How to walk to your car in a parking lot: A public service announcement


There’s a problem I’ve noticed over the years since I first got my driver’s license.  It’s ridiculous, rampant, and totally uncalled for.  It doesn’t have as much to do with driving as it does walking, but I consider it a road-related  issue.

People don’t know how to walk in parking lots.  They have this “pedestrian has the right of way” mentality that has inexplicably warped into a strange sense of entitlement and devilish pleasure in making you the motorist yield to their ambling nonchalance.

Below, I have an illustration (thanks to Google Maps) of the new Market District parking lot in Robinson.  Please take a moment to study & understand before you move on to the next paragraph.

How to walk across a parking lot.
WALK IN A STRAIGHT LINE, NOT AT AN ANGLE.

I get worked up about this quite easily (obviously I guess), and my thoughts are all over the place…  so I’ll try to make my points concise with the aid of a bulleted list.  (I have blogged about this before too, if you find that you need further reading.) I really would like to start a discussion on this in the comments if you’re so inclined.

  • When there’s a cross-walk on the ground, use it. I understand that the crosswalk isn’t a magical safe-zone, and that jaywalking laws are rarely enforced in Southwestern PA… but it’s there for a reason;  So you can move across the road in an organized and quick fashion in a designated spot.   Yes, the parking lot is a potential mine-field of car vs. person vs. shopping cart accidents, but you can help minimize the danger by using cross-walks… and drivers will know exactly where and when to have a heightened awareness.
  • Walk in a 90° angle (or close to it if at all possible) when crossing the road. This may seem stupid, but if you look at my beautiful illustration above… you can see that a person walking a green path would move across the road much more quickly than the same person walking at the same speed using a red path.  Using the green path reduces wait time (and thus aggravation) for the driver trying to get into or out of the store.
  • Walk one one side or the other of each row. The beauty of this one is that you have a choice.  You can walk on the left or the right.  JUST. DON’T. WALK. DOWN. THE. MIDDLE. These are the  most annoying people.  There’s typically room for two cars to pass each other when moving in opposite directions, and a little extra walking room in most parking lots.  When you walk right down the middle of the aisle, you make all of this room disappear.

Focusing mostly on the middle-of-the-lane walkers, but also on the anglers, and the “too cool for the crosswalk”-ers, I’d just like to comment on the types of people that I believe they may be.

First, there are the truly oblivious.  I believe this to be the smallest sect of the parking lot meanderites.  I think some people are just really not all that aware of their surroundings, and have no comprehension of the havoc that they wreak around themselves.  (Arguably,  stopping time in a parking lot is not exactly “wreaking havoc”, but it sure bites my ass.) These people are just like Mr. Bean, and since Mr. Bean is somewhat of a lovable character, I can forgive these people.  If you know one of them, please tell them about parking lot urgency.  If you don’t know one of them… walk more quickly, in straight angles, in designated areas, and close to the cars in parking lots.  (Because you are one of them.)

Then we have category #2.  The entitled. They’re a pedestrian.  They always have the right of way, and that’s it.  In their minds, anyway.  I’d like these people to see what Pennsylvania law has to say

Title 75 of the Pennsylvania Consolidated Statutes, contains the laws which govern the operation of vehicles on Pennsylvania roads.

Chapter 35: SPECIAL VEHICLES AND PEDESTRIANS
Subchapter C: Rights and Duties of Pedestrians

Section 3541. Obedience of pedestrians to traffic-control devices and regulations
(a) Traffic control devices.—A pedestrian shall obey the instructions of a police officer or other appropriately attired person authorized to direct, control or regulate traffic.

(b) Traffic and pedestrian-control signals.—Local authorities by ordinance may require pedestrians to obey traffic and pedestrian-control signals as provided in sections 3112 (relating to traffic-control signals) and 3113 (relating to pedestrian-control signals).

Section 3542. Right-of-way of pedestrians in crosswalks.
(a) General rule.—When traffic-control signals are not in place or not in operation, the driver of a vehicle shall yield the right-of-way to a pedestrian crossing the roadway within any marked crosswalk or within any unmarked crosswalk at an intersection.

(b) Exercise of care by pedestrian.—No pedestrian shall suddenly leave a curb or other place of safety and walk or run into the path of a vehicle which is so close as to constitute a hazard.

and…

Section 3543. Pedestrians crossing at other than crosswalks.
(a) General rule.—Every pedestrian crossing a roadway at any point other than within a crosswalk at an intersection or any marked crosswalk shall yield the right-of-way to all vehicles upon the roadway.

(b) At pedestrian tunnel or overhead crossing.—Any pedestrian crossing a roadway at a point where a pedestrian tunnel or overhead pedestrian crossing has been provided shall yield the right-of-way to all vehicles upon the roadway.

(c) Between controlled intersections in urban district.—Between adjacent intersections in urban districts at which traffic-control signals are in operation pedestrians shall not cross at any place except in a marked crosswalk.

(d) Crossing intersection diagonally.—No pedestrian shall cross a roadway intersection diagonally unless authorized by official traffic-control devices or at the discretion of a police officer or other appropriately attired person authorized to direct, control or regulate traffic. When authorized to cross diagonally, pedestrians shall cross only in accordance with the signal pertaining to the crossing movements.

And the best part…

Section 3552. Penalty for violation of subchapter.
Any pedestrian violating any provision of this subchapter is guilty of a summary offense and shall, upon conviction, be sentenced to pay a fine of $5.

Interesting, no?  I’m not sure if these apply any differently in a parking lot, as it’s probably private property… but I’d love to see an officer out there passing out $5 tickets for every butthole who steps boldly out in front of a moving car with the incorrect assumption that “pedestrians always have the right of way”.  Why not?  I mean, they’re cracking down on parking in the South Side after years of chaos.  Is this any less ridiculous?

The third and last group?  The spiteful. They know you’re anxious to get by, but they don’t care.  They derive pleasure in knowing that you’re most likely impatiently waiting to move forward at a speed that actually registers on your speedometer, but that they alone have the power to prevent that from happening.  Maybe they had a bad day and want to pass along the crappy karma.  Maybe they have a controlling spouse, boss, or family member, and this is how they lash out.  This is the group that turns to look at you, but continues to walk down the middle of a driving lane instead of moving to one side so you can get by.  This is the woman that stops mid-stride and mid-lane to dig through her purse for her car keys while you idle and boil.  This is the group of teenage boys that walks 4 wide and dresses “hard” like they from the streets thanks to mom’s credit card and Journey’s or Hot Topic.  This is the wide-angle walker who sees you approaching, but instead of walking straight across the lane quickly looks straight ahead in their “5 rows over from where they started” path.  They’re also the ones who let you follow them down the echelon of filled  of parking spaces during the holiday shopping season, and cut over to the next row or put bags in their car and proceed to walk right back where they came from without giving you the courtesy wave-off or  the universally understood over-exaggerated mouthing of “I’m not leaving” while shaking their head and pointing or waving their arms.  I suspect that they’re also the people who double-dip, don’t flush public toilets, and kick puppies.

That should just about cover it.  So please, pass this along so we can all get on the same page.

Giant Eagle Market District | Educating Yinz Guys N’at


At the new Market District in Robinson, I laugh every time we go in the side door by the cafe & I see this sign:

PRETTY PLEASE! (with a cherry on top) USE MAIN ENTRANCE ←with a cart― NOT THE ROTATING DOOR

sign for the special sort of Yinzer...

In case you can’t read it (or see the photo), it says this:

PRETTY
PLEASE!
(with a cherry on top)
USE MAIN
ENTRANCE

withacart
NOT THE ROTATING
DOOR

Yeah.  Apparently people need to be told things like this.  It makes me want to try to squeeze a cart through the rotating door and see if anyone reprimands me.  They certainly don’t when you have more than the accepted quantity of items in the express line.  How far will they go to keep the customer happy?

Score! Free movie passes…


If you read my recent rant about going to the movies, and then read my email to & the response from the theater, they you knew this was coming.  But, it’s cool that they’re actually here.  After the last response, I did reply via email to Mr. Wilson:

From: Eric Carroll <me@my.email.address>
To: Shawn Wilson <swilson@cinemark.com>
Sent: Thu, August 12, 2010
Subject: Re: Contact Us: Quality of service at a theatre

Hello Shawn,

Thank you for the reply.  I understand that you must also be frustrated with the behavior of your patrons.  My wife & I would very much appreciate two movie passes, thank you for the offer!  My mailing address is…

Eric Carroll
XXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXX
Pittsburgh, PA  XXXXX

You do have a great new beautiful theater… hopefully over time, you’ll be able to have the staff available to spot & weed-out the troublemakers.  Ha… too bad that texting is one of the bans… I’d certainly have no trouble texting the theater to point out moviegoers causing a distraction for others!

Have a good day,
-Eric
.seitilibasid gninrael fo nuf ekam ot ynnuf ton yllaer s’tI

And, then today, this was in my mailbox when I got home:

Cinemark Letter & Rain Check Passes

Cinemark Letter & Rain Check Passes

It’s cool that it can be used for any movie any time.  I had wondered if there would be any odd restrictions. I am serious abut the texting to report troublemakers though.  If there was a “text complaints to this # to alert managers of a disturbance/error during the film” kind of thing… it would work out pretty well… except that texting during to movie is one of those things that’s already frowned upon.  They need those buttons like they have at the bowling alley… ha ha.

At any rate, we’ll have to get back out there soon to catch a free show!

We can’t change the way people act.


So, did you read the one about our last trip to the movies?  I know it garnered more comments than most of my posts.  Comments are always appreciated!  At any rate, we have somewhat of a conclusion.  I let the theater know about our evening via webform:

From: me@my.email.address [mailto:me@my.email.address]
Sent: Monday, August 09, 2010 10:08 PM
To: SiteTheatre
Subject: Contact Us: Quality of service at a theatre

Hello,

I my wife & I recently went to the new Cinemark in Robinson on a whim, and we had an “interesting” evening.  I posted a review of the night online, and it was brought to my attention that I ought to tell you guys about the problem directly.

More and more, a night at the movies plays out like this:  https://aixelsyd13.wordpress.com/2010/08/07/movie-night-for-schmucks/

It’s a shame to have a new beautiful theater with helpful friendly employees go downhill so fast thanks to the rudeness of the patrons, and refusal of management to enforce the theater’s policies.

Should I have gone to management right away?  I would have most certainly missed the beginning of the film.

Would the other patrons have been removed form the theater?  I’m guessing no as they were also paying customers… albeit incredibly rude paying customers.

I hope that you are able to read about my experience and share your thoughts on how I should have conducted myself in that situation.

Thank you for your time, I really look forward to hearing from you!

And, I eventually got a reply:

From: Shawn Wilson <swilson@cinemark.com>
To: me@my.email.address
Sent: Thu, August 12, 2010 1:41:14 PM
Subject: FW: Contact Us: Quality of service at a theatre

Good afternoon,

Thank you for visiting our theatre and for contacting us concerning your recent visit.  I sincerely apologize that your visit was less than enjoyable.

It is certainly our goal to provide the best overall movie-going experience.  We strive to make personal contact with each one of our guests.  It may be saying hello as our guests walk in, holding open a door, carrying concession items, or greeting guests as they exit the auditoriums.  I am extremely pleased that our staff was able to have contact with you and your wife on several occasions.

I can fully understand that the positives associated with a nice theatre and a friendly staff can soon be replaced with frustration when the movie is made less than enjoyable because of the actions of fellow guests in the auditorium.  Unfortunately, it seems now-a-days, some of the public has become very inconsiderate of others.  We can’t change the way people act, but we can have our staff continue to do regular checks of each auditorium and we will correct any problem or disturbance noticed.  I apologize that we were not able to identify and correct the disturbances that you experienced.  I will review this instance with my team.

Thank you, again, for contacting us.  I am disappointed that your visit to our theatre was not perfect.  It would be my pleasure to invite you and your wife back, as our guest, for a much better experience.  If you would be so kind as to provide me with your mailing address, I will place two passes in the mail.

If I can be of any additional assistance, please don’t hesitate to contact me.

Best regards,

Shawn Wilson
General Manager
Cinemark Robinson Twp.  #1034
2100 Settlers Ridge Center Dr.
Pittsburgh, PA  15205
Phone: 412-787-1368  Fax: 412-787-1948

Well, at least I got some free movie passes!  It’ll be interesting to see if there are any restrictions on them as far as times or anything.  But hey… a free movie isn’t a bad deal.  Maybe I’ll avoid a weekend night so we don’t get a repeat of being surrounded by idiots.

It is cool that he acknowledged the problem and apologized for the situation, even if he had to concede that there’s really nothing that he can do about it.  Hopefully the staff for that evening gets commended for being personable.

Movie Night for Schmucks


So My wife & I saw Dinner for Schmucks last night.  Great movie, had some really funny parts.  This blog really isn’t about the movie though… more the experience.

I hate going to the theater more & more.  We were out & about in Robinson & decided to hit up the new Cinemark theater.

I always get there early, and get a good seat… almost to the point of ridiculousness.  OK, it is the point of ridiculousness.  I like to get there as soon as it’s seating, so I can get my seat near the back, in the middle.  I realize that it’s not exactly normal.

On the other end… people were filing in up until the very second it started, acting appalled that some people had arrived on time & they couldn’t find the seat they wanted.  All of the “good” spots had been taken by then… of course the front few rows (as always) were empty, but no one wanted to sit there.  We had to suffer a host of  “excuse me”, “sorry”, and “can I get through?” during the pre-movie commercials and previews.  If I owned a theater –  once the previews started, there would be no entry.  You should have gotten there on time, and taken into consideration time to get food or pee or whatever else you need to do before going in to see a movie.

Of course, seconds before the movie began… Immediately to my right, sat an older woman who smelled like she had just sampled every perfume in the mall.  She kept putting her arm on top of mine on the arm rest, and making an audible “uh” of disgust when I didn’t relinquish my claim.  As I stated before, I got there (admittedly) insanely early to lay my claim to my seat… including the arm rest that I paid $9 for, that’s also holding my overpriced half Coke/half blue-whatever-it-was ICEE in the cup holder.

The woman who’s mouth was as loud as her stench opened & munched quite audibly on a smuggled can of Pringles.  I don’t mean the little cans that you can buy at Sheetz.  This was a giant full-sized can of Pringles.  I don’t want to know where she was hiding it.Then came the 20 oz. bottle of Diet Coke, opened with a deafening fizz, and guzzled like she hadn’t drank anything for days.  Her daughter/friend/whatever had a crinkling bag of freaking chips.

When I put my hand in the air with a “WTF?” look on my face and simply said “Really?” to Bethany, she just laughed and shook her head in amazement.  The previously loud olfactory-challenged woman attempted to mutter a “get over it” and went on munching and gulping away like she was a pig at her trough.

I get that the theater food is way-overpriced, and it’s joked about to a cliché level any time the subject is brought up.  But here’s the thing… it’s part of the overall experience.  Either suck it up & get it, or just pass.  Do you really need to munch on Pringles during the movie?

To Bethany’s left we had two guys in their late-teens or early 20’s who were the texting-during-the-movie dunderheads.  They repeated unfunny lines as if they were funny & laughed and kept asking each other what they missed because they were texting.  I wonder how someone makes it through life when they’re at this level of intelligence.

At the beginning of the movie, there was the Sprint commercial that reminded you that movies don’t interrupt your phone calls, so you shouldn’t interrupt the movie.  There were also at least two other theater-generated messages that ask you not to talk, answer your phone, or text during the movie… and even asking you to tun the phone off, or at least silence it.

I had even remarked before the film how it’s sad that Cinemark feels the need to do that.  The only problem is that it doesn’t work on the people for whom it’s intended.  They don’t care anyway.  Apparently, rules don’t apply to them. These are the same people who park in handicapped spots or over yellow cross-hatch lines.  They’re the same people who throw non-recyclables in to the recycling bin (I have an issue with recycling and it’s overall energy waste/consumption in general, but I’m not an ass).  These are the people that don’t return the carts.  They talk on their phones holding up the line at Quiznos.  They don’t double-flush the public toilet after taking a disastrous dump.

I could have gone to theater management and complained… but another remarkable thing about the theater was that we passed two guys in suits & managerial name tags while getting into the concession line, neither of them once looked in our direction or welcomed us into the theater.  Everyone else was quite friendly.  The girl who rang us up at the concession stand remarked about my amusing Dead from Lobster T-shirt.  The one kid who was sweeping up the hallway even opened to door for Bethany as she went to the restroom.  I think the same kid told us to have a good night as we exited the auditorium.

What would management have done in this case?  Would they have thrown out the people on either side of us?  I doubt it.  They were all also paying customers.  Would I have missed the beginning of the movie that I just paid to see?  Undoubtedly.

What would the solution have been here?  Perhaps they need to better police for outside snacks and glaring cell-phone screens.  Maybe you need searched before entry like a ball-park, or like an old saloon where you check weapons at the door… so must cell-phones be relinquished.  In the case of the woman beside me, they’d need her to also pass a test from that smell-detector machine I saw on CSI once.

I think I’d even pay more of my hard-earned money to go to a theater where they would weed out the schmucks.

Learn some manners, Pittsburgh!