You arrive at the public library with all five kids in the car with you. You have to turn in books and figure that you might as well check some out, so you need to park to go inside. The public library is next door to an elementary school. Today is Saturday and it's soccer game day, and there are about four soccer games happening on the elementary school field. The parking lot between the library and the school is full. You circle around once and finally find a spot. Actually, it's two open spots, right next to each other, only a few rows from the library. You go to pull in only to have a car pull into a spot right before you can. No biggie, right? There were two spots. But then, you notice that the person has parked in such a crooked fashion that about 1/3 of their car is hanging into the empty parking spot, a considerable amount over the line dividing the spaces. What do you do?
Here is what I did. As the woman got out of her car, I rolled down my window and said, "Excuse me. I don't mean to be rude or anything, but that is the only spot near the library. You've pulled your car in over the line so I can't possibly fit my van in the space next to you. Would you mind just straightening up so I can park there, please?"
I felt like I was polite. I felt like what I was asking her to do wasn't unreasonable. When I park, I'm always careful to make sure my car is not hanging into another spot. Sometimes I get a little close to the line, but if I'm over the line, I always straighten up. Not necessarily because I'm trying to be this super-polite person, but mostly because it really, really irks me when I am in a FULL parking lot and the one and only empty space is half taken up by the person the next space over who didn't take the extra 20 seconds to straighten up their vehicle. Kind of a "Golden Rule" thing--treat others as you want to be treated.
The lady did get back in her car and straighten up, but all the time she was muttering and looking very cross and angry at me for even thinking to ask such an insane thing of her. So I thought about what I would do if the tables were turned and it was someone else asking me to move my car.
If they yelled at me or were rude, I'd probably be a little ticked off. But I was as polite as I could be, asking nicely if she could straighten up after presenting the problem and even saying "excuse me" and "please". And I thanked her afterward, even though she looked like she wanted to strangle me. I think, I hope, that if someone asked me kindly to move my car, I would move it and be apologetic to them for being in the way in the first place.
What do you think? Was I entirely in the wrong? Or is it okay to politely ask strangers to do such things?