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Do You Play the Parking Lot Shuffle?


Why parking in a prime spot isn't always worth it.

We're all guilty of circling the parking lot in search of the "perfect" parking spot. During the holiday season, parking can become a precious commodity. For some people, the best spots are near the store entrance. For others, they want to put plenty of room between their car and the next.

No matter your preference, we all really want one thing: convenience. And convenience is something many drivers and shoppers are willing to fight for. But is it worth it?

Let's look at the parking spots near and around the entrance of the store. In an ideal world, these spots ensure you get in and out quickly. In reality, the spots closest to the store entrance are often the least convenient spots because foot traffic dominates the area. During peak shopping times between Thanksgiving and Christmas, you may spend more time waiting for people to filter in and out of the store than it would take to park farther away and walk.

When it comes to scoping out the best spots, has identified two types of drivers. Upward of 38% of drivers are "vultures." These drivers circle around the parking lot at least twice before settling on a spot. Another 24% of drivers are "stalkers." These drivers follow people carrying bags or pushing carts towards their own cars.

Stalkers can be particularly troublesome for other drivers who only care about getting in and out. They are notorious for pulling near their target spot and waiting. This can cause traffic jams and hamper the parking process for others.

According to the Southeastern Psychological Association, drivers defined as vultures or stalkers "spend significantly more time on the lot" compared to virtually all other drivers. If you value your time, parking in the first available spot you see will likely get you in and out of the parking lot faster.