You finally find a spot in a packed parking lot and somebody's parked over the line so you can't fit. Or you've been waiting for someone to leave the lot and somebody pulls in to steal your claimed space. There are plenty of ways to be an asshole parker in this world, but few good ways to deal with them. Here's the best way to handle the situation.
Before You Do Anything, Calm Down
First things first, calm down and think about the situation rationally. You didn't get a parking spot. The world did not just end. When you're desperately hoping to get out of your car it can feel like you were robbed of a space you so rightfully deserve, but you don't. It's a parking spot, not your life. Sometimes it's best to just let it go.
Why? Because you don't know why another person supposedly "parked like an asshole." Sometimes, when you're waiting for a spot and they're coming from the other direction they won't see you waiting and pull in excitedly. In this situation you can politely ask them to move, as you were waiting for the spot, or you could just move on with your life. It isn't that important. Additionally, some people park over the line because the person next to them parked over the line. You don't always know what happened and why, even if it seems like the person was simply a sloppy parker. If you can assume the worst of people, you can take a moment to assume the best as well. That said, if you've surveyed the situation rationally and you feel you've got an asshole parker on your hands, you have a few other reasonable options.
Creatively Inform the Parker of Their Infraction
If you feel it's necessary to confront an asshole parker, it's important to remember one thing: you're potentially entering a confrontation with an irrational person. There are several ways that could end poorly, the worst of which is violence. It's unlikely you'll convince an asshole parker to change their ways in the moment, so your ideal goal should be to supply them with a message so they understand what they did wrong.
One of the best ways to do that is to leave them a message that both explains what they did wrong and is a little cathartic for you. Writing these messages take time and effort, so we recommend using a clever web site called You Park Like An Assshole (more info here). This site provides you with a printable ticket that you can quickly fill out and leave on someone's windshield. It lets them know precisely what they did wrong when parking and encourages them to visit youparklikeanasshole.com to learn more about how they can do better next time. You get catharsis, and they'll either be annoyed or actually, possibly consider that maybe their parking habits are frustrating to other people.
In Extreme Situations, File a Complaint
If you're in a parking lot, chances are it is privately owned by the neighboring store or another company with posted contact information. This means you have a means of filing a complaint. There's no sense in actually doing this when someone parks over the line just a bit or steals your spot because nobody will want to waste their time with such a situation. However, if you're handicapped and someone without a permit is in a handicapped spot, a car is parked in an unsafe manner, or you have some real cause for concern, it's good to remember you have this option. Just be sure you reserve it for extreme situations, or you're going to be the one who looks like the asshole.
This post was illustrated by me. We're giving Dana a break this week.