It’s that time of year once again, the start of the snowbird season, and RVs are already abandoning the colder climates up north and heading south in search of sunshine and warm weather. If you’re one of them, please drive carefully. There are a lot of crazy people out there texting and talking on cell phones and doing all kinds of stupid things that can put your life in danger no matter how careful you are. Oh, and do me a favor will you? Don’t be a slob.
When I say slob, I don’t mean don’t be a litterbug who throws your trash out the window as you roll down the highway. Nobody here would do that, right? But unfortunately, there is another kind of slob in our community. The RV slob.
A lot of folks are going to be pulling into Walmarts for the night as they head for their favorite snowbird roosts in Florida, or Alabama, or Texas, or Arizona, or wherever. There’s not a thing wrong with that. We blacktop boondocked at Camp Walmart more times than I can count during our years of fulltime RVing. If all you plan to do is pull in, grab a bite to eat and get some rest before you go on down the road the next morning, why should you pay for a full hookup RV site in a campground if you don’t need it? After all, you’ve got a self-contained RV.
But there’s a right way and a wrong way to park at Walmart. And really, it’s a no-brainer. Just use your common sense. Oh, that’s right, common sense isn’t all that common anymore, is it? Apparently not, given some of the things we’ve seen over the years.
Always get permission to park overnight at any business. It’s not public property, the store is giving you the courtesy of letting you park there. Extend the same courtesy to them by asking permission. I don’t care if there were six other RVs already parked there, we always went inside and went to the courtesy desk and asked permission. It’s the right thing to do.
We always tried to park on the far edges of the parking lot. If you have a rig that requires you to open a slide to get to the bedroom or bathroom, park in such a way that you can extend the slide over the grassy area at the edge of the parking lot. Do not park your RV in the busy parking areas in front of the store. You would think people would understand that, right? Unfortunately, you would be wrong.
Check out this clown that we saw at the Walmart in Lake City, Florida a few years ago. This was a week before Christmas, and he was taking up seven car spaces near the front of the store. I know, because I counted them. There was plenty of room on the edge of the parking lot, but he chose to park right there. Me, being the jerk that I am, asked him why he would do that and he told me that it was no big deal, he only planned to be there for two or three days. You read that right folks, two or three days, right in the middle their parking lot, at the height of their Christmas shopping season. What kind of an impression do you think he gave people about RVers?
Don’t put jacks down. I don’t care if your rig is rocking and rolling when you walk around inside of it. This is what happens when you put jacks down on asphalt. If you ran that store and had to pay to get that repaired, how eager would you be to have other RVers overnight in your parking lot?
Keep a low profile. Don’t be this guy. This was at a Walmart in South Dakota. Not only was he taking up several car spaces in the busiest part of the parking lot, he was washing his rig. And again, there was plenty of room at the edge of the lot for him to park.
Don’t put out lawn chairs, or barbecue grills, or your awnings. Yes, I’ve seen people do all of those things. I’ve also seen them drain their gray water right out onto the pavement. A few years ago we were spending some time in Tucson, Arizona and there was a gentleman in a travel trailer who was parked for weeks at the Walmart in nearby Marana. We actually saw him come out and empty a plastic dishpan full of water in the parking lot in the middle of the day. The next time we came through that area there were No Overnight RV Parking signs.
I call these people OPOPs, which stands for Only People On the Planet. They have no consideration for others, they have no respect for others, and they do not appreciate the courtesy a business extends them by letting them park for free overnight instead of spending money on a campground. Don’t be an OPOP. Don’t be the RV slob that causes the next business to put up No Parking signs.
The Escapees RV Club has an excellent Code of Parking Etiquette that covers these basic things. You can even download it from their website so you’ll have a reminder that you can hand to somebody you see doing something that makes us all look bad. I don’t really recommend that, in this day and age, because while we would like to think that people do this out of ignorance, the truth is some of them are just slobs and you might find yourself arguing with them because they refuse to see the error of their ways. I learned a long time never to argue with an idiot. He’ll drag you down to his level and beat you with experience every time.
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Thought For The Day – Stupid is as stupid does. – Forrest Gump