Sunday, March 29, 2009
Parking Lot Feng Shui
I have a thing with parking lots: some are great spaces and others stress me out. Perhaps my issue goes back to when I first started driving and hit a few cars in parking lots and in parking garages. I hate tight spaces in any form! Now give me a tight parking garage space with a parallel-parked car behind me and I’m done for. I have sweaty palms when I cruise down the slope that is the Corcoran Street parking garage in Durham and most Harris Teeter lots give me the chills. And now that I have a newish car (less than two years old), I’m hyper-concerned about where I park. My husband’s the same way. A year ago my husband’s company moved to a new location and Hubby didn’t like this parking lot. “It’s too hilly and the spaces are too tight.” He solved the issue by parking in the back and by parking in the last possible row.
I do the same thing and I really parked far away when I first owned my first new car – a 1996 red Mustang. I used to park it on the side, but then the other employees (and I knew it was them since we hosted very few visitors), but slightly ding my car. I remember taking it to the body shop almost every day. I stopped doing this when the body shop manager thought I had OCD, and instead parked my car in the back next to a Dodge Intrepid. My parking friend also didn’t want his car hit by reckless co-workers who had too many bags and papers to close doors properly.
So what makes a good or bad lot? A good lot has plenty of wide spaces and it’s flat. A bad lot has hills with tight spaces and multiple entrances. In other words, it has bad feng shui.
I think that where you park in a parking lot says a lot about you. You already know that I park far away from everyone else, but here’s a parking lot etiquette nugget I learned from a veteran saleslady when I just entered the job market after college. I was on this extended ad exec interview for a local paper in Charleston (I didn’t get the job) and she told me that we couldn’t park in the front by the store. “Why?” I asked. She said, “Because those spaces are for customers and we’re not buying anything. We don’t want to make the owner angry right off the bat by taking up his spaces.” And she was right. When I later interviewed at Belk for an assistant store manager position, I impressed the security guy who later told the store manager, “She knows something about customer service: she didn’t want to take up your customer spots. You should hire her.” And they did.
I’ve trained my son Daniel to look for spaces at the Y and have told him not to help me find the handicapped spaces. Unlike some kids, he never complains that we have to walk a certain distance to get to the front door since he knows that our car won’t get dinged the further we park and the more hemmed in we are by a median.