Parking protocol

I've decided that one of the things I didn't learn because I was an only child is how to handle things when I feel under attack by someone. Last night I took a parking spot in the Whole Foods parking lot that another driver thought was rightfully his. I'd been expecting the person in front of him to take it, and when that person didn't I grabbed it -- realizing only as I committed to the turn that this guy had his signal on. He pulled into the (illegal) spot next to me at an angle I interpreted as vaguely threatening (though I don't think he meant it that way) and harangued me, and I sputtered and didn't know what to say. I wish I'd had the presence of mind either to make a snappy comeback, or to apologize and ask him what he really wanted me to do about it.

We finally resolved it when he said "I was assuming I would get the space if the person in front of me didn't take it" and I said, "well, I was thinking the same thing," and he said, "Well, OK," and moved off.

I don't think he was a mean person. I think he only wanted to be acknowledged. If I'd thought to say it I would have said "I'm sorry I didn't see you, but I bet you'll get a better spot than this anyway." It was 8pm, and though the lot looked pretty full, I think more people were leaving than arriving, and I think he probably did get a better spot.

This isn't the first time I've had an exchange like this with someone who thought a parking spot I'd taken was rightfully his -- or, actually more often, hers. In one case, I pulled up to back into a spot on 59th St. after passing by it once and going around the Midway to get it, and someone came up behind me, blocking me from entering the space, and insisted it was hers because she had been looking for a long time and had also gone around the Midway to get it. (I can't remember how this was resolved. Did I refuse to move, forcing her to leave? Or did I move on and let her have it?)

What are the grounds for believing one has the right to a particular parking spot?

Our friends at PPF would probably tell us we shouldn't be driving anyway. Our friends at PPF might be interested in this.


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