Parking lot avengers: Heroes? Or douchebags?
A car found straddling multiple parking spots at a Maine Walmart felt the wrath of the public when someone took the opportunity to surround the offending car with shopping carts, thereby blocking it in.
Shopper Matthew Mills took the photo and posted it on Facebook with the caption: “This guy got a lesson in parking.”
Mills photo has gone viral — it’s been viewed millions of times and he has been interviewed by The Today Show. Many sites are calling the parking lot avenger a hero and saying that what they did was magnificent. And as much as we’d love to cheer with them and celebrate someone putting a bad guy in their place, we can’t help but wonder:
What if it’s the avenger who’s the asshole here, and not the parker?
We’ve seen a million of these kinds of pictures: someone comes across a bad parker and comes up with a clever way to exact their revenge on behalf of all of us conscientious parkers. Sometimes, undoubtedly, the owner of the car is, in fact, an enormous turd who is “protecting their car” and doesn’t car how many spots they take up to do it. And some of them are deeply satisfying when it seems clear that the driver was in the wrong.
But — what if they just learned that their mother died? What if there was an emergency and getting their car between the lines was nowhere near their top priority? What if there was snow covering the lines when they parked, so they took their best guess? Or what if, as Mills told ABC 13 News: “I was told it was an employee. It was icy and they (allegedly) slid into the spot this way and later found the carts arranged around their car.”
So this could have been a Walmart employee trying to get to work on time who slid on some ice and was either worried about trying to park it again or didn’t have the time to try? And they got out of their shift at frickin’ Walmart to find this?
Come on, people.
The idea of the “bad parking avenger” is great, to a degree, although some of us would never do anything like this to another person unless they had just run over our grandma. But why on earth would you go through all of that effort when you could be making someone’s bad day worse? Is it worth it to go viral and become a meme?
Once I parked right up against the line in a very narrow spot at a public library. I was taking my toddler twins to story time because I was depressed and they were two and I needed to get the hell out of the house. I wasn’t over the line, mind you, I was just right up against it in a set of narrow spaces — there was no way anyone in those spots could leave a whole lot of room for the next car. When I came out to my car an hour later, dragging my screaming kids, I found that someone had keyed my car — they drew a long, thick line all the way down the side from the headlights to the tail lights. I loaded my kids in the car, and I sobbed.
Sometimes, when another person pisses you off, that doesn’t mean you have the right to do something to hurt them back. Just because a stranger makes you mad — and even if they are completely in the wrong — that doesn’t mean you get to leave a nasty note, key their car, or surround it with carts. Sometimes that makes you the bad guy, not them. Not every slight and offense in the world deserves revenge. Sometimes, when you don’t know the whole situation, it’s better to think to yourself, “Jackass,” and keep moving. Sometimes it’s worth considering that sometimes everyone, even you, has done the wrong thing for an excusable reason.
So let’s stop being douchebags just to get a laugh or make someone else feel bad, ok? Cool.