Free Parking1 Feb 2012
I’m being stalked. It happens most days. I’m getting to the point where I feel like every time I leave the house I’m going to be stalked. They have never, thank goodness, come near my house but they don’t care if my family are with me.
They sit there and stare at us, sometimes even gesticulating frantically at us in a manner my husband particularly feels very uncomfortable about. He asked me to write this column so that I can be open and frank about this stalking as I think it happens to more of us than you might think.
I’m talking about those people who follow you in car parks as you walk back to your vehicle in the hope of taking your parking space. Now the first thing to say is that they obviously do this as many of KL’s car parks are not really big enough to cater to the needs of the establishments they service. Or are they?
I usually find that when you drive down to the lower levels of places like Pavilion KL, Suria KLCC, Bangsar Village II and Mid Valley Mega Mall, there are usually spaces. Obviously, at the busiest times – when most of us go – you can end up a long way from the lift and down on B5 or B6. But surely no one is surprised any more that malls in Malaysia are popular?
It’s worth bearing in mind that if there were really no spaces, the car park would be closed. The other bit of logic that I have to share is from my Dad who assures me that statistically, if you just stop your car in a car park where the spots around you are all taken, you will never have to wait more than six minutes for one of the spaces next to you becoming free.
But that doesn’t stop people stalking shoppers the second they emerge from the lift until they get to their vehicle. The very fact that they have to drive their car at a speed slower than walking in order to monitor and react to the direction of their prey helps explain why car parks get so frustrating in the first place.
If we left these poor people alone, then everyone would get to the free spaces further down the car park much quicker and avoid the part of this stalking Hubby finds so upsetting. This is when you get to the car and the Stalker stops either just behind and opposite your car (if they have a brain) or on the same side as you and in front of your car (if they don’t).
There they sit, evidently caught between two emotions: namely joy at having found a space to park, but also frustration at having to now wait for the people they’ve tracked to get in their car and leave. Which is where I want to share a piece of advice for Stalkers. But before that I have an admission to make. I Stalk Too.
Yes, I also stalk people for their car parking spots, especially if they seem to have got a prime spot next to the lift on B1 with free access to the way out. Those people are asking to be stalked. It’s the price they pay for securing such a great parking space. I don’t even mind that I too will be stalked when my visit is complete.
But I do have some advice for people who, like me, insist upon stalking in car parks. You may accuse me of just protecting my own interests here but it makes sense. Don’t stalk people with kids (actually that’s pretty decent advice for any kind of stalking). We are simply too bad at getting into our cars.
You don’t want to have to wait while we find our keys, open the car, throw the kids in, retrieve them from the boot where they have climbed, somehow wrestle them into their car seats without spilling our takeaway coffees (we haven’t slept so can’t go more than an hour without caffeine), strap them down, then get the shopping in the car, return the trolley, start pulling out, stop the car, get out of the car and collect our coffee from the roof where we temporarily put it while wrestling the kids, and then have to find The Wiggles CD for the stereo as the kids will have a breakdown if we try listening to BFM.
That’s already more than six minutes, so you might as well just do as my Dad suggests and sit in the car next to that prime spot by the lift.