Saturday, July 13, 2013

Walmart Smart

Dear Dr. R.V. Shrink:
We have spent many nights in Walmart parking lots the past several years during our travels. We call them our pit stops. Every couple of weeks we do our shopping, buy a pizza and have a movie night with a Redbox movie. However, my wife Florence is getting a little over protective of our shopping center campsites. We see people camped as though they are living at Walmart. We see people leaving trash behind. Walmart’s hospitality seems to be attracting more homeless people, eking out a living on the parking lot fringes, begging with signs and even setting up tents. It is quite a contrast to see expensive motorhomes parked near shelter tents, both attracted by the same thing, free camping. I think we should all act responsibly, but I don’t think it’s my wife’s job to referee the Walmart camping policy. She hasn’t yet started to lecture people, but she gets very upset when she sees things she doesn’t approve. I get an earful and everyone else just continues to act irresponsible. Is this normal? It always causes an argument if I don’t act as disgusted as she is.
--Going with the “Floe” in Bozeman

Dear Floe:
Many people are observing the same thing as the two of you. Eventually, Walmart will suspend overnight privileges if it becomes more of a problem than it’s worth to management. Most stores that prohibit overnight parking currently are governed by policies forced on them by local ordinance. That does not mean Walmart as a company will not suspend this “customer service” if people abuse this convenience and wear out our welcome. It is not your wife’s responsibility or place to confront people in the parking lot. I would hope she understands the dangers in doing so. Walmart is very capable of managing their property without a traveling neighborhood watch vigilante making rounds for them. I would advise always calling ahead to be sure overnight parking is allowed. Often online or print information is outdated. Also, management will direct you to areas they would like to see you parked. Always let them know how much you appreciate the space and make them aware if you are doing some shopping in their store. If ninety percent of us who use their facilities show some respect, perhaps they will overlook the ten percent that take it for granted. Usually you are parked out on the fringes of the lot. Collect stray shopping carts and park them in the corrals, “Leave No Trace” when you depart, don’t run your generator or put your slides out, don’t use your hydraulic jacks on soft, hot pavement. Maybe even pick up some of the trash around your spot. Just use common sense and hope that the majority of others do the same. Be a spectator, not a referee. If you are going to argue about the shortcomings of others, just remember, never go to bed mad, stay up and fight.  
--Keep Smilin’, Dr. R.V. Shrink 


walt66 said...

Totally agree with the article. It's not our job to enforce Wal-Mart's security or parking issues. With that said I do not agree with the term "neighborhood watch vigilante"
Neighborhood watches serve a useful purpose and are not inherently "vigilantes".
If I were in the situation where the place is overrun with street people, I'd move on down the road.

James O'Briant said...

There are numerous Walmarts -- located in areas where it's legal for them to allow Overnight RV Parking -- where the Store Manager has banned Overnight RV Parking anyway. When it's legal but not allowed by the manager, it's almost always because of abuse by RVers, abuse of the type described in this article.

Jim O'Briant
CEO & Administrator

PapPappy said...

It might be a lot easier, to just show the same "disgust" as DW....and honestly, you should! These people who abuse the situation, are ruining it for you too.
I am upset about these abuses, and do my best to make sure that I am not behaving that way....but as mentioned, it isn't going to make things better, if you become confrontational

Fred said...

We've been fulltime for almost 4 years and spend an average of 25-30 nights a year in Wal-mart lots with our 34ft fifth wheel, but we spend about $4,000-$5,000 per year at Wal-marts across the country, so it's a win/win for both of us. We have a policy of wherever we stay free or cheap(as in a National Forest Campground)we spend some time going around the area with our pickup tools and pick up all the trash, even cigarette butts, to show our appreciation for the free or cheap accomodations. That not only makes the stay for others in the future more eye appealing but also helps with the labor costs for the area's management. And as a bonus we get our exercise for the day. Even if it's an abandoned building in a small town that we pull in behind, we try to clean up the area.

Anonymous said...

WE use Walmart 2-3 times a year and when we do I always ask permission. I also ask if we can extend the slides and levellers indicating that I use large blocks under the levellers. No problems so far. IN many places Walmart has overnight security and they can move along people who are objectionable to Walmart.

Anonymous said...

Bozeman's Walmart is across the street from the Homeless food distribution area. It has had up to 40 "campers" at it at times.

Anonymous said...

Please note, I was told by a business that if I asked to park in their lot, they had to say no, because that made them liable for us. If we parked without asking, they didn't care at all. Therefore I opt to not ask and take the chance we will be asked to move later.

Bluebird Bob said...

Do you think those "people" that make a mess or live almost permanently in WalMart care what we think? I think not!