Violating parking etiquette

Last Sunday, I went for breakfast with some friends to a local eatery. In front of the restaurant are three parking spaces in a row that are parallel to the curb. One car was already parked but straddling two spaces. When I parked in the third spot, that meant that no more cars could park. This was the second time such a thing had happened at that same restaurant. This kind of thing really annoys me and I vented about it to my breakfast companions.

A person who parks that badly is either (a) an incompetent driver who does not know how to park and needs to go back to driving school; or (b) utterly oblivious and unconcerned about their surroundings and what they are doing; or (c) (most likely) deliberately parking that way so that no other car will park near their precious vehicle.

It turns out that this kind of lousy parking arouses ire in a lot of people, not just me. Here is a compilation of notes left on the windshields of people who have violated parking etiquette, with varying levels of aggressive language.

What is interesting is that such acts are so common that some people seem to have preprinted messages to leave on offenders’ windshields,

This person took the trouble to chalk a message.

It is hard to tell if it will change such behavior. People who are inconsiderate tend to not respond well to their faults being pointed out.


  1. Bethany says

    You live in Cleveland. I’m not sure some of these people ever had roads explained to them, much less parking spaces.

  2. sonofrojblake says

    I once watched a woman in a Mazda MX-5 drive into a parking space at my local supermarket.

    I mean, I say I watched her drive into it… the front wheels were in it. The rest of the car remained protruding into the roadway round the car park. There was nothing else in the space, there was plenty of room on both sides, and she didn’t appear physically or mentally disabled in any way, and yet she just… stopped. I would estimate she’d done about 10% of the job of parking. Then she got out of the car and walked off into the shop. I just stood there laughing and shaking my head. And, since it’s the late 2010s, taking a photo of her efforts and posting it on Facebook. Two dozen people had “liked” it before she’d even left the shop.

    I’ve concluded that there’s little you can do to stop these people that doesn’t look like a police state. And if there is, it will take DECADES to enact. In the UK at least, we managed to successfully turn driving drunk from something inevitable, to something illegal, to something regarded as totally socially unacceptable, but it took a long, long time. Smoking around other people appears to be headed the same way, but it’s taking years. Anti-social parking doesn’t kill anyone, usually, so it’ll be a harder sell.

  3. John Morales says


    I’ve concluded that there’s little you can do to stop these people that doesn’t look like a police state.

    So parking regulations with prescribed penalties and their enforcement thereof, look like a police state to you?

    (To me, they look like a policed state)

    Funny signs and marking and FB postings aside (they’re rather passive-aggressive, but safe), only ordinances and enforcement can ameliorate the problem.

  4. johnson catman says

    I think the ones that get my goat the most are the ones who park in the Fire Lane right in front of a business because they just can’t be bothered to walk a few steps. My opinion is that they should be towed immediately and fined a large amount.

  5. Jenora Feuer says

    I like the alt text on that xkcd.

    (The text reads, “Police reported three dozen cheerful bystanders, yet no one claims to have seen who did it.”)

  6. naturalcynic says

    Back in the day when the finish on cars wasn’t so good, a big X or PIG on the driver’s side door made with a key seemed appropriate.

  7. says

    It’s worst when you park next to them so you don’t use up more space than needed and then they drive off and now it looks like you’re the guilty one.
    Oh, and parents doing the school run. I swear they have no shame.

  8. Dago Red says

    I simply carry around a couple of these in my trunk. Then when faced with an exceptionally rude violator of parking etiquette, I boot their ass and toss away the keys, leave a scathingly sarcastic note explaining why (with a couple of local locksmiths numbers listed for their convenience), and then go about my business. Its a bit of an expensive hobby, but then again, I don’t have a daily coffee addiction, so I figure I can afford this bit of vigilantly justice.

  9. RationalismRules says

    Apparently in Russia there’s something of an epidemic of asshole drivers driving along the sidewalks in order to bypass stopped traffic. A pedestrian counter-movement has arisen who have carry large printed stickers that they stick to the windscreen to block the driver’s view so they can’t continue driving. I gather these are very difficult to remove.

    I think of them every time I see some lazy asshole park in a disabled parking space because “I’m only going to be a couple of minutes”. I think they would also be very effective against the ‘shitty-parking’ brigade.

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