Wednesday, September 30, 2009


Abuse of the handicapped parking spots is not uncommon. There was one guy, however, who seemed determined to use the spot he was not entitled to use despite the fact that it was already full.

See, one afternoon we had a woman who had just paid for her purchase come back into the store complaining that she couldn't get her car out because someone had parked in the way. She makes no mention of the fact that she's parked in the handicapped spot, just that someone had blocked her in. So I follow the woman outside.

To my surprise, she points right to our left. "That's my car," she says, pointing to the silver car in the closest handicapped spot. She had the handicapped plates and the little blue tag on her rear view mirror. "I can't get around this guy," she says, pointing to the other car.

I couldn't believe someone had the audacity to do this. An SUV was parked right in front of hers over the far edge of the fire lane in front of the store. No handicapped markings of any kind, just a big red SUV in the way. I took down the plate number and went inside. At the customer service phone, I got on the loudspeaker and made a request for the owner to come forward.

Two or three minutes pass, and no one comes up. In the meantime, I helped a couple people with simple questions, but I stayed at the front. One guy had a problem with a price that he wanted me to go check, but I sent one of the other cashiers to do it so I could stay up front with the woman. But the owner doesn't show up.

So I made the announcement again. The old woman says she is going to go out to her car to try again to get around him. But I knew that he'd completely blocked her in. I told her that if no one responded within five minutes that we'd call a tow truck.

When my cashier came back up from checking the price, I asked if she'd heard my page while she was on the floor. Maybe the speaker overhead speakers were too quiet or something? But she tells me she heard it just fine. I couldn't imagine who would ignore a page regarding their car. What if it had been smashed or was on fire or something? I made one more announcement.

Then, to my utter disbelief, the customer who'd been waiting on the price check finishes his purchase, picks up his bag, and goes out to the offending SUV without a word to anyone. No acknowledgment to the old woman, not even a glance in our direction. It was as though he believed he'd parked in the most legal spot there was and that whatever was going on had nothing to do with him. I'd been paging this guy for seven or eight minutes when all was said and done, and he'd been standing right there all along.

Shopping tip of the day for 9/30/09: The following are examples of proper places to leave a shopping cart once you've loaded your bags into your car:

1. If the store has a cart corral in the parking lot, that's where it goes. Most are no less than three or four cars away from you. Take the 15 seconds to walk it over there.

2. If the store does not have a cart corral, then you can leave it either in front of your car or along the outer edges of the lot. If there is a curb anywhere nearby, hook the front two wheels over the curb so that it doesn't roll into someone else's car by mistake.

3. If by some miracle you are one of those people who actually wheels the cart back to the front of the store, God bless you. I wouldn't ask this of customers in larger parking lots like supermarkets and malls and stuff, but for the smaller places it really does make a difference to us.

The following are examples of improper places to leave a shopping cart once you've loaded your bags into your car:

1. Behind the car beside you.

2. Behind your own car (I've actually seen this one along with the damage that follows).

3. In the middle of the street so that cars have to weave around it.

4. Haphazardly shoved into the bushes.

5. A different lot. Don't be taking a Walmart cart over into the Staples lot next door. If you know you're going to be making a large purchase that will require a cart, PARK IN THE LOT OF THE STORE WHERE YOU'RE MAKING THE PURCHASE!

6. The highway. Self-explanatory, really.

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