One of Jay Leno’s recurring bits was to focus on the ridiculous things posted on signs. If one of today’s late night talk show hosts is looking for their own variation of this, may I suggest that they focus on reserved parking spots.

Not too long ago, the only spots specifically designated for people were those reserved for handicapped drivers. But today, it seems like there are special spots for many more categories. On my recent errands, I saw parking spots saved for:

  • Combat wounded
  • New and expecting mothers
  • 10 minute express shoppers
  • Starbucks customers
  • Rapid pick up of to-go orders
  • Veterans
  • Low-emitting, fuel efficient vehicles
  • Buy on-line, pick up in store
  • Employee of the month

Each one of those spots is in a prime location, of course, diverting access from others who are in the general population. And often these spaces are empty, including the handicapped spots, making it even more frustrating for drivers who need to pass up open spaces because they don’t fit the bill.

I wish we lived in a world where you could just have one sign: “saved for those who need to be close to the door”, but of course it doesn’t work that way. But before you create a set-aside for any sub-group, think about the implications — both real and perceived — on those whom you are excluding.

About the Author leadership dots by dr. beth triplett

Dr. beth triplett is the owner of leadership dots, offering coaching, training and consulting for new supervisors. She also shares daily lessons on her leadershipdots blog. Her work is based on the leadership dots philosophy that change happens through the intentional connecting of small steps in the short term to the big picture in the long term.

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