeling generous about it but I don’t have 3 children to corral so your needs take priority.

  • Twik April 25, 2013, 7:13 am

    To my mind, parking spaces are first come, first served, and that means “first come *with car*”.

  • Jewel April 25, 2013, 7:29 am

    You weren’t rude, the “parking spot saver” was rude. The only thing you could have done differently is not JADE (justify, argue, defend, explain). The fact that you were there ready to park and her friend wasn’t is the only relevant fact you needed to state.

  • NicoleK April 25, 2013, 7:32 am

    It’s unreasonable to hold a spot for someone who isn’t there. I can see an exception, perhaps, for someone who is also circulating the parking lot and who happens to be on the other side of the loop at that second.

  • Shannan April 25, 2013, 7:34 am

    Yep, I’d say that’s pretty much it OP: 1st in 1st served. Besides, they have cell phones. The friend can just call when she finds another spot to park and then your little “Parking Nazi” can just walk over & meet her. It’ll give the “Parking Nazi” extra exercise, which is pretty much the point right?

  • Ripple April 25, 2013, 7:40 am

    You weren’t rude, but your reply was a little snarky. You should have said “I’m sorry, but I’m also meeting someone on the beach and I have three small children.” Nothing more. People do not have the right to hold a parking space for someone who isn’t even there.

  • Ergala April 25, 2013, 7:45 am

    I don’t think you were rude at all. People do that here at larger stores, only they will walk around and stand in the spot while they wait for their buddy to circle back around. It annoys the snot out of me…especially when it’s very very cold (in the winter it gets to way below zero) and I have to force my two small children to walk across the parking lot because of “savezies”…..If my husband were in the car with me I’d drop them off at the door but almost every single time I am with them by myself due to his work schedule.

    The only thing you could have done differently was just ignore her and not ask why her friend needed to park there. If it was such an emergency to park together the lady could have moved her car to near her friend. It’s not like you were in a handicap spot without a placard and her friend was handicapped.

  • Heather Haskett April 25, 2013, 7:46 am

    You did good. *sigh* Some people are so irritating. The sense of entitlement really irks me.

  • Mae April 25, 2013, 7:47 am

    Public parking is first come, first serve. NO saving spaces.

  • Jo-Ann Fagan April 25, 2013, 7:52 am

    You handled it perfectly. Parking spots are first come, first served. If, as you asked, the woman had a compelling reason for needing the spot, and could provide one, I would give way, but not otherwise. I admire your “polite spine”!

  • PhDeath April 25, 2013, 7:59 am

    Agreed – first come, first served. The issue of the children doesn’t even factor in here for me. If you’d been there first, kid-less, and her friend had three children with her, my opinion would remain the same.

    As an aside on a common theme, it’s amazing to see how often people are made to feel rude by not acquiescing to others’ entitlement!

  • Marc Sulinski April 25, 2013, 8:04 am

    I think you are right – first come, first served. In many places, it is illegal to reserve parking spots by standing in them.

  • Justin April 25, 2013, 8:50 am

    Often when meeting up with family I haven’t seen in a while we are exchanging items be they gifts or loaned items to return, often bulky and heavy things. When meeting in busy places we agree to meet in the parking furthest from entrances, etc. to increase the likelihood of getting two close spots. The trade off is walking further, but that hasn’t killed me yet.

    It wasn’t rude to take the spot, especially since she didn’t even have a reason which may have caused you to yield the spot out of kindness. In order to walk down together the person parked further away needed only to walk to the other person’s car and then proceed together from there.

  • Anonymous April 25, 2013, 9:02 am

    Obviously, that rude woman has never heard this song: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=gGtGfKKqtdE

  • Cat April 25, 2013, 9:05 am

    Rude would have been threatening to hit her with your car in order to move her out of the way. Rude would have been screaming profanities at her. Parking in a legal spot is not rude. She cannot forbid you to use something that she does not own.
    You did not even need to give her a reason for taking the spot. You were going to the beach; you were driving a car; you needed a parking spot. That’s not too complicated for anyone to figure out.

  • Lynne April 25, 2013, 9:19 am

    Parking spaces, toilet stalls, etc. These are not things you can “hold onto” for someone else. First come, first served.

  • starstruck April 25, 2013, 9:20 am

    i dont think you did anything wrong. she wasnt in a car so she cant hold the spot. i have a problem with this and people who hold spots in line , letting their friends cut in front of them . i highly believe i first come first serve. unless its a reservation type situation , if you get their first your intitled. this thing where people stand in a parking spot to hold it for a car to me is ridiculous . you cant hold a spot for which you arent even eligable . meaning, she wasnt a car! lol

  • Abby April 25, 2013, 10:07 am

    In this situation I think OP was in the right. However, I don’t have a problem with saving spaces in particular instances. If one car has been circling a completely full lot for awhile, sees a spot open up down another row, and in the meantime, a car pulls into the lot for the first time, yet has closer access to the spot and can get there before the first car can, I don’t have a moral problem with a passenger from car 1 jumping out and holding the spot. That car was there longer, looking, and it was just pure luck the new car happened to pull in right when a spot opened up. I liken that to waiting in a long line at a store, a cashier opens up a new register, and whoever was last in line gets served first because they can run to the open cashier the quickest. That does not appear to be the case here, though, so I fully support the OP taking the spot.

  • Ashley April 25, 2013, 10:24 am

    How much do you want to bet that when her friend finally showed up, she told her all about the “rude” woman who took her parking space?

    Op, you did nothing wrong. Wrong would have been screaming profanities and threatening to hit her, but it seems like you kept your cool. Parking spaces are first come first serve.

  • Lisa April 25, 2013, 10:27 am

    This reminds me of a story involving my EX husband. It was a hot afternoon and we had been at the beach all day. It was time to go, we were in the parking lot and I was the designated driver. As we approached our car people started jockeying to get in position to take our spot once we left. Ex-husband thought this might be a good opportunity to make some extra money and tried to ‘sell’ our spot for $5.00. I drove away and met him at the exit.

  • Jay April 25, 2013, 10:36 am

    You were completely right.. and you’re lucky you didn’t come back to find your car had been keyed. Dangerous to be right like that, sometimes.

  • MichelleP April 25, 2013, 11:36 am

    You were absolutely not rude at all.

    @Ripple, how was her response “snarky”? And why should she feel the need to say I’m sorry?

    I’ve witnesssed fights, actual fights, at the college I attend where there is limited parking. I get there early and I walk my big behind to the school. Never have a problem.

  • PurpleOlelia April 25, 2013, 2:19 pm

    This happened to me once when I was sixteen and I did not handle it as gracefully as the OP. I was driving one of my friends to an outdoor art fest in the downtown are of our city and since parking was scarce we decided to check the parking garage. The only spot open was one at the yop of the garage with a girl standing in it on her phone who told me she was saving it for her friends. Well I was quite rude and a bit of a street kid at that age so I parked there anyway and she and I got into a verbal confrontation. My friend and I left and thought it was ovrr but later that same girl and her friends decided o track us down and start a physical confrontation. Thankfully no one was hurt or arrested and I realize now that we were both wrong. Im actually ashamed of how socially inappropriate my teenage self was.

  • Serena April 25, 2013, 2:55 pm

    I seem to recall seeing a clip on a website–I thought it was this one, but maybe not–in which a young girl (think late teens/early twenties) was doing the stand-and-save when a member of the local school board pulled up to that particular parking spot in her ginormous SUV. The lady in the SUV backed up, as if to look for another spot, then shifted into drive and accelerated directly at the young woman who was trying to save the spot. I don’t think the girl was seriously injured, but it was a fairly small area and the entire incident was caught on the store’s security cameras. I don’t recall if Mrs. SUV faced criminal charges, but she did end up having to resign from the school board–all because of a game of minesies over a parking spot. This woman was a supposedly respected member of the community–school board and all that. There are enough folks out there that tip the scales at just past psycho to make even the slightest acts of entitlement fall into the category of Definitely Not Worth It.

  • Tracy April 25, 2013, 3:03 pm

    As others have said, the fact that you had children with you was completely irrelevant. All that matters is that it was a legal space for you and you got there first.

  • LC April 25, 2013, 3:34 pm

    You were fine to park in the space – a car left, the space was available to the next person. But why did you keep justifying yourself using your children as the excuse? Whether you had children or not doesn’t entitle you to the space. You were there first, therefore, you got it. That’s how public parking works.

  • The TARDIS April 25, 2013, 4:30 pm

    WOW, entitlement much?! Parking spaces are available to whomever needs them at a given moment. Unless it is parking for a business with someone’s name on the space or a sign stating “reserved for ________ use only” it is first come, first serve.

    The nerve of that woman!

  • Drawberry April 25, 2013, 5:41 pm

    That lady was lucky she didn’t end up getting hit by someone turning into the parking spot.

    Aside from the obvious danger of planting yourself in a parking spot, no you where not rude. She was just a touch out of her mind.

  • Lexie April 25, 2013, 6:34 pm

    Unless she was saving that park for someone with a disability, then it’s first come, first served.

  • Marozia April 25, 2013, 7:42 pm

    Polite, but firm. Very well done.

  • JoW April 25, 2013, 9:22 pm

    Anyone who wants 2 parking spaces side-by-side needs to park in the far reaches of the parking lot, far from the entrance to the store or attraction. That applies if you are saving a space for a friend, driving an over-size vehicle, trying to avoid damage to your new car, or any other reason. If you want 2 spaces together take 2 out in the middle of no where, where there are lots of empty spaces.

    The OP did nothing wrong.

  • Katy April 25, 2013, 9:57 pm

    Unless the spot was a disabled spot, I don’t think that even the disability trumps first come, first served.
    And I’m speaking as the daughter of a disabled woman, and the granddaughter of one, whose father also went through a period where he used a handicapped placard. The disabled spots were there, and none of us have ever expected someone to give up their regular spot for us if the handicapped spots were filled. This has meant dropping my grandmother, who is a wheelchair, out in the lane in front of the store (she has a ramp, so it does limit where we can kneel the thing and get her safely out). It’s also meant my father, who at the time was in kidney failure and couldn’t walk very far, had to drive around for five or ten minutes until an acceptable spot opened up that he could lay claim to. If this was the case of a disability the young woman should give up her spot for her friend.

  • Sarah April 26, 2013, 12:19 am

    To echo everyone else, the lady was really rude. There’s no saving spots, especially in a full lot.

    That being said…

    It really baffles me that people fight so ferociously over something so intrinsically worthless as a parking spot. You can’t use it after you leave, and finding a “good” spot usually takes far more time, gas, and stress than it would to just walk from a “bad” spot. When I was little my mom used to circle in parking lots, sometimes ten times or more, until she got a spot as close as possible, under one of those scraggly parking lot trees. It drove me absolutely bananas.

    With small kids I can see parking on or near an “edge” of the lot so you don’t have to walk through potential traffic. But in most situations with a nearly full lot, you’re probably much better served just pulling into the first spot you see, as opposed to circling.

  • Seiryuu April 26, 2013, 10:00 am

    OP didn’t do anything wrong and is allowed to take that spot since the woman’s friend wasn’t there yet. That being said, OP should note down the woman and her car in case she happens to be one of those vindictive people.

  • delislice April 26, 2013, 10:47 am

    I’m reminded again how much less stress I have in my life by long ago setting a self-policy of simply taking the first parking slot I see. As another poster says, so far, walking hasn’t killed me.

    If I had trouble walking distances … I would apply for an H tag. But I don’t.

  • Enna April 26, 2013, 12:02 pm

    OP, you didn’t do anything wrong. You explained that you had children and you also established the reason why the other woman needed to have the space: you were polite and also considerate, I am sure if it had been an emergancy you would have left the space clear for her firend. As for children being immatrail to the equation I don’t think they are: depending on the cirucmstances of her and the space saver’s reasons having children or not could make all the difference.

  • Mary April 26, 2013, 12:08 pm

    I can’t see where you did anything wrong or were rude in any way.
    I have “saved” spots before – to a certain degree. Once at the hospital I had just parked and there was an open spot beside me and across from me and saw my brother at the light about to turn in. I called him and told him to come to Row X as there was an open spot. I did stand in the open spot to my left, but, I also would’ve given up said spot if a car had happened to pull up before he got there. I’m not going to get into an altercation over a parking spot. In fact my words to bro were “if you come to Row X there’s an open space beside me but hurry up before someone else gets here, cuz then it’s gone!” 🙂 If a car had come along I would’ve said “excuse me” and stepped out of the spot.

  • Michelle C Young April 26, 2013, 4:02 pm

    “Because my friend has jumper cables, and is going to jump-start my engine.” Pause. “Do YOU have jumper cables? Can you jump start my engine?” If the answer to either question is NO, then please find another parking spot.

    However, that is about the only reason I can think of where another person would absolutely HAVE to take that particular parking spot. Otherwise, it’s first come, first served.

    We are, of course, not talking about handicap parking spaces, here.

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