How to Find Parking This Christmas

Yes. I'm one of the over half of all Americans who waited to do their Christmas shopping at the last minute. Evidently it's cause we have this weekend before Christmas this year, and it makes us think we have more time. But I did think about the presents I was getting people before today. And though I didn't begin my shopping until today, being a guy, I also finished my shopping today- 3 1/2 hours later. (Cheap shot, I know, but I couldn't resist.)

Actually, the parking wasn't that bad. I found a spot right away at the Northgate Mall- well, I did, after I first drove up almost to the mall, and realized I'd left my wallet at home, and then had to drive all the way back, lengthening my trip by 40 minutes. Which personally I don't think should count in my shopping time frame. So my shopping began at 10 AM, when parking's not hard to find.

I knew who I wanted to shop for, and was able to go straight to the stores. I even ran into a Palestinian Muslim, selling Christmas wares of Olive Wood, made in Bethlehem by his friend's family who ships everything over here. Once again, building a relationship over Arabic helped, as I was able to get the merchandise at 60% off, and this without even bargaining. And then I had to go to one more store, in a separate mall, as the Barnes & Noble at Northgate didn't have the item I wanted. But it was now 1 PM - and everyone was out shopping.

At the University Village Mall, there was no parking. At all. I drove and drove for 20 minutes, stopping in the middle of the intersection because other cars were suddenly blocking traffic for five minutes while they waited for someone to pull out. I finally found something by following a shopping cart to the edge of the lot, far from the most of the stores.

And that's when it hit me. True, this won't help you park, but it will help someone else park, and, if everyone does it, eventually it might come around to you. When I finished my shopping, I flagged down an elderly couple in the car, and asked if they wanted to drive me to my parking spot. They were overjoyed at the prospect. We drove straight to my spot, I had a ride, and they had a parking spot, without having to search for 20 minutes.


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