Parking Achievement Unlocked
April 28, 2021 6:42 AM   Subscribe

After six years, Gareth Wild of Bromley, England, has finally completed his quest to park in every single space in his local supermarket car park.

Rather than walking around the car park counting each space and exposing himself as a lunatic, he used an overhead view to mark out a vector image.

Later he gives a guide to the best parking spaces to pick, should you too happen to be shopping in Bromley.

This kind of thing is what the internet is for.
posted by Cardinal Fang (47 comments total) 45 users marked this as a favorite
 
Ha, beat me by literal minutes. This twitter thread was absolutely delightful to wake up to. I am delighted by his mapping and informatics approach to the parking lot.
posted by cortex at 6:47 AM on April 28


I don't know how to choose the best parts of this. The other Bromley locals coming in to the Twitter thread to argue or support certain choices. The spreadsheet entitled "Sainsbury's Car Park Extravaganza". The excellent choice of complementary colours for the infographics. The fact that he restricted himself to big shop days, presumably to make sure the information remained accurate to experience, rather than just getting it done over the course of a long week or something.

Superb.
posted by fight or flight at 6:53 AM on April 28 [6 favorites]


Ah-oooo, carparks of Bromley
Ah-oooo
Ah-hooo, carparks of Bromley
Ah-hooo
posted by nubs at 7:08 AM on April 28 [36 favorites]


This kind of thing is what the internet is for.

Exactly! More quirk, less snark please. Love this.
posted by widdershins at 7:17 AM on April 28 [9 favorites]


I am not hating on this, I swear....it appeals to my sense of order and completion and yet I do not quite understand why one would do this.
posted by tiny frying pan at 7:17 AM on April 28 [2 favorites]


Rather than walking around the car park counting each space and exposing himself as a lunatic...

Hey, sometimes you should really just let your freak flag fly! I wish he had explained what made a spot good or bad in more depth. For example, he doesn’t like parking next to trolley bays (British for “shopping cart return”?); I often seek out those spaces so I can return the cart more easily, especially at Costco. But a great project!
posted by TedW at 7:19 AM on April 28 [2 favorites]


For example, he doesn’t like parking next to trolley bays (British for “shopping cart return”?); I often seek out those spaces so I can return the cart more easily, especially at Costco.

Yes, I love parking next to the cart return. Nobody on one side of you to ding your door, and no wasted effort putting the cart away.
posted by schoolgirl report at 7:23 AM on April 28 [6 favorites]




Some commenters on twitter missed that he was going shopping already, not going to Sainsbury's just to park.

I park next to the 'trolley bay' (cart corral) as often as possible so I can remember where I parked.
posted by theora55 at 7:25 AM on April 28 [2 favorites]


There's usually an area that the staff use and the average punter never gets a chance at, so well done.
posted by StephenB at 7:28 AM on April 28 [2 favorites]


You hear him cruising around your parking lot
You better not let him in
God tier spot got taken late last night
Carparks of Bromley again
posted by nubs at 7:28 AM on April 28 [19 favorites]


This is the most powerful Dad energy I’ve seen in years.
posted by Going To Maine at 7:28 AM on April 28 [10 favorites]


theora55, that gives me the terrible notion of doing a one-day speedrun. Only during operating hours, so there's natural obstacles; car must fully enter any given space and rest for a few seconds; run is a loss if store manager comes out and asks you to leave.
posted by cortex at 7:29 AM on April 28 [6 favorites]


What will be his next Everest? Once you have begun climbing parking in every spot, there is always a next mountain carpark.
posted by GenjiandProust at 7:30 AM on April 28 [1 favorite]


I am not hating on this, I swear....it appeals to my sense of order and completion and yet I do not quite understand why one would do this.

Oh, it’s totally mad, absolutely. He knows this as well. But sometimes you just need a project.
posted by Going To Maine at 7:34 AM on April 28 [7 favorites]


If anyone else was weirdly curious about the "irregular void" space, I found it on Streetview.
posted by theodolite at 7:37 AM on April 28 [6 favorites]


I've self-banned myself from Twitter for a while and found that going there is such a natural impulse that I had to install things to block it on all my devices, but I had to use a workaround to see this because it sounded so relevant to the way my brain works, and I was right.

"Comfortably in my top 5 Bromley car parks."
posted by MCMikeNamara at 7:47 AM on April 28 [7 favorites]


The only thought that kept going through my mind as I read this thread was that it would take me a lifetime to try to do this at my local Costco: https://goo.gl/maps/QabDWaafH3QdJGcP8
posted by tuxster at 7:47 AM on April 28


Dare to succeed!
posted by Thorzdad at 7:51 AM on April 28 [3 favorites]


If anyone else was weirdly curious about the "irregular void" space, I found it on Streetview.

I was and so did I. I’ve tentatively concluded that, since Walters Yard has no outlet, the little stub of a road that goes nowhere is to allow k-turns in the dead-end.
posted by sjswitzer at 7:54 AM on April 28


You hear him cruising around your parking lot
You better not let him in
God tier spot got taken late last night
Carparks of Bromley again


On the “Werewolves of London” theme, I will take this opportunity to express how much I have always appreciated the phrase “Little old lady got mutilated late last night” in the song.

I mean, yes, the imagery is grisly. But the consonance! The consonance!
posted by darkstar at 7:57 AM on April 28 [17 favorites]


I guess this is a gratuitous pony but mifi really needs an "Everyone needs a hobby" tag.
posted by sammyo at 8:01 AM on April 28 [3 favorites]


I used to read a great blog (sadly gone now) called Fugitivus. The author once wrote about how she had this realization: if you are always trying to rush through all the things you have to do so you can live, then you are always rushing through most of the things of your life. Washing the dishes, waiting for the bus, entering data -- these, too, are one's life. They are a part of life, not some other category of stuff that is somehow not one's life.

To me a really appealing aspect of these kinds of rituals and projects is the "get time on your side" approach in what the truck-train driver says in Le Guin's The Dispossessed: "Variety doesn't come with just moving around. I was all over Anarres, young. Drove and loaded in every Division. .... It got boring. I came back here and I do this run every three decades year in year out through this same desert where you can't tell one sandhill from the next and it's all the same for three thousand kilos whichever way you look, and go home to the same partner -- and I never been bored once. It isn't changing around from place to place that keeps you lively. It's getting time on your side. Working with it, not against it."

Am grateful today to be reminded of a way to appreciate the mundane things around me.
posted by brainwane at 8:03 AM on April 28 [26 favorites]


StephenB: "There's usually an area that the staff use and the average punter never gets a chance at"
In the early 1990s, before the Celtic Tiger started a roar of new building, I was working the city centre campus of Trinity College Dublin. Car parking was limited but access was demographically flat: any employee - profs, secretaries, B&G, cleaners, HR could apply for a parking permit on a 1st come 1st served basis. A few canny academics developed a relationship with early morning cleaners. The latter would "hold" a space until they heard a familiar beep behind, and then pull out and go home.
Obsessive filling in the squares on a grid reminds me of the Geograph project [MetaPrev] to capture a photo for every 1km x 1km square in the Western European Archipelago.
posted by BobTheScientist at 8:29 AM on April 28 [2 favorites]


I am not hating on this, I swear....it appeals to my sense of order and completion and yet I do not quite understand why one would do this.

Everyone needs a hobby. One night I was stuck at ORD and decided to photograph every gate in the contiguous airport (sorry Terminal 5).
posted by wotsac at 8:39 AM on April 28 [2 favorites]


Loved the twitter thread, was not disappointed by the Audi #yplac comment.

For example, he doesn’t like parking next to trolley bays

'cos your car would get dinged up by people flinging trolleys approximately at the bay and missing. UK trolleys steer differently from the broken N American ones, so you can launch 'em and they'll go in a straight line, mostly
posted by scruss at 8:51 AM on April 28 [1 favorite]


This is the most powerful Dad energy I’ve seen in years.

This guy who turned his basement into a video store (NYT) is also up there.
posted by fedward at 8:53 AM on April 28 [4 favorites]


I am not hating on this, I swear....it appeals to my sense of order and completion and yet I do not quite understand why one would do this.

There is joy to be found in doing inexplicable things! "But why" is a perfectly reasonable question, I think, but when life can afford some stolen moments or gaps between needful tasks to respond with "well, but why not?" then odd little pointlessly wonderful things can happen. Maybe it'll only bring you personal joy; maybe it'll give other folks something to smile or just cock their head to the side about, doesn't matter. It doesn't need to make sense, it can just happen anyway, because why not?
posted by cortex at 8:53 AM on April 28 [1 favorite]


To put it another way, sometimes one must obey the inscrutible exhortations of one's soul.
posted by cortex at 8:56 AM on April 28 [7 favorites]


This brought back a memory!

Many many years ago as a bored college freshman I mapped the seating in a large survey course and resolved to sit in each seat. I did not know any of the other students and never told anyone what I was doing. Most classmates sat with the same groups, in the same seats, every class. I always arrived early and chose random seats based only on ones not yet used. It gave an otherwise dull class a mild frisson of suspense as this was surprisingly disruptive. Nobody ever figured out or asked what I was doing.

Near the end of the semester, the professor commented to me as I was leaving a class “I never know where you’re going to turn up!” “I like variety,” I replied.
posted by kinnakeet at 8:57 AM on April 28 [29 favorites]


the terrible notion of doing a one-day speedrun. Only during operating hours, so there's natural obstacles

An alarm just went off in the Shoup lab.
posted by clew at 9:05 AM on April 28 [1 favorite]


There is joy to be found in doing inexplicable things!

Sometimes I suspect that joy is only to be found in the doing of inexplicable things.
posted by aramaic at 9:24 AM on April 28 [8 favorites]


This man’s quest is worthy of the magnificentobsession tag.
posted by Rumple at 9:37 AM on April 28 [2 favorites]


It is now possible to set a new record for fastest parking in every space in a Bromley Supermarket Parking lot. Hello Guinness World Records.
posted by Nanukthedog at 10:55 AM on April 28 [3 favorites]


Carparks of Bromley sounds like a Mountain Goats deep cut
posted by oulipian at 11:22 AM on April 28 [4 favorites]


For example, he doesn’t like parking next to trolley bays (British for “shopping cart return”?); I often seek out those spaces so I can return the cart more easily, especially at Costco.

From the streetview, it looks like the cart return takes up the whole width of the spot to the painted line, so you don't get the extra door-opening space you normally get if you're next to a parked car.
posted by ckape at 11:58 AM on April 28 [2 favorites]


I have a real soft spot for these kinds of pointless tests of endurance and thoroughness. I saw a TikTok a little while back where someone claimed that their father had completed his collection of bread bag clips. What was the collection about? He was collecting every date (i.e.: the "best before" date printed on the clip) so he could make a calendar out of them. In fact, not only had he collected a (presumably rare) Feb 29 clip, he managed to get misprinted Feb 30 and Feb 31 (!) ones as well.
posted by mhum at 12:47 PM on April 28 [17 favorites]


Yes, I love parking next to the cart return. Nobody on one side of you to ding your door, and no wasted effort putting the cart away.

Do people where you live not play Cart Curling?
That is where a person (usually young) scoots along on the back of the cart then, when sufficient momentum is reached, drops off and shoves the cart towards the return, hoping for a dead center entry.
They are not always successful.

This is distinct from the Soccer Mom Drop, which is where the shopper gives the cart a gentle nudge towards the return and lets gravity do the rest.
Gravity is not always the best guide.

There's even the Close Enough. The returner gets within a few cart lengths and with a skillful wrist flick shoots the cart directly into the corral.
Wrist flick skills may vary.

Around here, at least, the further from the collection point the better off you are.
posted by madajb at 1:47 PM on April 28 [4 favorites]


I took her to a supermarket
I don't know why
But I had to start it somewhere
So it started there
I said pretend there's no parking
She just laughed and said
Oh you've really got me barking
I said "Yeah, I can't see anyone else parking 'round here..."

Are you sure?
You wanna park like common people
You wanna park wherever common people park

Wanna park with common people
You wanna park with common people
In the dark
posted by mandolin conspiracy at 2:24 PM on April 28 [5 favorites]


Makes me think of JG Ballard's obsessed protagonists. Only our world is so dystopian that behavior we should consider bizarre is sweet and charming in the context of our current hellscape. Love it.
posted by kittensofthenight at 2:25 PM on April 28


I was once in a vast but tidy parking lot and noticed that the cart returns were in shallow depressions they shared with the storm drains.
posted by clew at 4:05 PM on April 28 [2 favorites]


Sorta reminds me of a character from a book read long ago. He never ate the same thing twice. Every meal had to be something that he hadn't had before. Ate a burger, once. Ate a taco, once. Didn't matter whether it was good or bad, never eat the same thing twice.
posted by zengargoyle at 4:18 PM on April 28


Oh wow, Bromley! Mrs. Example and I used to go to the movies there because our own section of London (Lewisham) lacked a movie theater, and it was much cheaper than going up to Leicester Square. I once unsuccessfully tried to catch a bus home from the stop on the side of that very Sainsbury's.

Bromley is also the place where I had the Most Disappointing Burrito and The Worst Job Interview....but those are other stories.
posted by Mr. Bad Example at 4:28 PM on April 28 [2 favorites]


(Also, the train station near there--Bromley North--is the end point of a weird little two-station spur off the main southeast line running through that part of London. You can only get to it from one station on the main network--Grove Park. End of not-quite-literal derail.)
posted by Mr. Bad Example at 4:34 PM on April 28


I was once in a vast but tidy parking lot and noticed that the cart returns were in shallow depressions they shared with the storm drains.


That sounds like a brilliant bit of design. The depressions catch the water and also help corral potentially wayward carts. And having both of those functions co-located prevents the rest of the car park from being used/disrupted for one of these functions.
posted by darkstar at 6:34 PM on April 28 [1 favorite]






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