I wrote this 3 years ago.
Unfortunately, it seems to be an issue that is never going to go away.
“Symbols are simple. The reason we use symbols is to avoid misunderstanding. They transcend languages and general capabilities, allowing for easy communication.
Universally, red means stop and green means go. We know which toilet to use because of the shape of the symbol on the door. We can understand symbols on road signs, on advertisements, on everything. But there is a verrrrrry special breed of person who has great difficulty in understanding a certain symbol…the parent and baby parking symbol.
This one seems to cause great confusion.
MORE than once upon a time (unfortunately), I have witnessed a seemingly fit and healthy 20-something male, bounce from his car and pop into a local supermarket. There were plenty parking spaces in the massive car park. The weather was perfect for a little amble from car to shop door.
He had absolutely no sign of child in his well kept Golf and he wasn’t pregnant, as far as I could tell anyway. And yet, he felt the need to park in the space.
Now, maybe he wasn’t taught symbolism very well in school. Or, maybe he was taught it too well by one of those wonderfully talented teachers who taught him how to see hidden meaning and to think outside the box. In this case, the box is the very clearly lined parking space, and his metaphorical musings probably allowed him to interpret the blatant symbol as “a space for people who hope to one day have sex and make a baby in the future, so save your energy for the action and don’t walk unless you have to.”
Or maybe, he’s just an entitled plank.
Either way, I followed him, tutting disapproval and shaking my head. He saw me. He carried on, probably wondering why the crazy lady was glowering at him. I was angry. I was furious and I was quite happy to let him know it.
But, I didn’t.
When someone doesn’t see that this is wrong all by themselves, it seems that explaining it to them would probably a waste of breath.
He upped his speed and moved away from my disapproving glares as fast as his non swollen ankles could carry him. And I carried on into the shop, getting over the episode by the time I reached the meat section.
Then, I returned to my car. Non-pregnant man’s car was still in the parking space. Another car had just parked in the one beside it and out popped a middle aged lady and her daughter. Now, granted these spaces are reserved for Parent and Child, but when your child is in her late teens, you’re taking it a bit too far!”
It’s as relevant today as it was three years ago. And it’s something that is getting worse. It seems that some people have simply been brought up to disregard the needs of others. I recently posted about a similar experience on my blog. It seems that most of my followers have witnessed similar events. And it’s NOT simply young men who abuse these spaces. It’s men and women of all ages. Discrimination is indiscriminate it seems…
What really surprised me was the fact that some people will defend themselves passionately.
There is a section of society who truly believe that they are every bit as entitled to park in these spaces as the lady who is 8 months pregnant and whose pelvis is threatening to fall around her ankles with every painful step. Some fully believe that if they are “only scooting in” quickly, then it is perfectly acceptable to make the Dad with the buggy and the toddler park at the other end of the carpark. And there seems to be some misconception that just because you drive a fancy newish car or jeep, then you are more entitled to the wider spaces. Saves your doors being bumped you know? Never mind the woman with the actual bump who can’t park there now because of you.
This is an issue that is ongoing. It happens EVERYWHERE, every day. It happens in Wheelchair spaces too. Despicable…
How can we stop it? Well, short of waiting for our legal system to step in, the only hope we have of removing the dismissal of the importance of these spaces is if the supermarkets become proactive and begin clamping or fining (or whatever is in their power on their property) to deter people from parking their lazy arses in these spots.
If it isn’t something that bothers you, chances are you’re the twat who’s parked in that space.
It’s simple. Do you have a Baby in your car or in your Belly? No? Well park somewhere else. Simple as a symbol really.
(There is currently a petition circulating started by Niamh at The Mammy Blog which will be shared with major supermarkets. If it’s something that grinds your gears too, go sign it.)