Friday, December 31, 2010

RV parking at Walmart

Dear Dr. R.V. Shrink:
We have been using Walmart parking lots for overnight stays while traveling between destinations. We think this is a wonderful opportunity offered by Walmart. We call them our “Pit Stops.” We do our shopping, laundry nearby and rent a movie from Red Box. They always have an out-of-the-way area that is not too noisy or bright. Several times we have noticed other campers not just taking advantage of a good thing, but potentially ruining it for the rest of us. We have seen people with tables and chairs out under their awning, small fenced in dog pens erected, large generators in the parking lot next to the rig running loud and smoky, tents and loud arguments over parking spaces. It takes every tactical maneuver I can muster to keep my husband from turning into a Walmart referee. He wants so badly to go over and give them a piece of his mind. He thinks he is Wyatt Earp. I tell him I didn’t start traveling to put up with non-campground conflict. If it bothers him so much I think we should avoid these overnight stays. Besides, I think it could be dangerous confronting people that obviously have no common sense. He loves your column and I think if he hears some advice from you he may listen. Thanks in advance.
--Up Against the Wall-mart in Earp, CA

Dear Up:
Don’t get down on your husband. Those kind of irresponsible actions can make sane people crazy. I agree, he should not try to be the “Law west of the Walmart.” I also agree that these people do jeopardize the convenience we all enjoy. Walmart has actually been challenged by interests that would like to see them discontinue overnight parking privileges. They refused to stop offering this service. They said it was another customer service they would continue to promote in locations that did not disallow it by city ordinance. One thing you can do, to help compensate for the inconsiderate few who abuse the service, is be a loyal, courteous customer. Let store management know you are shopping and thank them for allowing you to stay. Call ahead and ask permission, even if you know it is allowed. Often they like RV’s to congregate in a certain section of the parking lot. Also, things change and you never know when a new ordinance might restrict overnight parking. These are much better tactics than confrontation with parking lot neighbors. If your husband goes out at all be sure to have him check his guns at the door. If anything, let him walk around the parking lot with a very large, official looking badge and stare, but, make him promise he won’t talk to anyone.
--Keep Smilin’, Dr. R.V. Shrink



Anonymous said...

These people that park at WalMart should quit being so cheap and stay at an RV park that is safe and not full of people with no manners.

Anonymous said...

Tell him to keep his nose in his own business. I am sure Walmart will police what is acceptable. John Florida. (Too many people will nothing else to do).

Anonymous said...

Better yet try staying at a campground where there is no issue!

Anonymous said...

And you think rv parks are that safe?Get your head out of the sand.

Anonymous said...

These people who always make comments like "They should stay in an RV park where they belong" need to mind their own business. It is obvious that they don't do any long distance trips in an RV or they would know better. When you arrive in an area that is not your destination at 8-9pm, most RV offices are closed. They also are usually not open early in the morning when you want to leave. If they are open, to set-up in a RV park would take you until late into the night!!
A few hours in Walmart lot and you can be on your way early in the morning.

Anonymous said...

As one of the previous posts stated, my husband and I stay in WalMart parking lots only if we don't plan our time properly and end up needing too stop late. However, there are more and more WalMarts that don't allow RV parking. This usually isn't WalMart's decision but as a result of City Ordinance. Specifically, Yuma Arizona, and Lake Havasau Arizona. The RV parks have lobbied and made sure this regulation pass. From the parks' owner's perspective it is money out of their pockets and they are happy with that. I also agree that some people are too cheap to stay in a park. I know in Alaska there are RVers that pull in a WalMart parking lot and stay there for weeks. They often leave a mess behind and don't follow WalMart's request not to run generators. I don't know if there are any right answers. I think that WalMart should only be used for someone who arrives late or plans to leave extra early. Plus they need to make some purchases at that specific WalMart as a form of of at least some payment.

Jeff G said...

When my wife and I travel in our RV it is usually to a distant place where we will stay for an extended period. We want to make good time, and stopping early is not an option.

As a previous commenter suggested commercial campgrounds make it difficult - if not impossible - to stop in at 10 or 11 at night and be out by 8 or 9 the next morning. We are not cheap. We are using an alternative that meets our needs.

We are always courteous. We extend our jacks if necessary while extending our bedroom slide. We have nothing outside the rig that makes us look like long-term residents. And we ALWAYS make sure to shop in that Wal-mart and thank the manager if possible.

An entrepreneur is defined as someone who sees a need and fulfills it. In our case Wal-mart fulfills that need and the commercial campgrounds do not.

On another note, is it really necessary to be rude in comments on this - or any other - site? There is room for rational disagreement without mouthing off.

Anonymous said...

Many of the Walmarts that supposedly don't arow overnight parking REALLY DO IF YOU ASK PERMISSION! example: Flagstaff, AZ. While stopping to shop I noticed a sign at the entrance that says a city ordinance does not allow overnight parking. However, the store manager told me that the Walmart lot is private property and the city could not control who parked there. He said I was welcome to stay overnight.
I have stayed at several other Walmarts that are listed in the book as not allowing overnight stays. All that is necessary is to ask permission. I only stay at Walmarts due to late arrival and early departure.

Sunny One said...

We like staying at Walmart when we are en route and just need a few hours sleep. We don't do anything to make the outside of the rig look like a campsite, just roll in, close up and crash in bed. We do shop the store as well, either right after stopping or before we leave early in the morning. All that being said to show we are not rude violators of common sense, it would bug the heck out of me to see others obviously planning to enjoy the space as if they were at a paid campsite. BUT, I can't see saying anything to them. They are already either clueless or arrogant, and neither condition lends itself to a peaceful, easy conclusion when confronted about their activities.

We just get up and get going, minding our own business and let Walmart mind theirs.

Anonymous said...

Too many people will always take advantage of a good thing plus I have run into many people without "Common Courtesy" which makes the problem even worse. These same people also toss lit cigarettes out of moving vehicle without regard for the fires they may be starting along the road.

Anonymous said...

Sounds like you are staying overnight at Walmart WAY too much. If your husband wants to control a Walmart, he should buy one, or hire on as a security guard. Ohterwise let the store owner, manager, and security run THEIR business as they see fit and mind your own business.

mogul264 said...

With the filling all the forms required at legitimate campsites, as well as the cost and bother of attaching/detaching utility connections, a quick over-night at always friendly Wal-Marts is WAY preferable!

So, you say, why bother connecting water/power etc? Hey, I just paid for them, didn't I?

To be sure, I usually spend over $100 at Wal-Mart when I do stay there, and I have made plans for this in plotting my route!

Thank you, Wal-Mart, for being so amenable for all us, including the louts who try to ruin it for the rest of us!

Anonymous said...

We do stop occasionally at Wal-Marts and shop regularly. I find no harm to STAY overnight. We do not CAMP overnight. Like everything else, people are sometimes very inconsiderate and ignorant. These people do not think past the now. It would only take a second for a corporate decision to put a stop to all overnight stays. I would like people to think ahead at the ramification of a stupid decision.

A fellow RV'er