A quick list of things not to do while searching for a parking spot this (and every) Christmas season before we delve into our list:
- Do NOT be a jerk and park in a handicapped spot. Don’t pull into the spot for even a second. Not even to turn around. Just don’t do it.
- Those for expectant mothers, strollers, or people with children spots…if you have no moral issues against it, go for it. It’s not the law, it’s only a strong, sign-based suggestion.
- Do not be that person who pops their four-way-flashers on and blocks half the lane.
- Don’t be a curb crawler or slide into the taxi stand…all you’ll get foul looks, if you’re lucky.
With that out of the way, here’s a guide to the different types of parkers you’ll find over Christmas, their corresponding song, and a description of their thought process.
The “I’m in no rush” Parker
Theme songs: Patience (GNR); Slow ride (Foghat); The Waiting (Tom Petty)
Take a deep breath and put on some good music, because chances are that you’ll be a while...and you know what? That’s entirely okay because finding a parking spot in December is a marathon, not a sprint. As you roam the aisles looking for that primo spot that you probably won’t get, keep calm and celebrate with a smile whenever you reverse into that elusive parking spot.
The Tech-savvy Parker
Theme song: Mr. Roboto (Styx)
Behold, the power of the internet! Well, at least for those shopping at Square One. I’ll leave this gem here and let you choose how you harness its knowledge and power:
(Spoiler alert: It’s Square One’s colour coded real-time map that gives you a rating of “Plenty, Moderate and Limited” parking spot availability)
The Delegator (non) Parker
Theme song: Drive My Car (The Beatles)
As Homer Simpson said in his campaign for Sanitation Commissioner, “Can’t someone else do it?”
Yes, someone else can do it. And those people are at the valet section of the parking lot, where for a fee, someone else does the parking while you coast in and out of the mall with the fewest steps possible.
The “Can I get a ride?” (non) Parker
Theme song: Call Me (Blondie)
Don’t call me specifically (although I suppose you could if you wanted to, my number is on the masthead) but call someone to drop you off and pick you up. Flip them a few bucks for a coffee while they wait. Or if you’ll be a while, they can go home and come back. They could even go to your home if you’re feeling extra thankful for them sparing you searching for a parking spot. Don’t have anyone who’s interested/able to help? Call a company that you give money to in exchange for a ride. Want to save on transportation costs? Take MiWay, which will bring you to multiple spots surrounding the mall.
The Lucky Parker
Theme song: The Gambler (Kenny Rogers); Some Guys Have All The Luck (Rod Stewart)
It’s always a gamble trying to find that primo parking spot. I’ve had this happen once. At Yorkdale. In 2008. I know the exact date (Saturday, December 20th). I know the exact time (12:45). I was with Laura, who I picked up from Yonge and Eglinton and we went Christmas shopping for a gift for my lovely mother (we got her a bible) and even though parking at Yorkdale on the last Saturday before Christmas ranks just below hand scrubbing the kitchen floor (or trying to fold a fitted sheet pre-internet days), guys will do the silliest of things for the one they’re dating.
I did my usual “start closest to the doors and weave my way to the back” routine and there it was, the absolute closest spot to the doors just before I started my parking pilgrimage. I’ve told the story tens of times, mostly to people that have already heard it already.
If you’ve been lucky enough to have scored parking gold, call me. I will happily hear your story and congratulate you…perhaps even buy you a coffee. Buy a lottery ticket on your way out of the mall if this happens.
The NASCAR-inspired Parker
Theme song: You Spin me Round (Dead or Alive)
Here’s where you channel your inner NASCAR driver and drive in circles looking for a parking spot. Like a hawk or shark circling your prey, you’ve decided which group of parking spots you want and you won’t rest until someone’s reverse lights appear with you close by to reverse in. Even though there’s not a single person walking towards a car in your target area, you’ve mentally committed to this area and nothing will deter you. Be prepared to share the same values as the patient parker.
The Follow-You-To-Your-Spot Parker
Theme song: Every Breath You Take (The Police); Walk This Way (Aerosmith)
This Police song, whose lyrics state “Every move you make, every step you take, I’ll be watching you," was an easy choice to pair with this type of parker. And that’s what you’ll do the moment you see someone shuffle out the doors and trudge towards their vehicle, most likely with a bag or few to show for their efforts. You’ll slowly creep behind them and hope that they have a spot somewhere close so the awkward moment won’t last too long. The easiest way out of this is to politely ask them “would you mind if I followed you to your car? It’s so hard to find a spot here.” Chances are if your delivery is sincere and you smile, the walker will let you know where they’re parked. It’s our Canadian politeness that’ll shine through.
The unfair advantage Parker
Theme song: If Everyone Cared (Nickelback)
In short, these are the folks that team up with a spotter. This doesn’t score marks on the ethics scale but I’ve seen it done before so I’ll include it but I don’t endorse it. Have someone (preferably someone you know) stand at the top level of the parking garage, get them on the phone (only if you have Bluetooth or a hands-free device) and have them find you a spot from above.
I know, I know, unfair advantage with “eyes in the sky, feet on the ground” and really, it’s only a few minutes of a walk from the furthest parking spot to the doors.
The non-Parker, as in, don’t do it at all
Theme song: Home for a rest (Spirit of the West)
Remember that mighty power of the internet a few points ago? You can use that same power to buy most of the items that a bricks and mortar mall has. But you’ll be missing out on Michael Bublé's silky smooth voice as it echoes through the speaker system of your favourite mall.