A PARKING LOT!
Not a specific one, but parking lots in general. At least the ones I encounter in my daily life which are in front of business open to the general public (stores, restaurants, etc)
I am no spring chicken, so I can compare today’s parking lots with those that go back as far as the mid-1950s, going forward.
I have come to the conclusion that you can judge a society and more specifically, a neighborhood, by its parking lots. For example, if many of the parking lots in an area are showing age and need some major pot holes filled, the area is probably distressed and the store owner probably leasees instead of owns the building and lot.
If cops consider the parking lot as part of their patrol area (beat) its probably a distressed neighborhood with more than average shoplifting and holdup events.
In my lifetime I have seen many changes to parking lots over the years. Some changes were for the better. Other changes are indicative of a society going wrong. Let me explain…
The most obvious change to parking lots is the addition of handicap parking spaces for vehicles that display a handicap logo. In the United States, this change came about in 1973. Every parking lot in this country is required to set aside handicap parking spaces. Unfortunately, there is abuse associated with these spaces. Drivers who have a sticker because of a family member’s handicap can get away with parking in a handicap space. But it is difficult to identify the perpetrators. This is a moral issue, as well as a legal issue. If you use someone’s sticker because you’re lazy, you have just interfered with a handicapped person’s access rights.
These annoying bumps in the road were introduced in the 1980s. I supposed there were drivers speeding in parking lots, but I just don’t remember too many incidents of that, not even in the student parking lot in high school (class of ’72), where all the immature, stupid, daredevilish drivers parked.
If I saw a cop car in a parking lot in 1960-something, the cop would be writing a ticket for speeding. But, now days many of the bigger parking lots are considered a “beat”. I imagine the cops draw straws to see which one will get the job of sitting in his patrol car all night in a far corner of the parking lot ready to spring into action when the store reports a shoplifter. I wonder if there is a direct emergency line between the store and the cop.
When did the bag boys stop bringing the groceries to your car? When my mom bought a weeks worth of groceries for a family of eight, two cats, and a german shepherd, there were a lot of bags. The bag boy packed your groceries, put them in the cart, and then offered to bring them to your car and pack them in the trunk. Mom gladly accepted the service. Now, in the big box stores, a bag carousel has replaced the friendly bagboy. But even those stores that still hire bagboys don’t offer to bring your bags to your car and put them in your trunk.
When I was a kid, I was taught to put everything in its place when you were done with it. To this day, I push my cart into the cart corral, making sure to add it to the line of carts. However, it seems that people have forgotten that these things were meant to be pushed together, or stacked as I call it. This is such a pet peeve of mine that I will take an extra minute or two to straighten up the mess of carts. I know that the cart wranglers who transport them back to the store with that motor driven cart pusher appreciates the work I put into it.
Maybe these observations are unique to where I lived then and where I live now. When I was growing up, I lived in San Jose, California. And, now I live in semi-rural North Carolina, within commuting distance to Greensboro, a mid-sized city.
Maybe I am comparing apples to oranges. That reminds me, I need to go shopping.