A thread in the Coffee Break folder got me thinking about what happened a month ago. I went to our local organic/health food market to pick up lunch. It's a busy market, but I have always been able to find a parking space. The farthest are probably 200' from the door. The market has two or three handicapped spaces next to the door that are clearly marked.
There was a SUV in the handicapped parking space closest to the door. I looked for handicapped plates or a hang tag, and it didn't have any. A woman was unloading empty five-gallon jugs that go on water coolers from the backseat. Her very young daughter was standing next to the car.
I said, "Excuse me, Ma'am. You're parked in a handicapped space."
She said, "So?"
I said, "There are a lot of handicapped people who come to this store. They might need them."
She said, "Are you the police?"
I replied, "No."
She said, "You got a problem with that?"
I hesitated, but said, "Yes."
She seemed surprised by my answer, and turned back toward her vehicle and continued to unload her things, while saying that I needed to "mind my own business." I went in the store and grabbed lunch. My shopping trip took no more than five minutes. When I got to my truck, I called the police non-emergency number and reported the illegal parker. I didn't stick around to see if the police showed up.
My neighborhood has undergone gentrification, which picked up steam in the last ten years. Formerly cheap housing in a sketchy area of town has become desirable and trendy. I think that we have a culture clash of experience and expectations. We have a large population of disabled and elderly who actually need handicapped spots. Unfortunately we have a growing number of residents and visitors who seem to think of their own convenience first, often at the expense of others. This has resulted in free parking being converted to paid parking, and store owners engaging towing services for those parked illegally on their property. Handicapped parking abuse is rampant.
I could have gone to the store management, but stores have been unwilling to deal with this problem (I have reported it a couple of times in the past few years). I can understand their point of view: they don't want their patrons to feel uncomfortable, or they'll shop somewhere else.
How could I have handled this better? I was mad at myself for not thinking this all the way through. Should I have MYOB?