I wouldn't think we would need a manual on this subject, but experience today has proved me wrong. Parking lot etiquette is evidently not always a built in commodity, meaning that what strikes me as common sense doesn't ring true universally. Let me break down my experience in the Target parking lot to give you a visual on what I'm talking about.
Today I walked out of Target into a beautiful, 70 degree Memphis day. The parking lot was neither full nor crowded, and I had a decent parking spot about 6 or 7 aisles back. As I was walking out, two small girls and many shopping bags in tow, a minivan began following closely behind me. I think, "This person is probably just going very slowly to give me plenty of time to get my cart load of kids and purchases safely out of harms way." Umm, not quite. I reached my car and pushed the cart safely out of lane and began the process of transferring everything from cart to car, when it suddenly became clear this minivan was actually going to wait for my spot.
This took a second to process. I stole a quick glance at the rest of the parking lot to confirm that there were indeed parking spots EVERYWHERE, but there the van stayed, clearly seeing that I hadn't even begun to unload my considerable cargo, yet still making the choice not only to wait, but to block traffic in both directions in the process. It didn't take long to realize, right or wrong, the only choice I had was to launch into immediate action.
I grabbed Adrienne and locked her car seat into place, before lifting Marianna and her blue icee into the car with instructions to do her best to buckle the top car seat buckle, all the while using my peripheral vision to spot the backup extending out into the front of the store. I then rushed to the back and began throwing my bags in as quickly as I could grab them, slammed the back door shut, and ran (and I'm not using that as a figure of speech) to the nearest cart parking spot and back again, weaving in between the cars that were being forced to wait from the other direction. I jumped in the front seat only to discover that Marianna was unable to get herself and her icee situated successfully, forcing me to turn around and do the whole buckle in process from the driver's seat. I sat down, buckled my seat belt, wiped away a drop of sweat, and maneuvered my car out of my spot and into the now extensive parking lot jam. The minivan pulled calmly into my spot as I drove away, counting the empty spots as I passed them.
Was this malicious? I seriously doubt it. All I can think is that it was a serious breach of the unspoken parking lot rule that says never, under any circumstances, wait for the parking spot of someone who is single handedly loading up a full cart and two children into her car unless it is the day after Thanksgiving or the week before Christmas. There are no other exceptions =).