Wednesday, August 25, 2010

How to Park at Pacific Mall (or any Asian Mall)

If you've visited Pacific Mall, you'll know that parking there is an experience like no other. This is true for other Asian malls and events. When the cherry blossoms were in bloom in High Park, I had to compete with every Asian in the GTA for a parking spot. The same can be said for those night markets.

Now before people start to play the race card, I'd like to point out why parking competition is so fierce when Asians congregate. There are a lot of Asians in the GTA, but not so many Asian-themed events. As a result, when there is something cultural activity or event that Asians want to go to, they do so in large crowds. The cherry blossoms in High Park are a good example of this. It is an event that resonates with the Asian culture... in a venue ill-equipped to support the massive influx of cars. Pacific Mall is also a good example of a popular venue without sufficient parking to support the volumes of customers it attracts. Due to this situation, it quickly degrades to survival of the fittest in the parking lots of all the T&T's and Asian malls in the GTA.

Some basic strategies for finding parking:
  • The Outcast: Parking spots close to the entrance are very popular. Parking spots in the far corners are not. Some people will spend 20 minutes trying to find a good spot. The outcast parker will choose a faraway spot and walk to the entrance in a shorter period of time. It's not as glorious as other strategies, but it's good if you're non-confrontational.
  • The Stakeout: Feeling territorial? Find a row of cars, then park to one side and wait. It's a bit like fishing for a parking spot. Eventually the owner of one of these cars will leave, and the spot is yours for the taking. It's important to stake your claim too. If you see another stakeout parker on the opposite end of the parking lot, you have to defend your territory by honking and telling them to get lost. You got here first.
  • The Stalker: Ever feel like you're being followed when you are walking back to your car? That's the stalker parker slowly following you in their car... waiting for you to leave so they can take your spot. If you're a stalker parker, you want to make sure the person you are following is actually leaving their spot and not just dropping something off and going back into the mall. Also, the person you are following may cut between rows of cars, forcing you to do some frantic driving to follow them.
  • The Tour de France: If you don't like to sitting still, you can circle around the parking lot looking for spots that open up. In order for this strategy to work, you have to be very aggressive and agile with your driving. You will have to intercept newly opened parking spots from stalker parkers and stakeout parkers. This is the most common parking strategy, but it's only successful if you are a jerk. In single rows of parked cars, you can quickly steal a spot by driving into the parking spot from behind while the previous occupant drives away.
Some team strategies for finding parking:
  • The Car Pool: Instead of driving 4 cars and having to find 4 parking spots, carpool into 1 car and 1 parking spot. Of course, the driver will have to use another strategy to actually FIND this 1 parking spot. Some good team strategies below...
  • The Chauffeur: Have a friend drop you off at the mall, then call them to pick you up. This eliminates the need to find a parking spot at all, though your friend will still need to drive through the heavy parking lot traffic to get you to the entrance.
  • The Tag Team: Boldly park right by the entrance. One person stays in the car to make sure it doesn't get towed or ticketed. Everyone else goes into the mall. After some time, someone goes back to the car and rotates with the person sitting there. It works well for short trips.
  • The Scout Master: Send all your passengers out to find an empty spot. When they find one, they stand in the spot and prevent other cars from parking there. They will call you by cell phone to tell you where the spot is. Your scouts have to have nerves of steel, as every nearby driver will be horning and giving them the evil eye.
Some risky strategies for finding a parking spot:
  • The Lawn Ornament: Who says you need to park in a parking spot when nature provides? Park on the grass and hope you don't get ticketed or towed. It's an easier decision once you see other cars doing this. They can't ticket all of you, right? (Actually, they can.)
  • The Impostor: There are special spots reserved for the handicapped. More recently, there are also special spots reserved for expecting mothers. Still recovering for that sports injury? Think you MAY have a bun in the oven? Why shouldn't that parking spot be for you? (Actually, that parking spot is not for you.)
  • The Morlock: A lot of these Asian malls actually have underground parking... but most drivers avoid underground parking lots. Why? Stairwells that smell like urine... Increased probability of break-ins... Safety issues... But mostly because underground parking is not as prestigious as above ground parking. (Actually, if you're alone, this is not a safe idea.)
  • The VIP: Hey, that parking spot says it's reserved for John Smith... or to the customers of Joe's Restaurant... or private parking where your car will be towed at your own expense... The parking spot isn't being used, so it's a shame that it go to waste right? How can they tell that I'm not John Smith, the patron of Joe's Restaurant, who is entitled to private parking where other cars will be towed away at their expense? (Actually, they can probably tell quite easily... especially John Smith.)
Well, those are my strategies for how to park at Pacific Mall. Please let me know if you've used one of these strategies or have one that is not included on this list.

1 comment:

Senan said...

How about parking in the un-popular plaza across the street? Kinda like your outcast parking, but taken to the next level.