Tales From a Reformed Bad Parker

Parking Chaos Leads to… Zombies?

So, yeah, you return to your vehicle to find a yellow suitcase-looking-thing stuck to your windshield. It’s a WTF moment for sure.

Depending on who you ask, some argue that rules are critical to keep society from spiraling into chaos. Others think rules are oppressive and should themselves be outlawed. We must admit, it’s fun to think about what would happen if a future President said, “I’ve given it some thought, and I’m removing all laws entirely. You are free to do anything you want, any time you want. Have fun!

We’d stare at our TV screen as the wave of excitement washed over us. But six seconds later, that excitement would be replaced by “oh” when the first car alarm goes off outside, then a rock crashes through the window, and we realize we’re instantly living in an episode of The Walking Dead, minus the zombies.

At Barnacle Parking, we know just about everything there is to know about parking, because we hang out with folks who know parking: city managers, police, property managers and other fine folks. Oh, the stories they tell.

We don’t think much about it, but next to eating and sleeping, parking ranks up there with the activities we do most in our daily lives. Every time we drive – we park. And there are 268,000,000 registered vehicles in the USA.

So it goes without saying: parking is a problem.

I admit it: I’ve been a bad parker. I’ve parked in grass, blocked people in, parked in loading zones (“just for a minute”), taken the dean’s parking spot back in college, and even found a super-secret spot I thought was great – until the trash company returned with the dumpster and blocked me in.

No permit? No problem! I’ve driven over curbs to get into private lots, and even raced behind other cars when the garage parking arm goes up (which went badly more than once). I’ve hung things on my rearview mirror that looked like parking permits, overstayed my welcome in lots more times than I can count, and even put a concoction of chemicals on my tires so if they got chalked, it would dissolve away.

I kept a crowbar and dolly in my trunk and was able to lever-up a one-ton road divider permanently blocking a back entrance to a garage, and surreptitiously slid a dolly under it so I could swing it out of the way at my own convenience. My own private entrance! Ahh, the days before 24/7 surveillance and camera phones.

When I’d get ticketed–which was rather often–I’d keep the unpaid ticket and park in the same spot the next day, then put the same ticket under my wiper. That worked approximately 3 times. Then I’d return to find both the old and a new ticket under the wiper.

Growing Up

Today, I’ve matured. OK, not really. But I have recognized the error of my ways.

Here’s the truth: When I snuck into permitted parking areas, I took a space away from someone who paid to be there, and I inconvenienced them or made them late so I could be on time.

When I parked in a loading zone at my apartment complex, the delivery guys – who got up at 5 a.m. and loaded somebody’s new couch from IKEA onto their truck and then drove an hour –couldn’t make their delivery. And someone didn’t get their couch that day.

An untold number of times, I parked beyond lines or blocked road signs, creating actual roadway dangers for the hundreds–if not thousands–of drivers who passed in the hours I was in the bar library.

So yeah. I’m a jerk. I didn’t think I was a jerk at the time. I was only thinking about myself. But if you were one of the untold number of people I inadvertently inconvenienced or even put in danger over the years, if you saw me on the street that day, you’d probably give me a good Will Smith across-the-face.

And looking back, I’d deserve it. I was one seriously bad parker, man.

Save the Pepperoni!

Let’s face it: nobody enjoys being “caught”, called out, warned, or momentarily unable to drive away. And yep, in many cases, you’ve got to pay to release The Barnacle.

But let’s inspect the scenarios that led to one of our clients putting you into this predicament.

Being a reformed bad parker, I find some of the comments newbie bad parkers post about getting Barnacled to be outright hysterical. You see, in all cases, our clients who use The Barnacle® aren’t doing so on a whim. In many cases, those who get Barnacled already have multiple strikes against them. Not only did they partake in bad parking – they did it 3 or 4+ times, then didn’t pay any of the parking tickets.  And then they jump online and grumble about getting Barnacled? Uh, where are my TikTok’ers who post “Karen” vids? Bad parkers are Karens, so it’s oddball in this crazy world that they’d post a Karen video and also give a “like” to people complaining about getting Barnacled.

What about the hospital X-ray technician who parks up front in patient-only parking, then the old lady coming in for a procedure has to park in the back of the lot?

What about the exhausted family coming home to their beach condo rental after dining out, only to find the spot dedicated for their unit is occupied, and no other spots anywhere?

What about the guy who owns 4 spaces in the lot in front of his pizza shop, but every day, they are all taken up by day trippers who head up to the beach? Not only does he lose business, but the pepperoni is going to expire. Think about it: the pepperoni.

Most of you likely weren’t as prolific a bad parker as I was. You either made a mistake or pushed the limits in a time of need and got a parking ticket. Then you paid it. Lesson learned. You’re one of the good ones, so I can’t really let you join the bad parker club.

But as we think about those who are in the bad parker club, they may not be causing zombie-apocalypse-chaos in the streets, but they are in fact making life worse, or even causing danger, for the rest of us.

You may not have realized it until now.

Every day, bad parkers make you late.

Every day, bad parkers cost you money.

Every day, bad parkers inconvenience you.

Every day, bad parkers put you or your loved ones in danger.

Every day, bad parkers create problems, cost cities money, suck time away from others, and just generally throw a monkey wrench into the whole works.

So the next time you see that sexy flash of yellow splashed across a car windshield, remember, they got Barnacled to make things better for you.

Really. We mean it. We’re Barnacle. And we’re saving the world, one bad parker at a time.

Where do I go next?

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