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Why can't people park between the lines?

Posted by Peter Post  September 11, 2012 07:00 AM

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Parking.jpgMy wife and I pulled into a parking space yesterday and noticed that something was not quite right. The vehicle in front of us wasn't lined up with us. So I pulled back a little to see if perhaps I had not parked within the lines of my space. It turns out I wasn't the culprit; the truck in front of me was. He had managed to park with the left line of his space pretty near the middle of his truck. As I looked a little closer, I realized that half the truck was encroaching on a handicapped space.

Unfortunately, this isn’t a once in a blue moon type of thing. I see cars taking two spaces in a crowded parking lot on a regular basis. And I find myself wondering, “Why does that person think he/she deserve two spaces. Why can’t he/she park within the lines of one space like everyone else?” Worse yet, it seems I see more of these cars when the lot is crowded and finding a space is difficult.

Excuses abound. For instance, “The guy next to me was over the line so I am, too.” At least that’s what I suspect the truck driver would say, and if you look closely he would be right. Still, two wrongs don’t make a right. And that doesn’t absolve him of the fact that by parking the way he did, he still blocked a handicapped space from being used. Anyway, I often see a parked car taking up two spaces, and the cars on either side are appropriately within their spaces. So much for that excuse.

Are spaces too narrow in parking garages as owners try to eek out every last dollar? Probably. The parking garage in downtown Burlington, Vermont where I shop clearly has spaces that are narrow, but many people in cars of many sizes manage to park within the lines. And the car that is taking two spaces is just as often a smaller car. So much for that excuse.

The solution? There really is none. Some issues we encounter as we deal with each other are simply better ignored. So I drive on to find a space elsewhere, I hope. And wish that we all would be a little more aware of how our actions affect other people, even strangers.

This blog is not written or edited by Boston.com or the Boston Globe.
The author is solely responsible for the content.

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About the author

Since 2004, Peter Post has tackled readers' questions in The Boston Sunday Globe's weekly business etiquette advice column, Etiquette at Work. Post is the co-author of "The Etiquette Advantage in Business" and conducts business etiquette seminars across the country. In October 2003 his book "Essential Manners For Men" was released and quickly became a New York Times best seller. He is also the author of "Essential Manners for Couples," "Playing Through–A Guide to the Unwritten Rules of Golf," and co-author of "A Wedding Like No Other." Post is Emily Post's great-grandson. His media appearances include "CBS Sunday Morning," CBS's "The Early Show," NBC's "Today," ABC's "Good Morning America," and "Fox News."

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