Outside our shop we have a forecourt which is intended for the use of our vans, delivery lorries and of course our customers – for the ease of getting glass into their vehicles without too far to walk. The road beyond that has parking restrictions enforced with a zero-tolerance approach, and beyond that road is the Royal Mail sorting office which has no customer parking of its own which all leads to people collecting parcels to use our forecourt.
I wouldn’t mind if they’d just ask but despite the big signs saying that it’s for customer parking only these people either assume it’s for customers of Royal Mail too or they just don’t care – I’d say it’s the latter. Maybe one in fifty will actually ask if it’s ok to park there for five minutes and to be honest as long as they’ve not parked in the way I’ll let them. The rest though just ignorantly, arrogantly abandon their cars on our land, often actually blocking the entrance completely. I have even witnessed two visitors to the Royal Mail park side-by-side in the sorting office entrance driveway, blocking it completely so that the delivery vans couldn’t get in or out.
As for our own forecourt invaders, they do it even when some of us are outside at lunch time, often looking at us with an expression of “what? I can do what I like” on their faces. We’ve even faced torrents of abuse from people who have blocked the entrance or access to our side gate and been asked to move, politely. “Oh, for f***’s sake, I’m only collecting a parcel, where the f*** am I supposed to park” they shout. Anywhere but where you have, without asking permission, would be the appropriate reply but by that time they’ve driven off loudly.
They could park in the nearby supermarket car park, or in the bays down the road but no, they might have to spend two minutes walking and that’d be tragic. Just today one old BMW driver took the biscuit – he parked up, again avoiding eye contact as if he hasn’t seen me he hasn’t had to ask permission. He then went and picked up his parcel, returned to his car and then sat, as many do, opening the parcel and inspecting the contents. What he did next though was unbelievable – he opened the bonnet (hood) of his car and proceeded to fit the items from his parcel into the engine bay of his car – so now we provide not just free parking but free garage space too. Finally tonight we were parking up the vans and a driver pulled up in our car park right where we were about to put a pickup truck “where can you park?” was again the plea. Ten minutes later she could have used our land as we’d have gone home but at that moment I directed her along the road.
It’s the same at home. Our building has eleven allocated spaces for eleven apartments and most evenings and at weekends a number of the spaces will be occupied by cars belonging to people who own houses on the adjacent street. They buy a house with no off-street parking, on a street with clearly signed parking restrictions and then think “oh, where can I park my car? I know, in that free parking next door.” The free parking that everybody in this building pays a premium on the rent for. These same neighbours are also the ones who think that our building’s communal rubbish skips are available for the overflow from their bins and garden waste too, oh and as with the work car park we provide free workshop space too as one neighbour used our car park, in fact the very space where my Citroen now resides, to replace the cooling pipes of his mid-engined MG-F. All without asking one person if it was ok to get coolant and other fluids all over our tarmac.
The sheer volume of people who exhibit this lack of basic manners, this sense of entitlement to park where they like is troubling. I was brought up with the maxim that manners cost nothing, yet today it appears that people seem to think that being polite costs them their very soul.