Author Topic: Confronted handicapped parking abuse  (Read 10881 times)

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perpetua

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Re: Confronted handicapped parking abuse
« Reply #30 on: January 22, 2014, 09:22:05 PM »
Also, I think cultural differences come into play here - in most places in the UK and Australia it is not uncommon for strangers to call people out if they think they are doing something wrong.  I have noticed from the USofA posters that, that is usually considered a huge no-no there.

Very good point. Here we don't generally subscribe to the 'it's rude to tell someone they're out of line' train of thought. Depends what it is, obviously.

LifeOnPluto

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Re: Confronted handicapped parking abuse
« Reply #31 on: January 22, 2014, 09:27:55 PM »
I'm really torn on this one.

On one hand, I agree that it's not a good idea to confront the person because:

1. You might be engaging the crazy;

2. The person might actually have a handicap that's not easily visible; and

3. Depending on how you confront the person, it might come close to "scolding another adult in public" (which I know is frowned on, on these boards).


But on the other hand, I also agree that it's galling when people just get away with doing the wrong thing, because no one is willing to call them out. I bet if 10 people had confronted the woman in the OP's situation, she would have parked somewhere else! I also think that a simple friendly question "Excuse me, do you realise you've parked in a handicapped spot?" is not rude.

I agree with Sunny Girl and Perpetua, you did the right thing by questioning her.  You were polite and reasonable while doing so, even if the mother didn't take the point, the young daughter might and she might have enough influence to change her mothers mind.

If enough of the general public stand up for people who need the handicapped parking spaces, then we may make a difference.

Also, I think cultural differences come into play here - in most places in the UK and Australia it is not uncommon for strangers to call people out if they think they are doing something wrong.  I have noticed from the USofA posters that, that is usually considered a huge no-no there.

I'm from Australia, and agree with this. (Although it can also vary from city to city - in my Home City, it's very usual to call people out. In my Current City (Canberra), not so much).

shhh its me

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Re: Confronted handicapped parking abuse
« Reply #32 on: January 22, 2014, 09:32:30 PM »
POD. I confront/call out people who are abusing disabled spaces sometimes (my mother who's had walking problems for decades always used to do the same), just as I do/would call out witnessing racism or homophobia. I don't do it in an aggressive way, or where the situation might be unclear, or in circumstances where it might put my own safety in danger, but for me as an activist speaking up against abuse is important. And I agree, I think that etiquette rule relates to calling out non-harmful faux pas, not calling out actual abuse.

"All that is necessary for the triumph of evil is that good men do nothing."

But how do you KNOW 100% for certain that the person is NOT disabled?  Appearances can be deceiving.  Is the possibility that they MIGHT be perfectly abled really worth harassing someone with an invisible disability like Fibromyalgia, Chronic Fatigue, or early stages/some forms of MS?

How do you KNOW for certain that they just haven't put their tag up?  How do you know they just keep it in their purse or wallet until it's needed to prevent other drivers of the vehicle from misusing it?  How do you KNOW for certain that they keep it put away until the days they ACTUALLY need it so as to not abuse the privilege themselves? And should they really have to deal with you harrassing them over a parking space?

Isn't it honestly better to just let the police sort it out?

I'm not advocating misuse of parking spaces.  I'm advocating going through the right channels.  The woman was wrong to misuse the parking space.  But it is more wrong to confront her without knowing her personal situation and without being absolutely 100% certain that she was not disabled (and not being her dr or someone who knows her well -or at all- means you simply do not have that information).

And honestly, the possibility of a situation escalating is rarely worth it.  No one has ever thought 'gee, I must be a jerk' from being confronted by a stranger.  Anyone who is enough of a jerk to misuse a parking space is not going to walk away feeling embarrassed or thinking 'I'll never do that again'.  They will walk away thinking "Gee, what a nosy [redacted]".

Very rarely are people inclined to examine or change their behaviour based on interference from a stranger they are never likely to see again.

You can speak up to friends and family, but confronting a stranger is rarely the correct thing to do in terms of both etiquette and safety.

Also, calling rudeness "evil" is a slight overstatement.  This hardly falls into the category of homophobia or racism.

Sunnygirl is in the UK, as am I. As we have both stated, if the person is not displaying their blue badge on the dashboard while parked in the space, they are not entitled to use that space. End of story.

If they have an invisible disability and a blue badge, then they are displaying the badge while parked in the space and all's well, no need to question it. 

If I left home without my badge, I couldn't park in the disabled space. I would not be entitled to. Even though I have a visible disability and use two crutches. Doesn't matter. I need to be displaying my badge.

So, here, it's pretty easy to tell, and the issue of 'but they might have an invisible disability' doesn't tend to come up. Invisible or visible, you still need to be displaying your badge from the second you pull into that space.

but this thread is talking about someone still with the car with a door/the trunk open.  She hadn't left the car yet.  Its a small point and while I agree its unlikely she had a hang tag , she also didn't say she didn't and her answers could read " I have a placard and I'm sick of busybodies asking me about why I'm in this spot"

We have 2 types of handicapped tags one the hangtag can not be displayed while the car is in motion, so it can not be displayed until a car is parked and the person retrieves it (from purse , glove box , above vision etc) I believe while not 100% correct if the hang tag is on the dashboard the car will not be ticked (the hangy part can tear)

OK, but we're talking about the general concept of confronting abusers, not just the original situation in the OP. Sunnygirl and I - who have both said we would confront and it wasn't rude to do so - are both in the UK where under the rules of the blue badge scheme, it must be displayed while you are parked in a disabled space *at all times*. Hence our position, and hence the fact that it's generally easier to tell if someone *is* abusing the space.

Our badges aren't displayed while driving either - you generally pull into the space then place them on the dashboard straight away, before you get out of the car even to get things from the boot etc (and I don't see why the lady in the OP couldn't have done that if she did have a placard). It's the first thing I do when I've parked up. We also have to display a little cardboard clock thing which tells the parking inspectors what time we arrived.

Still talking about the OP.....

OP never said "do you have the right to park here."  ,  I would take  much less issue with " Mam , if you aren't aware this is a handicapped space.  Maybe you forgot to put up your placard....if you don't have the right to use this space....."


I could be mistaken but I think not properly displaying a hang tag is not the same as not having the right to use disabled parking.

perpetua

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Re: Confronted handicapped parking abuse
« Reply #33 on: January 22, 2014, 09:38:15 PM »
Snipping the quote tree, because it's getting a bit too long.


Still talking about the OP.....

OP never said "do you have the right to park here."  ,  I would take  much less issue with " Mam , if you aren't aware this is a handicapped space.  Maybe you forgot to put up your placard....if you don't have the right to use this space....."


Yes, that's probably the way I'd approach it if I was going to do so. I presumed that was the feeling that the OP was trying to get across.


Quote
I could be mistaken but I think not properly displaying a hang tag is not the same as not having the right to use disabled parking.

Ah, see, here it is. In order to park in the disabled spaces you must be displaying your blue badge, or at least that's what the rules say in the booklet that comes with it.  So, mine lives in the car in the little pocket in the driver's side door and it's the first thing I do when I park up. I wouldn't even get out of the car without putting my badge up. The invisible disability thing, therefore, rarely comes up. If you've got an invisible disability, and you're a blue badge holder (which means you're entitled to use the spaces), then just display your blue badge correctly and nobody's going to question it. Whereas someone who 'may' have an invisible disability and parks in a disabled space and isn't displaying a blue badge, whether because they forgot to or don't have one - well, you're outta luck.

shhh its me

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Re: Confronted handicapped parking abuse
« Reply #34 on: January 22, 2014, 09:42:22 PM »
Also, I think cultural differences come into play here - in most places in the UK and Australia it is not uncommon for strangers to call people out if they think they are doing something wrong.  I have noticed from the USofA posters that, that is usually considered a huge no-no there.

Very good point. Here we don't generally subscribe to the 'it's rude to tell someone they're out of line' train of thought. Depends what it is, obviously.

Just my opinion but I think in the US we have small groups of people who are very vocal and harass people* and people who are very much MYOB and not a lot of middle ground.

*I mean people shouting at people with hang tag "you're too young to be disabled.  how dare you park there, if you weren't so fat you could walk* or handing woman cards referencing rape and how they are dressed , telling blind people with a cane "get your *** dog out of here"  protesting funerals etc. 

Knitterly

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Re: Confronted handicapped parking abuse
« Reply #35 on: January 22, 2014, 10:06:03 PM »
Knittterly, what's with the caps? We get it and you've been here long enough to know that if you must emphasize use italics. Please stop yelling at us.

I am extremely embarrassed that my post was perceived as yelling.  I intended nothing of the sort.  I was trying to emphasize the question of knowing vs assuming.

I have edited my post to remove the capital letters and replace them with a more appropriate emphasis.

OP never said "do you have the right to park here."  ,  I would take  much less issue with " Mam , if you aren't aware this is a handicapped space.  Maybe you forgot to put up your placard....if you don't have the right to use this space....."


I could be mistaken but I think not properly displaying a hang tag is not the same as not having the right to use disabled parking.

This is what I was trying to say.  shhh its me said it more concisely than I did.

I do apologize very sincerely for my inappropriate capital lettering.  However, I do stand by what I said.

The original poster said:
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 therefore made an assumption that since the driver did not have a placard in place (either yet or at all), she was therefore not entitled to use the space.  In this case, it was a correct assumption.  I was trying to communicate, though, that it was an assumption nevertheless.  It may just well have been an incorrect assumption.

The fact is, one cannot possibly know that another person absolutely is or absolutely is not disabled unless one is quite close to the other person.  There are so many situations where a stranger on the street cannot possibly know.  And therefore, it is always best to err on the side of caution and politeness and not go confronting people based on our own assumptions - which may just as easily be wrong as they may be right.

Since there is a phone number one may call, it seems to me to be the more polite route to allow the right people to sort out whether someone is using a spot rightly or wrongly.  Complain to the store, complain to the police... but it seems wrong to me to confront a complete stranger before you are 100% sure of the situation.

I cannot help but think of this thread, which shows the other side of the coin.
« Last Edit: January 22, 2014, 10:21:08 PM by Knitterly »

jaxsue

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Re: Confronted handicapped parking abuse
« Reply #36 on: January 22, 2014, 11:04:01 PM »
I don't see the issue with what the woman was doing, since there are multiple handicapped spots at the store and she was right by the car unloading things.  Had a person come along who needed the spot, they could have either taken the other handicapped spot or asked her to move.  Parking and going away from the car is, to me, very different from actively unloading stuff and being right there and able to move the car.

I disagree strongly. The law is the law, and only those with handicapped placards or tags can be in those parking spots. Those spots are not there so an able-bodied person can unload things, or for any other reason. I spent 1/2 of 2013 with a handicapped placard, and am grateful to not need it anymore. Abuse of these parking spots is rampant, and unexcusable at that.

Otterpop

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Re: Confronted handicapped parking abuse
« Reply #37 on: January 22, 2014, 11:17:57 PM »
I don't see the issue with what the woman was doing, since there are multiple handicapped spots at the store and she was right by the car unloading things.  Had a person come along who needed the spot, they could have either taken the other handicapped spot or asked her to move.  Parking and going away from the car is, to me, very different from actively unloading stuff and being right there and able to move the car.

I disagree strongly. The law is the law, and only those with handicapped placards or tags can be in those parking spots. Those spots are not there so an able-bodied person can unload things, or for any other reason. I spent 1/2 of 2013 with a handicapped placard, and am grateful to not need it anymore. Abuse of these parking spots is rampant, and unexcusable at that.

The handicapped parking spots are not "loading zone" spots.  If that use was acceptable, there'd be constant flow of people using them for "just few minutes" while they load their cars.  What would be the point of actually reserving them for the handicapped?  Furthermore, even if you can move your car, you are still inconveniencing someone by making them wait or ask you to move from a spot you don't belong in the first place.

In my area it is forbidden to park if you don't have a placard in full view.  Police actively enforce this with tickets or towing.  My teen drivers are taught accordingly.  (It's a BIG no no).
« Last Edit: January 22, 2014, 11:20:03 PM by Otterpop »

Psychopoesie

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Re: Confronted handicapped parking abuse
« Reply #38 on: January 22, 2014, 11:35:29 PM »
My mum has a handicapped tag because of mobility issues. I use it when I'm driving her to appointments or taking her shopping. Sometimes I drop her off first, then go hang out for a handicapped parking spot. The permit here goes on the dash and is easy enough to overlook. No one's confronted me about parking there so far thankfully - as a healthy looking person using that spot, I've often felt self-conscious about it even though I knew I was in the clear. I'd be embarrassed and somewhat offended if some stranger came up and started questioning me about parking there.

Misuse of the spots makes me really really really livid. There is no excuse. One of the local news blogs captured a lot of bad parking pics over the years, many with I tagged cars sitting in handicapped spots. The worst were of a local politician who was caught on more than one occasion parking there in her official car (her name was blazoned all over it). As far as I know she got off scot free which makes me burn.

However, I agree with knitterly - if I had any doubts about someone's right to park there, think it's best to take a pic and report it to the relevant authorities. Because I might be wrong and cause unneeded distress. Or the person might be a nasty piece of work and react violently.

Tabby Uprising

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Re: Confronted handicapped parking abuse
« Reply #39 on: January 22, 2014, 11:57:31 PM »
Snipping the quote tree, because it's getting a bit too long.


Still talking about the OP.....

OP never said "do you have the right to park here."  ,  I would take  much less issue with " Mam , if you aren't aware this is a handicapped space.  Maybe you forgot to put up your placard....if you don't have the right to use this space....."


Yes, that's probably the way I'd approach it if I was going to do so. I presumed that was the feeling that the OP was trying to get across.


Quote
I could be mistaken but I think not properly displaying a hang tag is not the same as not having the right to use disabled parking.

Ah, see, here it is. In order to park in the disabled spaces you must be displaying your blue badge, or at least that's what the rules say in the booklet that comes with it.  So, mine lives in the car in the little pocket in the driver's side door and it's the first thing I do when I park up. I wouldn't even get out of the car without putting my badge up. The invisible disability thing, therefore, rarely comes up. If you've got an invisible disability, and you're a blue badge holder (which means you're entitled to use the spaces), then just display your blue badge correctly and nobody's going to question it. Whereas someone who 'may' have an invisible disability and parks in a disabled space and isn't displaying a blue badge, whether because they forgot to or don't have one - well, you're outta luck.

But even so, I don't understand the point of confronting someone about their lack of a visible badge.  Unless one is in the position to actually ticket an individual, what is one hoping to accomplish?  If they forgot the badge, they forgot the badge and are subject to getting a ticket by the proper authority, but forgetting the badge doesn't somehow eradicate the need for a close parking spot.  It won't make the disability go away or the pain associated with it.  So when they are confronted by a stranger, even if it's couched as a friendly, "Hey, don't forget you must display your badge to park there" kind of reminder, what are they supposed to do? They have a badge. They forgot the badge. They are in pain.  They can't make the badge reappear out of thin air.  They can't make their disability or pain disappear.  So, what's the objective here? 

I'm trying to imagine this scene. My elderly FIL with Parkinson's is at the store to pick up some medications.  He has a handicapped placard, but has forgotten it this trip.  A stranger prowling around his car tells him, "You aren't displaying your badge therefore you have no right to park here. You can get a ticket." What do they want him to do?  Get back in his car and drive further out into the parking lot to hunt for another space and walk all the way back to the store?  Drive all the way back home and get his placard? 

Sure, by the letter of the law he needs to have the badge to park there without getting a ticket, but ultimately from an etiquette perspective I wouldn't feel like I'd done something helpful by publicly shaming this person.  And if I go the friendly "don't forget" route, odds are the person is already aware of the fact they need the placard and have forgotten it. 

It just feels like a confrontation that wouldn't yield anything but self-righteousness on one side and defensiveness on the other.  Who has benefited from this confrontation? Who did it help? What did it change?

MsMarjorie

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Re: Confronted handicapped parking abuse
« Reply #40 on: January 23, 2014, 12:26:26 AM »
^^
Tabby Uprising - the OP confronted a fairly young woman loading things into her car, which was a signal that this was a healthy person.  If most people and, I'm sure the OP. saw an elderly man with obvious mobility issues, she or most people probably wouldn't have even noticed it.  I don't think anyone is playing "placard police" but simply asking an obviously healthy person, using the space as a loading dock if they are aware that other people might need that space more.

starry diadem

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Re: Confronted handicapped parking abuse
« Reply #41 on: January 23, 2014, 01:54:39 AM »

She was rude to misuse the space.  You were ruder to confront.  Isn't it often said here that calling out rude behaviour can be just as rude?

I disagree, and I really wish this 'rule' would just die. Calling out minor etiquette violations in the sense of pointing out when someone's using the wrong fork and embarrassing them in the process? Rude, of course.  Calling out someone deliberately behaving like a jerk? I don't subscribe to the theory that this is rude, and perhaps if people did it more (politely, of course), people wouldn't behave like jerks so often.

Amen!  I can't understand where this rule came from or why it's subscribed to with such fervour. I won't permit someone to behave rudely towards me without challenge, although I will do my level best not to be rude in return. If I allow others to ride roughshod over me because etiquette says I can't tell them they're being rude, then etiquette is telling me to be a doormat. I don't do being a doormat well.
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perpetua

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Re: Confronted handicapped parking abuse
« Reply #42 on: January 23, 2014, 04:38:38 AM »
Snipping the quote tree, because it's getting a bit too long.


Still talking about the OP.....

OP never said "do you have the right to park here."  ,  I would take  much less issue with " Mam , if you aren't aware this is a handicapped space.  Maybe you forgot to put up your placard....if you don't have the right to use this space....."


Yes, that's probably the way I'd approach it if I was going to do so. I presumed that was the feeling that the OP was trying to get across.


Quote
I could be mistaken but I think not properly displaying a hang tag is not the same as not having the right to use disabled parking.

Ah, see, here it is. In order to park in the disabled spaces you must be displaying your blue badge, or at least that's what the rules say in the booklet that comes with it.  So, mine lives in the car in the little pocket in the driver's side door and it's the first thing I do when I park up. I wouldn't even get out of the car without putting my badge up. The invisible disability thing, therefore, rarely comes up. If you've got an invisible disability, and you're a blue badge holder (which means you're entitled to use the spaces), then just display your blue badge correctly and nobody's going to question it. Whereas someone who 'may' have an invisible disability and parks in a disabled space and isn't displaying a blue badge, whether because they forgot to or don't have one - well, you're outta luck.

But even so, I don't understand the point of confronting someone about their lack of a visible badge.  Unless one is in the position to actually ticket an individual, what is one hoping to accomplish?  If they forgot the badge, they forgot the badge and are subject to getting a ticket by the proper authority, but forgetting the badge doesn't somehow eradicate the need for a close parking spot.  It won't make the disability go away or the pain associated with it.  So when they are confronted by a stranger, even if it's couched as a friendly, "Hey, don't forget you must display your badge to park there" kind of reminder, what are they supposed to do? They have a badge. They forgot the badge. They are in pain.  They can't make the badge reappear out of thin air.  They can't make their disability or pain disappear.  So, what's the objective here? 

I'm trying to imagine this scene. My elderly FIL with Parkinson's is at the store to pick up some medications.  He has a handicapped placard, but has forgotten it this trip.  A stranger prowling around his car tells him, "You aren't displaying your badge therefore you have no right to park here. You can get a ticket." What do they want him to do?  Get back in his car and drive further out into the parking lot to hunt for another space and walk all the way back to the store?  Drive all the way back home and get his placard? 

Sure, by the letter of the law he needs to have the badge to park there without getting a ticket, but ultimately from an etiquette perspective I wouldn't feel like I'd done something helpful by publicly shaming this person.  And if I go the friendly "don't forget" route, odds are the person is already aware of the fact they need the placard and have forgotten it. 

It just feels like a confrontation that wouldn't yield anything but self-righteousness on one side and defensiveness on the other.  Who has benefited from this confrontation? Who did it help? What did it change?

First, I would never confront an elderly person or someone with an obvious disability like Parkinson's and certainly not someone with a combination of the two. You're missing our point here. It is usually fairly obvious when someone is using a disabled space inappropriately, at least here under our blue badge rules it is. Perhaps it's different in the US if you don't need to put the hangtag in place until you actually leave your car to go off shopping, I don't know. A big section of offenders is the 'just popping to the cashpoint, nobody will mind' crowd, for example. They are usually very obvious. (disabled spaces in UK supermarket car parks are usually closer to the cashpoints than any of the others)

Second, I guess I'm not understanding why your father in law in the hypothetical situation above doesn't just keep his placard in the car. (I took mine out yesterday because I needed to renew it online so needed the badge number but otherwise it lives in the car so I *don't* forget it. I must remember to put it back in there today before I go out or I wouldn't be entitled to use the spaces and that's just my hard luck if I forget.)

Third, what are we hoping to accomplish? Awareness, for one thing. It's not all about 'getting people into trouble'. Parking in these spots when you are not entitled to do so is.not.okay. And some people genuinely don't realise that and think it *is* OK for short periods, like the 'popping to the cashpoint' example above. Nobody's going to ticket them in the two minutes it takes to do that. That doesn't mean they should get away without having this pointed out to them.

perpetua

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Re: Confronted handicapped parking abuse
« Reply #43 on: January 23, 2014, 04:59:47 AM »

She was rude to misuse the space.  You were ruder to confront.  Isn't it often said here that calling out rude behaviour can be just as rude?

I disagree, and I really wish this 'rule' would just die. Calling out minor etiquette violations in the sense of pointing out when someone's using the wrong fork and embarrassing them in the process? Rude, of course.  Calling out someone deliberately behaving like a jerk? I don't subscribe to the theory that this is rude, and perhaps if people did it more (politely, of course), people wouldn't behave like jerks so often.

Amen!  I can't understand where this rule came from or why it's subscribed to with such fervour. I won't permit someone to behave rudely towards me without challenge, although I will do my level best not to be rude in return. If I allow others to ride roughshod over me because etiquette says I can't tell them they're being rude, then etiquette is telling me to be a doormat. I don't do being a doormat well.

A good example of this is the queue jumper. If someone jumps into a queue in front of me I am going to politely say 'Excuse me, there's a queue'. If they don't move and go to the back of the queue, I *am* going to walk around them and re-take my place in the queue because sorry, just no. I'm not going to stand there and say/do nothing because calling them out or drawing attention to what they did is 'rude'.

Good general topic for another thread perhaps, so as to avoid derailing this one.

Redsoil

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Re: Confronted handicapped parking abuse
« Reply #44 on: January 23, 2014, 06:22:26 AM »
I think that the women who incorrectly parked in the space may think twice before doing it again.  If so, then that's time well taken to remind someone of what's appropriate. 
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