Parking? At Target? At Christmas???

parking jam

I found myself in the undesirable position of shopping on December 23.  It made me so stinking mad!

Discount the long lines at the register, the lack of percentage off on any item that I desired, and my inability to make a purchasing decision; I was already miserable because I could hardly get into the parking lot.

I started at North Hills Mall, a relatively new outdoor complex.  On the back corner is a Target.  I spend $118 there each week of my life.

I don’t know why, but every time I go, the sales clerk informs me that the total is $118.  Target is so sophisticated that I scan my card and sign that I agree to the purchase before the employee even finishes scanning my items, so I can’t back out of it.  Whatever the total, I’ve committed, I’m in.  And it is usually $118.

I believe that a polite regular customer like me should be able to call in advance and reserve a parking place near the front.  I mean, I’m there on a rainy Tuesday in February at 8:30 PM when no one else in the world is thinking about giving them $118.  Shouldn’t they stand by me two days before Christmas when I’m at my most vulnerable purchasing moment?

“Hello.  This is Danny Tanner, #118.  I’m tired, frustrated and in a hurry.”

“We’ll have your spot coned off.  Pull up right beside the basket return on row 2.”

It doesn’t have to be THE closest space, just top 20.

You’d think they’d offer that service.  But no.  I’m out there scrapping for an 8 foot by 12 foot space just like every other Tom, Dick and Harry – those damn dudes who haven’t graced the Target since last December.  It’s like the once a year church goers.  Where were you in July when the baby Jesus was 7 months old?

On the 23rd, I had to park six miles away from the front entrance.  Even the spots reserved for “Parents with Children” were taken.  I am a parent, and I have children.  None of them were with me, but I was gonna park there anyway – nope, it was minivan city, not an opening to be found.

In the parking deck, there were three great spots.  I approached all thinking I’d won the jackpot only to discover the sorry putz parked next door had crossed the painted line so far that there was no way to squeeze my mid-sized SUV in the space.  I was livid!  It is a time like this that I would like to put my car in park, get out and rake my house key down the entire driver’s side of the asphalt bogart’s vehicle.

And what is up with the “C” spaces.  Compact cars get priority?  I tried parking in one of those at Crabtree Valley but we all had to climb out the back hatch of the car.  That ain’t cool, especially if you’re on a date.

Oh, and what about the always open reserved spots for plug-in cars?  There is a 1 to 2,456 electric car to reserved electric car parking space ratio in the City of Raleigh.  I would love to park my car, hook it up to a gas pump, and come back in an hour with a free full tank.  What is up with that?

I finally found a space, well sort of.  It was half a space right beside the curb and the mulched evergreen border.  I parked two wheels on concrete and two on the greenery.  I have that same plant by my driveway, and you can’t kill it.  DJ backs over it daily and the stuff is a hearty as the day before she turned 16.

It ended up being fine, because I hadn’t jogged that morning.  I got my three miles in, did not commit vandalism and purchased everyone’s favorite candy.

Next year I’m gonna start shopping in February.  Anyone know the shelf life of Snickers?


Here come the judge…

I have an Adjudication Hearing coming up at the court-house in a couple of weeks.  I don’t even know what that is – it sounds horrible.  Apparently it is where a judge hears the evidence for my court case.

Yeah, I’m headed to court.  And I’ll go all the way if necessary – Roberts, Scalia, Ginsberg – get ready.  I may be on my way.

Two Saturdays ago, I drove to downtown Raleigh.  It was Winterfest, a street fair, and DJ’s accapella group was singing on the main stage.  I drove up Hargett Street and took a left onto Fayetteville Street.  Amazingly, I saw an empty parallel spot on my side of the road – prime real estate I thought.

I have a friend who recently informed me that she is a “lucky parker” – as if it was an innate talent, part genetic and part hard work on her part.  I, on the other hand, am not.

I am the one cramming a medium-sized SUV into the “compact only” spot because there are no other options.  I am the one following the old lady to her parking spot – where I wait, my signal turned on, my heart racing for fear someone is going to nab the space before I can pull in after waiting for her to methodically load each of her 13 bags into her trunk.   I am the one sitting there when she closes the trunk and heads back into the mall.  Her visit merely a way to lighten her load and torque my rear.

I’ll admit, I have occasionally, later in the evening, parked in the parent with young children spot at the Harris Teeter.  They don’t define “young” anywhere on the sign.  Michelle is “young” … compared to my mother’s children.

And I used to park in the “visitor” spaces at work – because there are six of them, and we don’t have six guests at one time.  But I don’t do that anymore because they sent an email out and said they were going to tow anyone parked in those spots if they weren’t a visitor.  How would they know?  Would they really sit out there an watch?

So I’m not gonna win the Parking Integrity Award, but I did NOT intentionally park in the “For Electric Cars Only Plugin” parking space!  I did not see it, honest.  Why?  I’ll tell you why.

ev space

This is NOT the space where I got a ticket – cause you can see this one!!

1) The plug station is six feet (I went back and measured) from the curb.  On one side of downtown, the plug stations are right at the space, less than a foot from the curb and there are two bright green barriers on either side to designated the spot.  But not on Fayetteville Street!  I could lay down and nap between this plug station and my car.  Furthermore, if someone did plug their car in there, the cord would dangle across six feet of sidewalk!  That is dangerous.  I can just see the old lady with 13 packages tripping over it and breaking a hip – and it’s all down hill from there.

2) It is about 3 1/2 feet tall and gray.  That is the same color and size of the credit card swipe machine that you use to pay for parking.  I didn’t use one that day because it was on the weekend and parking is FREE – unless they hide a plug-in space and charge you $50 for parking in it.

3)  It was surrounded by the following things:  A gray planter, a grayish tree, gray bricked sidewalks and gray bricked borders – a black light post and the actual parking credit card swipe machine (also gray).  In addition, it was surrounded by the 3,000 people who attended Winterfest – an inordinate number of them wearing gray I noticed.  For crying out loud, it’s in front of a gray building!

I backed in and got out of the car on the driver’s side walking directly down the street for a block or so before cutting across to the sidewalk.  When I returned to my car and pulled off, I noticed the white ticket on my windshield.  When I returned downtown to find the space I was in because I could not believe I actually had missed a plug-in station, I had to get out of my car because I couldn’t see the damn thing while driving by – even though I was aggressively looking for it – BECAUSE IT IS NOT VISIBLE FROM THE STREET!

Those Horses Behinds have declined my written appeal even with an extremely detailed explanation including height, width and distance measurements.  So now, I guess I adjuncticate.  And if that doesn’t work, I’m going to the City Manager, and then the Mayor and then the Governor and to Barack Obama if necessary!

Did I mention that there is nothing painted on the asphalt to designate a special space?

I gonna end up in jail.

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