War Zone At The Supermarket – Parent Parking
Parent parking. The bloody bane of my life, now that I’m a parent.
Rant ahead. Lots of swearing. Be warned!
So we’ve just pulled into Morrisons car park to get some groceries. Car park is rammed, bloody typical, and any ‘normal’ spaces available are useless because of the dimwits who’ve parked pathetically in the adjacent spaces.
Let’s try the parent and child parking… roughly translated as ”lets wait for half an hour for some lazy (childless) fucker buying beer for the lads, or a (childless) smartly dressed middle aged woman, or a group of (childless) teenage girls who’ve sat in their car eating their lunch oblivious to the fact that we. Need. To. Fucking. PARK.”
(The memory of the teenagers eating their lunch still makes me twitch with rage!)
Preferably, without damaging other car doors getting Max out of his car seat.
Preferably, with a safe space to put our baby son into his pram.
Preferably, SOON so that his next feed doesn’t clash with our shopping.
For fucks sake!
What do people not understand about parent and child parking!?
Parent. And. CHILD. CCCCHHHHIIIIIIILLLLD.
It’s rare that I ever go shopping without overhearing a heated argument between a family trying to park, and someone who has pulled into a parent and child space without any children. The issue is turning supermarket car parks into war zones, and to be honest, I openly admit to confronting people for it too. I don’t think that its right or fair to abuse these spaces, and I’m not ashamed to admit it.
Yeah, call me a ‘Social Justice Warrior‘, whatevs.
But surely, I’m not the only parent who gets wound up by it?
Toby absolutely despises it when I give the arseholes a sharp side-eye, or a not-so-subtle comment about their invisible child. He refuses to allow me to take the number plate to customer services to ask them to move, or pass the info on to the parking company because they can enforce a PCN.
He’s the ‘live and let live’ kind of guy, whereas I don’t hold prisoners and if I feel that something is wrong, I speak up.
The more people who stand by and don’t say something, the moretimes these cheeky childless bastards will continue to nonchalantly use these spaces.
Would I be called a social justice warrior if your car got dinked by a toddler flinging the car door open or a mama struggling to get a baby out in a normal space?
Would I be called a social justice warrior if a buggy got knocked over because there simply isn’t enough room or visibility in the normal spaces?
Would I be called a social justice warrior if, god forbid, a child got hurt or even worse?
‘We didn’t have these silly spaces back in the day, how did the older generation cope?!’
EYE. FUCKING. ROLL.
Invalid and irrelevant.
Cars have become bigger. We have many times more cars too, increasing the risk of errant children being hit by one in a car park. Car insurance premiums are insane in this day and age, so the prevention of accidental dinks by toddlers flinging doors open is quite an attractive prospect.
It doesn’t matter if society got by without them before; that’s redundant. What matters is that they are here now, and intended to be used a certain way. They are a lifeline for parents, not for opportunists or people too lazy to walk across the carpark.
Oh, and if you have a child but are running into the shops alone whilst your friend, partner or older child watches your little one… you do. Not. Need. To. Park. There. No children are exiting or entering the vehicle therefore it is perfectly safe to park in a normal space. Common sense.
“It’s a choice to have children, why does it make you a priority?”
There are SO MANY things wrong with this statement.
First off, no one is talking of priority. The crux of the matter is safety for the next generation of tax payers, workers, and leaders. I don’t give a shit where I park as long as my child is as safe as possible.
Secondly, yeah, having kids is a choice (sometimes). However, this redundant and quite frankly facile statement doesn’t take into account that people will always procreate. It is vital to the continuation of our society and species. So yeah, people aren’t going to suddenly stop popping out sprogs because some ignorant folk think parent parking is stupid. Sheesh.
The supermarkets choose to offer it. It shouldn’t be abused; funnily enough, its usually those who aren’t directly affected who have something negative to say. Have a kid, then come back to me.
The Mail on Sunday actually wrote an article about this topic very recently here;
“Culprits may argue it’s not exactly the crime of the century, but their behaviour leaves families fuming and could even put young children at risk in busy car parks.”
(MOS, Johnathan Bucks and Mark Wood)
The Mail on Sunday set up at various supermarkets and covertly monitored the parent and child parking; at one Sainsburys alone, a reporter spotted parent parking being abused more than 30 times in one single day.
One motorist, alone, had a 30 minute nap in a parent and child bay. I honestly have no words other than; seriously, what the fuck is wrong with people?!
Off the back of the MoS investigation, representatives from various organisations spoke out in defence of parent parking;
- Claire Paye, Mothers at Home Matter spokesperson; “…these bays tend to have protective walkways, which is so much safer than trying to walk through a busy car park.”
- Rob Parkinson, CE of Home Start-charity; “…wider parking spaces for families and people with disabilities are really important.”*
People who were confronted by reporters threw back weak excuses such as ‘my car is expensive and I don’t want it to get damaged…’. Well, love, you didn’t have to choose such a huge and expensive motor. Don’t inflict your poor choices on other people.
Another pointed to nappies in his trolley before driving off. As I said above, if your kids aren’t entering or exiting the vehicle, you have no justification. ‘My kids inside the shop!’ is another piss poor excuse I’ve heard, and is usually a barefaced lie.
With so few of those caught abusing the spaces admitting they’re at fault, and offering up truly ridiculous and infuriating excuses, is it any wonder that the supermarket car parks are a war zone?
Ok, so on the grand scheme of things, we have many more pressing matters to be worried about other than parent parking…
However, the point I am making is one that I feel needs to be made more.
Common sense, courtesy, manners and conscientiousness are woefully lacking in these times of self-centredness, self-serving, and apathy.
The world doesn’t revolve around parents.
However, if I was writing demanding that people don’t park in the ‘best’ normal spaces and save them for parents, that would be shitty.
That would be ‘entitled’.
I’m not. I’m writing to ask that people use these specifically reserved spaces for the purpose they are intended for, because they make life safer and less stressful, because you can easily park elsewhere and allow a stressed out mother to get her children in and out as safely as possible. Unless you hold a disabled badge and there are no disabled spaces of course, as you can legally park in parent spaces then. ?
There needs to be an improvement in enforcement.
The enforcement of these spaces is too ambiguous, and inconsistent. Some supermarkets will enforce a PCN (Parking Charge Notice), but these a notoriously easy to challenge, and cost the supermarkets more than its worth to chase through the courts system so the majority of the time, the supermarkets don’t bother.
Thank goodness – soon there could be a (actually enforcable) £25 fine for people misusing these spaces. It’s unclear when or who will be responsible for enforcing them but it has been speculated that councils will be. Read more here.
I know that many people will disagree, even some parents. That’s fine, there will always be differing perspectives, especially considering this topic is relatively controversial.
Sigh. What can we do other than continue to complain until we’re blue in the face? I looked for petitons to sign regarding this, and they’re all closed… ignored, disregarded, apart from one which I’ve included below. To me, this shows that the issue at hand is beimg swept under the carpet by those with the power to help us, and help protect our babies.
As someone who feels strongly about this, I’ll be writing to my MP to see if there is a way forward other than a petition that will most likely be ignored. I’ll also be writing to the main supermarkets to see if they would support a move toward legislation and placards for parent parking.
It may seem pedantic but when it comes to children, it’s worth anything to improve their safety.
Here’s to hoping that this time next year, abuse of parent parking is no longer an issue, and that supermarket car parks are no longer a war zone, but a far easier place to navigate with a young family.
Lets hope the planned £25 fine comes into force!
Thanks for reading. What do YOU think about parent parking? What do YOU think about the proposed £25 fine? Let us know in the comments!
Love from Katie. Xx