The Great Baltimore Parking-in-the-Snow Chair Battle

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Originally published March 4, 2014 – Usually, Baltimore’s winters aren’t snowy enough for the serious, Chicago-style chair fights to break out. But with this year, it’s getting heated again.

You know what I’m talking about, right? The practice of shoveling out a parking spot, then putting a chair there all day so no one can take it while you’re gone. The pro-chair crowd argues that their hard work should be rewarded; by shoveling out that spot, they are essentially investing sweat equity in the property. And the anti-chair crowd says that they are selfish jerks.

This whole fight raises a lot of questions — for example, if you actually remove the chair in a shoveled-out spot, are you righting a wrong, or just doubling down on jerkiness? Are chairs put out to save spots fair game for, um, gathering? Should you write a passive aggressive note if someone steals your spot? If you don’t put a chair in the spot you shovel out, are you sure you’re not a Communist?

Honestly, I like the solution posited by Reddit poster N8CCRG the other day. S/he argued that everyone who’s able-bodied enough to dig out one spot might as well dig out a few. “This does lots of things. First it means that the spots are shoveled-out right because I don’t half-ass it. Second it means that nobody else can try to claim the spot for themselves. Third, it’s a chance to do something positive instead of negative. I know there are some who are too old or injured or have to work long hours who may not be able to do their own car,” s/he wrote.

Now that’s a novel idea – a little neighborliness and good will sounds a lot better than getting in a huge fight over a chair in a parking spot. (But still – don’t steal my spot.)



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5 COMMENTS

  1. In Philadelphia the police remove chairs left in the street to save parking spots since it’s illegal. It’s also illegal in Baltimore, so maybe our police should do the same and save the citizenry from the awkward neighbor encounter…or unnecessary fight.

  2. people have been leaving parking markers in spots from this past snow in spaces that did not even have to be dug out!!!!

  3. I have a lot of new neighbors in Canton and they do not shovel and leave chairs. The chairs just create ill will. After all, parking is a sport here.

  4. IT IS ILLEGAL TO BLOCK A PARKING SPACE A FEW $500 FINES WILL CURE THEM OR NO PARKING SIGNS ON THEIR STREETS SHOULD DO THE TRICK

  5. Do you live in the city? It is an acceptable tradition/custom-needs to be respected at least for a few days after storm! I would not take someone else’s space even without the chair in a residential area.., no fighting, fussing or cussing when someone disrespects you just accept that there are people who do not honor the custom.

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