The Ding Factor

Car Door DingsWelcome to March everyone!  I must admittedly say I had a poor blog showing last month.  Things have been a little hectic lately at work reacting to the bank snakes that put the world economy in a tailspin.  Looks like I need to step it up this month to make up for it.  For starters, the other day my wife and decided to do a little shopping.  After hitting a bunch of stores we decided to drop by a local Maid Rite for a nibble.  My wife was driving and picked a spot near the door.  This made me uncomfortable instantly because door dings are in my hate peeve list.  Yes, this is definitely one of the times where the hate word is not an overstatement.  What rational person believes it is socially acceptable to bang their car door against another person’s car?  Anyone?… Anyone?   I can force out a few scenarios, but in general there is no excuse.  I was about to accept the parking choice when I looked over to the car next to me and noticed it was a two door.  This bristled on me until I noticed a baby seat in the back on my side of the car upon which I ordered my wife to move immediately.  This resulted in a stern look, but this was not a choice situation, the DING FACTOR was through the roof.  This resulted in some impolite comments from my wife thanks to the extra distance having to walk in the cold, but trust me, it was worth being able to enjoy my lunch without a nervous tick watching my door panels.  Instead, I was able to sit comfortably in the window booth and watch for other ding victims.

So you might be asking yourself, what are the various DING FACTORs to look for (follow the link)

  •  Distance from the front door of the establishment. If you can’t see the door from your parking space, give yourself a 0.  If it is subzero out and you would not need a coat to get to the destination, then you have traded comfort for appearance you deserve a 10 – place a relative weighting for anything in between.  Special bonus.  If someone you are with says something like “Could you park any further out” subtract 2 points from the score you would have receive.  If in response that you pull out of your spot and do indeed move out further… subtract another 3 points off for displaying superior sarcastic capabilities.
  • Number of rows over from the main row straight out from the entrance.  If you waited forever to be able to turn into the main aisle in order to park there, then you wasted valuable shopping time and put your vehicle in jeopardy – you get a 10.  If instead you parked in front of another establishment with perceived less customers (think swimsuit store in middle of Illinois winter) and then walked back to the intended store, you have a good understanding of the situation – give yourself a 0 – given those options, place a relative score in between if needed.
  • Distance from any other parked cars.  Basically start with 10 and subtract one point for every empty spot between you and the next closest car (in the same row).
  • Door exposure risk.  If there is absolutely no way a vehicle door could get to any of your doors, give yourself a 0 – I am guessing you circled the lot numerous times to find the perfect spot.  If you were able to only protect one side of your car by either parking on a end spot or strategically placed your vehicle in a spot next to a wall  – then give yourself a 5.  If you pulled into a spot with both sides exposed, then you get a 10.  Special bonus – if you parked next to a good friend and thereby protecting one of his sides and one of yours, then subtract 3 points to whatever you would have given yourself for this situation.  You are clearly an honorable person or way too trusting of your friends.
  • If you had to park right next to a 2 door vehicle (non-van), then you automatically get a 10 and you should be glad I don’t give you a 20.   If you did park next to a van, then at least part of the danger is alleviated since their main door travels along the body – you still have the front doors to worry about so you still get a 5.  Park next to a very expensive sports car you get a 3 since the likelihood of that individual damaging his car on your piece of junk is highly unlikely (although he may have a lot more insurance than you and enjoys damaging the goods of the little people).  Lastly, if you parked next to a vehicle with doors that open up… then give yourself a 0 cause you are in nooo danger.  Although, I am not sure where you are hanging out if you’re worrying about door dings and mingling with 200+K car owners.
  • Parking in lots with shopping carts.  If there are no carts in the lot (or I guess I’ll accept it if all carts are in the designated return area) and you are uphill to all other parking spots, give yourself a well deserved 0.  If the situation is the same, but not uphill to all other parking spots give yourself a 3 only because someone may haul a cart out while you are shopping.  If there are carts in the lot but a minimum of 20 spaces away then you get a 5.  Anything else gets you a 10 – what are you thinking?
  • Parking decks. If you find the one or two spots that are completely isolated (check the corners and between pillars) then you get a -5.  If you parked in an unprotected spot, but at least uphill from the rest of the cars then take a 5.  If there is an open spot that is next to you and uphill from you then take a 7 and eat the whole 10 points if park next to an existing vehicle uphill from you.
  • Wind element.  If you are parked in a space in the direction of the wind (with or against) and there is a, or a possibility of a car parking in such a way that the wind will force the door farther open in the direction of your car.. (got that?  I’ll wait to let you read that again …. okay?  ) then you have to take 10 because it is going to happen.
  • And finally, probably the most important factor – vehicle occupants.  If you park next to me, then you should get a 0 because there is no way I’m going to let my door hit yours — oh and thanks for adding points to my ding factor 8^(  If there are handicapped plates or signs on the mirror you should take a 3 due to possibly having to negotiate around walking/moving aids which may result in having to have the door wider than usual.  If you see a Baby on Board sticker or any type of cute sun screen on the back door window you will have to deal with a 7.  Kids cannot be blamed for all their actions since they generally do not have an understanding of the fragility of things – this of course is due to the cuddle society forcing them to play with indestructible toys all the time.  And finally, if there is a baby seat in the backseat, take your 10.  Note, it does not matter which side since they may have to go to the other side to complete the strap in.

So there you have it,  My Ding Factor algorithm.  Guessing you want to see some kind of key to rate your future parking choices.

  1. -13 (or less) -> -1  : You are probably more anal than me which is quite a feet
  2. 0 -> 10  : Well done, you must have a good set of legs cause I know you’re walking
  3. 11 -> 30 : Not bad, you are probably going to get at least one ding in your lifetime, but you get the concept
  4. 31 -> 70: Apparently you are not too concerned about your vehicles.  I am guessing you already have a ding and after a significant amount of therapy have decided to go on with your life and take a load off your legs
  5. 71->90: What the hell!  I now know who cares zero about their vehicle and probably the loser that is causing the dents in everyone’s cars.

Lesson is over kiddies.  Go forth and prosper – and by that I mean park in complete confidence.

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