On the 4th Day of Christmas Grievances, the stores gave to me……………4 Traffic and Parking Lots snarls….!
With Christmas shoppers being Day 3 of Grievances, it is only right to make Traffic and Parking Lot snarls the Day 4 honoree. It is something we run into, whether Christmas shopping or not.
Traffic levels and snarls begin even before the Thanksgiving holiday, but starting with Black Friday, they increase exponentially. This is the result of the “good” shopping areas featuring strip malls and regular malls being located where other town services might be………restaurants, small stores, specialty shops, and even exercise facilities. Invariably, traffic snarls will increase from the Christmas shoppers hitting the stores.
Traffic begins to back up blocks before getting to a store, the result of cars entering “left turn lanes” and then having to wait for the light to signal green. Other cars seeking to turn left simply stop in the road, waiting to enter the left turn lane, stalling traffic.
Try to get into the right lane and continue on, forget it. That lane will be blocked for two reasons:
- Cars in those lanes will not let you in if traffic is flowing.
- Cars trying to enter the left lane and then move to the left turn lane, stopping all traffic from moving in both lanes.
Once you get into a parking lot, your problems are not over, rather they have just begun. The first job upon entering the lot is to try and find a parking place.
The only available parking will be at a distance, with some slots opening up from people leaving. And that creates its own problems. People will drive up and down the aisles just looking for a place close to the store. If they see a vehicle’s back up lights glow, then they will stop and wait for the place to open up, even if it takes 10 minutes. Meanwhile, other cars are backing up behind them, making matters even worse.
Then you have the people walking to their cars with their shopping carts. Do they pay attention to the traffic? Hell, no! They walk right in the middle of the parking aisle, preventing cars from continuing with their own search for parking. Then, of course, there will be those drivers who decide to follow the people to where they parked in hopes of getting a space closer to the store.
If you are lucky enough to spot a parking space, the race is on. There will be others who have spotted it and will try to beat you to it. Only with good fortune, do you manage to get the spot.
Find the spot you want and begin to pull in, and surprise! There are one or two shopping carts in the way that must be moved. People have left them there, even though a cart return area is only a few yards away. People just cannot be bothered to put the carts in designated areas, so you or someone else in your car must handle that.
Things do not end when you have found that perfect spot to park and then gone into the stores shopping. There are surprises waiting when you return to your car. They begin as you approach.
Cars on each side of you have left to be replaced by others. But, as before, they have not returned their carts, but have instead left them between cars blocking your way, so you must move them to enter your own car, if you are lucky. If you are not lucky, the cars have been parked so close to you that your doors have been dinged and the paint chipped or small dents created.
Now it is time to leave and you must run the same gauntlet to get out. Carts in the aisles, people walking down the middle of the aisle and other cars stopped and waiting for people to back out so they can grab a closer space.
No friggin wonder I hate shopping this time of year.
Congratulations to Traffic, Parking Lots, and the people in them. You are Day 4 of the 12 Days of Christmas Grievances.