Saturday, September 30, 2006

Car park rage

What irritated me this afternoon was driving into Secret Sainsburys at Holywood Exchange, carrying my wee daughter across to the waiting trolleys and lifting her into the seat.

While struggling to do the buckle up (and wondering if it was worth it) a flash-looking two-door car came to a halt beside the trolleys. The window on the driver’s side smoothly rolled down and a middle aged woman tipped a still-burning half finished cigarette out the window and onto the ground about a metre or so from my feet.

What possessed me to yell “Litter lout” at the fast closing window, I don’t know. It was instinctive, stupid, and did no good as it wasn’t heard. She’d put the car into gear and turned sharply into an empty parent and toddler parking space – the one closest to the store’s main door. She and her female companion got out, and sauntered into do their shopping.

While there was a car seat in the back of the car, there was no child in it. Maybe the seat was being used as an ashtray and was full up?! Maybe she was so used to having a child with her that she automatically pulled into the space without realising? But I doubt it.

When I got out of the shop about 20 minutes later, their sporty car was still there. Short of bringing fake Sainsburys-branded notices saying “Next time you park here inappropriately you’ll be clamped …” there’s not a lot anyone can do.

On a busy Saturday afternoon, she’d no thought for those around her. And no thought for the anger that she was stirring up inside those witnessing her loutish behaviour.


Anonymous said...

Alan, don't feel bad at shouting 'litter louts' at the dirtbags. More people should. Couple of years ago, I was walking across the carpark at Connswater, where McDonalds is. As I passed a car, the passenger window was wound down and the remains of two meals, incl. two half-full cartons of coke, were chucked out almost hitting my feet. I could easily have picked them up and hurled them back in. It was one of those will-I/won't-I moments. I erred on the side of cowardice, but it would have been worth it for the triumphant five seconds before being run over or beaten up. Really hate litterbugs, esp. the parents who do it in front of their kids.

Anonymous said...

while this woman's clearly very annoying.. the rise of the 'parent-and-child' parking spaces is even more so. there's absolutely no reason for them

Alan in Belfast (Alan Meban) said...


Given how distracted a parent gets with a wee one yelling, a trolley to unpack, and tightly packed cars to negotiate a trolley past to get to the boot, I’m sure many people - and their insurance firms - will be glad set aside a small number of spaces with wider spacing between them to prevent the otherwise inevitable prangs and scrapes from trolleys.