One mum's crusade to stop the offenders ...
I have four questions about parent and child spaces at supermarkets:
- Aren’t they meant to make those frazzled family trips to the supermarket just that little bit easier?
- Has using parent-and-child parking bays become one of the most stressful parts of doing the family shop?
- Have the bays, which are located close to supermarket doors, encouraged a free-for-all that leaves parents angry and exasperated?
- Does anyone else find that shoppers sans kids, hog the spaces, regardless of whether they have young children with them?
In my mind the answer to these four questions is, yes.
The best I’ve seen is where people think they can park there because their vehicle is carrying a child seat but without their child, or when the children inside are teenagers rather than young kids.
While permits govern the use of disabled spaces (and rightly so), there are no regulations which set down who can park in parent-and-child bays.
In the UK, supermarkets such as Tesco and Sainsbury’s, threaten to use fines of £50 or more to punish those caught by attendants using the bays when they do not have young children although I’m unsure of how they enforce it? I’ve not seen any signage in Ireland to reflect this.
The signs that I have seen promoting these parking bays, do not stipulate a cut-off for the age of a child in the car but surely people would use their common sense and honesty, eh?
While it may seem a trivial matter for those without children, the availability and use of parent and child spaces in supermarket car parks is often a sore subject. Designed with extra room around the car, these spaces are there to offer those with small children the extra room they need to load both their offspring and shopping into the car without breaking their backs, or damaging the cars parked next door.
However, thanks to the generous room on offer, and the fact that they are often conveniently located near the entrance of the store, parent and child parking spaces are often abused by lone shoppers looking to get in and out as quickly as possible.But Why Break the Rule?
I think that the abuse of parent and child spaces is based on a number of factors, not least of which was the weather. As soon as the heavens open, shoppers look to get out of the rain quickly.
The location of parent and child spaces within a car park also plays a factor. Most of the time the bays are located adjacent to the entrance.
So I am a mum on a mission.
It may have actually be become an obsession! The first time I did it, I grabbed a piece of paper and pen from my bag, scrawled an angry handwritten note, and placed it in under the drivers wiper. I didn’t wait around for the driver to return to the car I was so nervous but I did feel like a parking vigilante in UGG boots for the rest of the night! I felt like I’d scored one for all the parents who’d been forced to struggle with getting a car seat out of their car in a normal sized space in the lashing rain with two other kids in toe, and I hoped that the person whose car I’d posted on had been thoroughly ashamed of themselves.
Today… I’ve stepped it up and have decided that small handwritten notes are no longer enough. I now have brightly coloured A4 pages printed in my boot and whenever I see a solo person taking up a space, they get one slid underneath their windscreen wiper!
Why should some people be allowed to take advantage when everyone else is abiding? If a supermarket is specifying that a space should be for parents and their children then someone should enforce the rule. And if they don’t, then I will. If I had my way, I’d shame them over the PA system in my local shop.
“Would the owner of the red Mercedes please return to the car park and move their lazy bum and their car out of the parent and child spot to a less selfish parking space please?”
That way, everyone in the shop would be waiting and watching to see who runs, red-faced, towards the door to move their car and balance would be restored.
Unfortunately the misuse of parent and child spaces will remain largely a moral
rather than legal issue and I’m not directly suggesting that you too take up my obsession and print and keep a bunch of signs in car, but at the same time if we all stand together and make a point about FOLLOWING THE RULES, people would have to listen.
Wouldn’t they? What do you think?
Kindly written by an Anonomous Family Friendly HQ reader/fan