Wednesday, May 19, 2010

Should Adults With Kids, Expectant Moms and Hybrid Auto Drivers Get Preferred Parking at Fresh & Easy?

Fresh & Easy Neighborhood Market takes reserved - and preferential - parking to the next level at its store parking lots. Along with the special "handicapped" parking spots right in front of the stores, which are required by law, the grocery chain offers additional reserved spots for (1) adults with children (with them at the store, not being parents in general), (2) expectant mothers and (3) hybrid vehicles.

Of course, enforcement is another thing.

For example, we've yet to see a Fresh & Easy store clerk ask any customer parked in the "adults with children" spot to produce the kids for verification. Nor have we seen "hybrid vehicle verification specialists" patrolling the parking lots.

In the case of the "expectant mothers" parking spot, some people might say proof can be had with a quick visual. But that's not even completely true, particularly during the first few months of pregnancy. And, what if the customer isn't actually pregnant, just a bit big-boned? Further, what about the father-to-be, who just might be wearing an Empathy Belly? The majority of the Fresh & Easy stores are in California. Should the physically empathetic future dad be excluded from using the reserved spot? He's pregnant after all, just not biologically.

In other words, parking behavior in the reserved parking spots - with the exception of the legally required "handicapped" zones - is on the honor system.

A Fresh & Easy Buzz reader from Bakersfield, California sent us a video clip from last night's ABC TV Channel 23 news broadcast in Bakersfield. The topic of the news report is the preferred parking spots at Fresh & Easy, specifically the store at California Avenue & Stockdale Highway, in the city.

Channel 23 reporter Erin Briscoe interviewed shoppers at the store, asking them what they thought about the various forms of preferred parking at the Fresh & Easy market. She also interviewed a law enforcement officer about enforcement of the reserved parking spots.

The opinions of the various shoppers, and law enforcement, are interesting and insightful, which is why we're sharing them with out readers.

Click here to view the video from last night's report on Bakersfield's Channel 23 News. There's also a brief write up about the report there.

[Readers: Feel free to offer your opinion about Tesco Fresh & Easy Neighborhood Market's reserved parking policy and the three types of preferential parking it offers: hybrid cars, parents with kids, and expectant moms. Just click the "comments" link below - and opine away.]


Anonymous said...

The preferred parking for hybrid cars is ridiculous. I am fine ceding spaces to people with physical challenges (having found being pregnant and carting around small children fairly physically challenging myself), but why am I being asked to cede a space to upper-middle class people who could afford to buy a hybrid vehicle and thereby save themselves hundreds of dollars in cash? Is there some delusion that a preferred parking spot at Fresh & Easy would motivate someone to buy a hybrid?!! They are expensive! I regularly park my Mazda 3 in the hybrid space as a protest. (Plus, there is never any one parking in those spots).

OakMonster said...

Yes, it's nice to give mom with kids or pregnant women closer spots. That said, my husband and I would pull into hybrid parking space. Any car deserve that spot should be a hydrogen car or a solar charging station for electric vehicle.

Like we all know, it's a suggestion, not a law.

I'd park wherever it is available and not marked handicapped, frankly.

Anonymous said...

Call me old school but preferred parking beyond the handicapped spots is just silly. It's a grocery store. Shouldn't all customers accept the handicapped be treated the same? I'm diabetic. Why can't I get my own reserved spot? Just making a point. Would not want one.

Since I live in Bakersfield I can tell you we are far from the hybrid car capital of the U.S. Now, if Fresh & Easy wants to appeal to us locals it should replace the hybrid spots with pick up truck only spots. That would draw some customers.

Leah said...

I think the additional spots are great and further show what a great store F&E is. I don't drive a hybrid and wouldn't park in a hybrid spot...but it shows that F&E values the environment, which is important to me also.

Plus, the non-preferred spots are just a few steps away, and who couldn't use more exercise??

I have used the "Parents with Kids" spot on a few occasions, and it is quite handy when trying to get my 4- and 2-year old children into the store.

Obviously, if someone's going to be a jerk about it, they'll park in whichever spot they choose - but it's also up to them to live with themselves and their choices. I'd rather park a few spots away, get a few extra steps in, and enjoy my shopping in sunny California!

Anonymous said...

I've never been to a Fresh & Easy store where the parking lot didn't have dozens of spaces open, so it's not an issue to me. But maybe they should focus a little more on filling up the parking lots with customer cars and a little less on reserved parking.

Anonymous said...

I feel very strongly that there should only be disabled parking spots. I do not feel that this preferential treatment is appropriate. Having children is a choice, not an affliction. If we can walk ten steps to the store so can a child...more so in fact.