How to Choose a Parking Spot at Target

Diane pulled into Target on a typical Wednesday afternoon. She needed to quick run in the store to grab some dryer sheets, but if history was any indication, she would come back out to her car with $230 worth of crap she didn’t realize she needed. This left her with a dilemma—where to park her car!

She scanned the lot. There were options. She could be selective. But what is best for her on today’s trip, and why?

The Closest Spot to the Store Entrance: She could drive up and down every row looking for the spot closest to the store to avoid walking farther than necessary. But when you really think about it, even spots farthest from the store entrance are at worst a 40-second walk. And since when is a little extra walking so awful? On the other hand, if she comes out of the store with lots of bags worth of merchandise, she’ll be happy she has a shorter walk. But if that were the case, she would have a cart to push her things. And if it takes her extra time to find a good spot or wait for someone to pull out of a good spot, she has lost valuable shopping time.

The Spot That Makes Most Sense for Your Walking Abilities: If Diane has a bad ankle, she may want to wait out a really premium spot.

The Spot That’s Best for Your Party: If little kids or wheelchair-bound grandma are along, it again makes sense to perhaps wait for a better spot. The less time the kids have to walk through a busy lot, the safer for everyone.

The First Open Spot She Sees: She could just save time by pulling into the first open spot she sees. This is beneficial because she is guaranteed a spot, she can get right to shopping, she’ll save a little gas, and she’ll be close to the exit. It could wind up looking like a foolish move, though, if she walks for 39 seconds to get to the store only to realize there were dozens of closer spots.

The Spot Easiest to Get Out of: She could think ahead and simply choose the spot that will allow her the easiest route back home. It could be a headache to get into the store, but things could even out when all is said and done.

The Spot Least Likely to Cause Damage to Her Car: Diane could park near the store or the first available spot, but she could be cramming into a spot that causes a neighboring car to swing its doors open and dent her car! It may make more sense to go somewhere that has open spots nearby so she can be more assured of avoiding such an event.

The Farthest Spot From the Store Entrance: She could throw everyone for a loop and park way at the back of the lot. This is in all likelihood the same as the aforementioned safe spot for car damage, but if not, this strategy also provides her the opportunity to get in some much-needed exercise. The bad news, though, is she could be so isolated from the rest of the lot that her car could be burglarized. Or a distracted driver could miss seeing it and crash into it, not expecting anyone to be parked so far away.

The Spot Nearest a Cart Corral: It will be easy to put the cart away after use, sure. But others haphazardly putting their carts away could accidentally scratch her car with a cart.

The Secret Spot: Sometimes there is a smaller side lot alongside the store that people forget about. She could go this route and feel special that she knew about a spot many others didn’t.

The Confusingly Coveted Spot: Maybe there is a parking spot, or an area of the lot in general, where all the cars want to be. She could try to park near everyone else for fear that there’s a reason all the cars in the lot are parked together for a reason and not parking near them could spell disaster.

The Asshole Spot: In a largely empty lot, it might be funny to single out a car parked all alone and wait for that person to back out of their spot and take it. The only advantage to going this route would be to confuse a stranger for a quick laugh. Like, why would someone wait for that precise spot? It’s so crazy.

The Confusing Spot: With almost the whole lot to choose from, Diane could throw everyone for a loop and essentially pick a spot at random. Not close to the front, not far in the back, not in the center. The second row in, ten spots back. Lots of open spaces before it and after it. Just enough to make someone ponder “why there?”

A Non-Parking Spot: She could leave her car parked along the curb, pull into the cart corral, or drive up onto the grass if there is reason to think a normal spot could spell trouble. Maybe it’s super hot and parking on the blacktop would be troublesome somehow?

A Handicapped Spot: So what if she doesn’t have a handicap tag? Who takes the time to check and report these things? Besides, there are eight open handicap spots. Are eight such cars really going to pull in all at once?

A Covered Spot: If available, parking somewhere with a roof overheard could be a great move, especially if it’s hailing, sleeting, or over 100º. The bad news is everyone else probably has the same idea.

The Spot Nearest a Tree: Trees provide shade, but they could also shed leaves on your car or fall over in high winds. Birds also love trees, and may poop on your car.

The Stalking Spot: Lastly, she could park near that hot dude she saw walking into the store. It’s her best chance of striking up a conversation later on.

In the end, Diane did what she always does—she drove around for 90 seconds looking for a spot she deemed “walkable.” She found such a spot, but she loathed herself later on when she saw an old lady with a cane walking into the store from the back of the lot.

My Hot Take:
I really prefer to not waste time driving around looking for the perfect parking spot that makes me feel all warm and fuzzy. If there is something that catches my eye in the first five seconds of entering a lot, I’ll take it.

When parking at Target, choose a spot that suits your needs based on the number of items you’re going to purchase, any fellow shoppers who have special walking needs, and whether or not you need extra exercise.

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