Reader Monica Abbott spotted this sign near the Sears Hardware at Essex Green shopping center in West Orange and sent it our way. Charming, we admit, but stork parking (as it’s called) does raise some interesting questions, and some gripes. What, for example, about new fathers? Don’t they have babies to lug around too? How about the merely fat? People with great big packages to return? Those who didn’t dress warmly enough?

And then there are all those Type A’s, people who might burst a blood vessel if they lose a second or two. We wouldn’t want to see parking lots filled with exploding lawyers and CEO’s, would we? But what would the pictograph be if we conferred parking tickets on the Type A’s? A shark, maybe. And the wording? Because you’re faster, and meaner. Or perhaps, You rule the world. Others can walk. Anyone not driving a foreign car gets ticketed.

72 replies on “Stork Privileges”

  1. Oh, no! What if all the handicapped spots are taken, and a handicapped driver parks in the stork spot? Knock-down-drag-out battle royale!

  2. Brookdale ShopRite (the one on Broad and Bellevue in Bloomfield) has had a similar sign for quite a while. I thought it was rather civilized.

  3. I don’t get Lisa Woerly’s article. If pregnancy is NOT a disability then why did we get all those disability checks from the state when Mrs. Right of Center was pregnant?

  4. I like it. Watching my wife toddle around like a house on pegs when she was preggers was painful enough. Hearing the tales of the rudeness of strangers, people who couldn’t be bothered to give up a seat or hold a door for someone who’s about to birth the person who will pay for their retirement was just sad. C’mon, how would you have wanted people to treat your mother when she was pregnant with you? Just seems right to give them a break. And thank God I’m a man.
    When my sister had triplets she got a temporary handicapped thingy to hang from the rear-view mirror of her minivan. Not sure if it was to help her with the kids or because she was dangerously sleep deprived for twelve months.

  5. Oh, and was Lisa Woerly’s article idiotic or what? Maybe stores are catering to new mothers because they spend so much dang money, not because of any state law. Won’t be long before other stores realize that a woman with two kids spends four times as much as a woman with none (or a man, for that matter.) If I were Target or Kmart, I would have all the spaces near the store reserved for new mothers.
    And she actually makes the argument that women used to work in the fields until hours before giving birth (so they don’t really need any special treatment, qed)–well, Lisa, women used to be pretty much the property of their husbands too, so I guess they don’t really need freedom or equal opportunity. They should just toughen up! Maybe her next article will be on the shock and dismay of women owning property and (gasp) voting!
    Sheesh, what a maroon.

  6. This is a BIG pet peeve of mine. Pregnancy is NOT a disability! More often than not, it’s a personal choice, so Bed. Made. Lie.
    In additon, I’m not sure these signs are 100% legal.
    Now if someone has a genuine medical disability caused by her pregnancy, I can see her getting a handicapped sticker for her car.
    But, in general, if a woman has the strength to shop in a mall or supermarket, she can damn well walk a few extra steps in the parking lot.

  7. Martta,
    I thought you were a libertarian!
    If ShopRite wants to cater to pregnant women why shouldn’t it be legal? You want Government to tell them how to run their parking lot?

  8. p.s. Martta would your logic carry over to smoking related health issues like COPD?
    so Bed. Made. Lie?

  9. If it’s on private property then I guess I have no other choice than to do my shopping elsewhere.
    Hey, I have a bad cold today and I feel like crap. I don’t feel like parking far away from the store. Is there a special parking space for people with colds?
    Don’t you see the absurdity of this situation?

  10. “would your logic carry over to smoking related health issues like COPD?”
    No, because this is a medical condition, an illness, which may or may not have been caused by smoking. (It could have been work-related or environmentally caused).

  11. Well Martta I don’t expect the world to treat everyone the same in trivial matters.
    I’ll admit I get up for pregnant women and old people on the train in an unequal fashion.
    Hope you feel better and have electricity through out the entire day !

  12. Martta, I know someone with COPD and since they smoked for 40 years and worked a desk job, I think we can safely say his COPD was totally related to his *choice* to smoke.
    Should he return his disability checks?

  13. ROC: Being rabidly anti-smoking, I have to admit that this is a tough question, indeed. I had an aunt who suffered from COPD due to smoking and I saw the misery it brought her. In the last few months of her life, she carried oxygen with her. Do I think my aunt made a bad choice to smoke? Yes. Would I deny her a handicapped space or disability payments? No, because she was in poor health. She suffered enough, bad choice or not.
    Not quite the same as pregnancy, which is not a “disease” but a woman’s choice to bring a life into the world.

  14. Geesh, Martta….it’s a darn sign and it’s gonna cause you to “shop elsewhere”?
    I agree that pregnancy is not a disability, but it’s certainly not physically pleasant and can use a little consideration. I give my seat up for elderly AND pregnant women when on the subway. It’s not as if I’d say “Hey, you’re the one who got knocked up so just stand there and suffer with your swollen ankles”. Similarly, I wouldnt say “Hey, you shoulda taken better care of yourself when you were 40 and then you wouldnt be a crippled 80 yr old”.
    Your say if women can go shopping then they can walk in the parking lot? Umm, sometimes shopping is a *necessity* and many women don’t have families to do it. What if Pregnant Woman A’s husband is off fighting in the Iraq War and she needs groceries, yet her ankles are teh size of thighs?

  15. bigtime OT:
    Totally OT but lots of rumors that Zarqawi’s been caught in Iraq. Lets hope it is true.

  16. For the record, I’d give up my subway seat, too, for an elderly person or pregnant woman. But you cannot convince me that pregnancy falls in the same category as “disability!” They don’t deserve special accommodations, period.
    It’s just another symptom of the PC times we live in. Today, every special interest group wants — and DEMANDS — special treatment. Did anyone ever say “no” to these people when they were growing up?

  17. “lots of rumors that Zarqawi’s been caught in Iraq. Lets hope it is true.”
    Hope so…although haven’t seen anything on AP just yet.

  18. Martta,
    I think I would agree with you if hordes of pregnant women were “demanding” special treatment and priviledged parking, but is that the case here?
    Some stores in a rather blatant attempt to pander to a key shopping demographic have offered preferential treatment.
    Smart business practice if you ask me.
    Now the minute anyone starts claiming a “right” to better parking then I will lock arms with you in pitched protest.

  19. p.s.
    More annoying to me are the NON-disabled “I’ll just be a sec” Volvo owners at the valley road starbucks parking in the handicaped spot.

  20. Well, if they really want to look at shopping demographics they should look to child-free people who have more disposable income!

  21. Martta,
    “to child-free people who have more disposable income!”
    What do you think the TV channel Bravo is all about!

  22. Where’s a Hy-Vee store? And what does it sell? I’ve never knowingly driven past one anywhere in Jersey, let alone in the semi-mythic boundaries of Baristaville.

  23. Martta-
    You may have more disposable income because you don’t have kids, but doesn’t that just mean you’re not spending it?
    Torturous logic aside, take it from me and my brutal experience: women with children are spending more money at Sears than you are and more frequently. Disposable income is spent at places like Fascino. When Fascino puts in spots for expectant moms then I will join you in not going there.

  24. i’m 32 weeks pregnant and personally LOVE the stork spot at the essex green. when we go to see movies there it makes it a bit easier. btw: there’s only one or two spots, and if someone’s there we park farther away, no biggie. it’s not like these are taking up all the “good” spots either! there are plenty of other close spots!
    anyway, essex green is the only one around with the stork spots besides ones at BabiesRUs that are all filled up — and since i RARELY see montclair residents swarming en masse over to the sears hardware, macy’s, AAA, panera bread or pet store “way over there” in west orange — really what is the big deal for people on this site?? just shop at your pricey king’s, simplice and fresh fields stores and see artsy movies at your miniscule claridge and leave essex green alone!
    all in all, it’s simply a nice small consideration for pregnant women and new moms. it’s not like we’re get valet parking and red carpets or anything! sheesh!
    that article debbie linked us to was CLEARLY written by a woman who was NEVER PREGNANT. she’s full of CRAP. and you know what, i DO need to sit down a lot and i can’t walk as far! and now especially in the winter months with icy parking lots, etc. it is very much appreciated.
    pregnant women didn’t ASK for the sign, but if it’s there — i think it is a polite thing to have in a society that is increasingly crass and selfish.
    miss marta when you say, “They don’t deserve special accommodations, period.” i just have to believe that you have never been pregnant either! there is no WAY you would say that if you had endured 40 weeks in a state of heartburn, edema, incontinence, insomnia, backaches, nausea, loose joints, hormonal swings, shortness of breath and exhaustion!! so please, gimme a break and let us have our little parking spot!

  25. Hey Jessica… don’t go tarring us all with the same brush, right now it’s four to one on this board in favor of preggy-parking.
    Oh, and Lisa Woerly wants you to get back out in the fields and start picking those crops.

  26. Let ’em have special spots for handicapped, pregnant, and old folks. Everyone else can use the exercise!
    > Torturous logic
    Lex, no comment on your assessment either way, but I *think* the word you want is “tortuous.”

  27. “miss marta when you say, ‘They don’t deserve special accommodations, period.’ i just have to believe that you have never been pregnant either! there is no WAY you would say that if you had endured 40 weeks in a state of heartburn, edema, incontinence, insomnia, backaches, nausea, loose joints, hormonal swings, shortness of breath and exhaustion!!”
    Thank, God!! But being child-free is as much of a choice for me as getting pregnant was for you. But, unlike you, I don’t ask society to make accommodations for my choice re: lower taxes and other bennies.

  28. Martta,
    But maybe you should. If there is anything simple, inexpensive and trivial which could be as much as a benefit to you as a close parking spot is to a pregnant woman, maybe you should ask.
    What a nice world we could have if we all tried to find cheap ‘bennies’ which make the daily grind of others easier.
    p.s. wanna know something *really* freaky. I still open doors for women and always enter after them. (what a sicko, eh?)

  29. wow, I thought the piece was written without bias. A little tongue in cheek, perhaps, but without bias.
    Me, I agree the store has the right to post the signs and I have the right to ignore them. Just as I would a sign that not no parking for Irish or pick your whatever.
    I usually park in the back of the lot and walk to the store, unless I see a stork sign.

  30. “p.s. wanna know something *really* freaky. I still open doors for women and always enter after them. (what a sicko, eh?)”
    ROC: Why do you assume I have no manners? I hold the door open for EVERYONE: women, men, the elderly, the pregnant, cute dogs, heck, I’d even hold the door for you and Lex..:-)
    …that’s just common courtesy and has nothing to do with special accommodations!

  31. Martta,
    Sorry I didn’t mean to imply you had no manners. I know for a fact that you do.
    “Me, I agree the store has the right to post the signs and I have the right to ignore them. Just as I would a sign that not no parking for Irish or pick your whatever.”
    Especially those “10 Items or less” signs, or even those “please wait to be seated” signs so demanding at restraunts.
    In fact, ours is such a indivdualistic society one should always ignore the contextual behavorial requests of the merchants upon whose property we tread.
    Kevin’s ideas are sure to lead to a more civil and less selfish community.

  32. Come on, Kevin….that’s just a bit childish and rude, don’t you think? Are you that stubborn that you can’t respect the fact that a store wants to be courteous to it’s pregnant customers? I guess it’s easy to be a prick when it doesn’t affect you personally.
    Would you park in the spot marked “General Manager” or “Employees Only” ??
    Sometimes people just choose to resist something just to be annoying, arrogant, egotistical, stubborn, or what not. Certainly doesn’t hurt me to walk a few extra feet and I’d definitely like to make life easier for my fellow women.
    ps- i think there should be spots for ‘temporary disabilities’ too, like people w/ broken limbs, etc!

  33. >
    Well, isn’t giving a parking spot to a pregnant woman (in physical distress) just common courtesy too?? Is accusing all these pregnant woman of just being overly demanding or wanting ‘special rights’ really courteous???
    You say that they “chose” that discomfort, so therefore should have no “accomodations”…
    Christopher Reeve “chose” to ride a horse and he broke his back..should he have had no accomodations? Plenty of people are disabled b/c they smoke, drank, ate, or otherwise were very unhealthy when younger. Should they receive no accomodations?
    Lighten up! For someone professing to be courteous, you’re sounding pretty accusatory and rude.

  34. >>
    There’s a big difference between parking spots for dog breeds and a parking spot for a pregnant woman.
    I always find the simplicity of some people amusing…you’re able to equate labradors with pregnancy…while others equate gay marriage with bestiality. Someone needs a lesson on similes and metaphors.

  35. wow.
    Concordance (well some) with Butch! I may keel over. Although it is funny to read a lecture on comity which includes the word “prick”.

  36. Concordance, well, ok a tiny bit. I only refer to the first of her posts at Kevin.
    The rest I distance myself from on principle.

  37. I have to agree with Jessica on this one. Pregnant women didn’t ask for these spots, but they ARE a wonderful courtesy. Getting around when pregnant, especially in the last two months or so, is NOT easy, particularly if you’re out of breath, have muscle aches, etc. And as far as I am concerned, the shorter an unweildy pregnant woman’s walk through an icy parking lot, the better. This Lisa woman is really full of it. Pregnancy is NOT a disability, but it IS a condition–and whether or not one has chosen to be pregnant is really irrelevant to this discussion.
    I only wish they had had these signs when I was pregnant eight and 13 years ago.

  38. I didn’t have a “humorectomy”..but given that you posted a LAME joke not just once, but TWICE, I figured someone ought to correct you. Especially given that so many people would be dead serious about it.

  39. Chris – I think the turn of phrase I was looking for called for “tortured”, although it’s synonymous with torturous, AFAIK. Did you mean tortious? I try to avoid that sort of logic, especially in as lawyer-filled a town as GR.

  40. I always find it funny that the same people who always throw out the “it was their choice” argument are also people who believe in a 100% free market w/ no restrictions, etc. So it works like this…those capitalists and their system BENEFITS from overconsumption, but then they complain about the ramifications of it.
    From a purely capitalist vantage point, pregnant women are producing a next generation of consumers to make the lovely capitalist system continue to “succeed”. If everyone stop producing children, who’d buy all the crap that creates all the jobs and makes all the stockholder’s wealthy? You want to treat pregnant women poorly, but yet they contribute to billions in spending on maternal & baby product stuff.
    Same w/ fat people…the more people overconsume, then the better all those companies do. But then people complain about how annoying the fat people are. Hey, let’s do away with all the absolutely nutrionalist food and stop putting candy machines in junior highs, etc and obesity would be drastically cut…but,t hat’d hurt the capitalist society, which is why there’s massive lobbying against it.

  41. “I consider it a courtesy to call out prickiness!”
    Such cordiality is revelatory indeed.

  42. I’m not going to be cordial to someone who clearly isn’t cordial in return. Not really a turn-the-other cheek kinda person.

  43. “Same w/ fat people…the more people overconsume, then the better all those companies do.”
    What an insensitive thing to say. Sizeophobic even. People of size are so aflicted only from “overconsumption”?
    What about genetic factors. It is not choice it is genetic!

  44. I would just like to say how nice it is that today’s 40+ post “Barista Topic O’ the Day! ™” had nothing to do with the whole red/blue thing.
    This whole argument’s still pretty inane though.
    Butch, trying to drag Marxist theory into this makes it all too postmodern, don’t you think?

  45. Lex,
    I think there are some possibly interesting memes floating through this thread.
    ARE we obligated to follow the rules at a business we patronize?
    Is it rude to lecture someone on rudeness while calling them a “prick”?
    Learning the meaning of “Comity” (it is my newly learned word-of-the-day!)
    These are worthy subjects. Maybe in an infinitesimally small way these discussions might help us all be more civil and accommodating.

  46. ROC- Did you make some sort of New Year’s resolution we should all know about? What’s with the “civil and accomodating” all of a sudden? And what happened to the guy who thought we were heading for the decline and fall because of the triviality of our arguments?

  47. I’ve always rolled my eyes at those stork parking signs, too, and sometimes park in them, even though my nonpregnant condition disqualifies me. I do agree that if merchants are going to offer them, they should be offered to new parents, not just new moms. I see them as another “child friendly” courtesy that merchants offer their customers, just like those fold-down changing tables in restrooms. (Whenever I see one in a woman’s restroom, I always wonder if the men’s restroom comes similarly equipped or if the merchant has decided that only women change diapers.)
    My opinion is this: just like it’s my choice to offer a seat on public transportation to a pregnant woman, new parent, someone elderly or otherwise encumbered (and I always have), a merchant has the same choice to offer such accommodations in their store. Customers choose to shop at one store over another for all sorts of reasons, including preferential parking for preggos. Hey, I prefer to shop at the local Safeway because they have a Starbucks.
    How about suggesting to the local merchants who have stork parking that they sponsor some special accommodations for their childfree/childless customers, like late-night “no kids” shopping hours? I hate to hear shrieking children when I’m in the supermarket and usually shop late at night to avoid encountering them. This could be a members-only club like those silly savings club cards that supermarkets issue. (How about offering additional savings during those hours? Or other freebies or perks geared towards adults?) And now that I think of it, such “no kids” shopping hours would probably go over big with some parents. As long as merchants didn’t call it “no kids” shopping hours.

  48. What an insensitive thing to say. Sizeophobic even. People of size are so aflicted only from “overconsumption”?
    I say that as a fat person!
    And yes, there are plenty of people who think that!

  49. The Hy-Vee store where the “stork parking” sign so clearly incensed Lisa Woerly has to be somewhere in the Midwest, since that’s where Hy-Vee stores can be found. Places like Kansas, SD and Iowa. States where a gentler way of life perhaps predominates. States that mainly voted Republican during the last election, where folks just naturally offer such niceties to pregnant women.
    Couldn’t resist that one. And isn’t Sears by virtue of its cultural orientation more of a Midwestern operation too?

  50. Having grown up in Kansas and spent 75% of my life there (I’ve only been in this region for 6 yrs)…I can tell you that people aren’t really much nicer. Things are just different. There’s a LOT more racism, sexism, and tons of homophobia. Sometimes things are “gentle” on the surface, but downright nasty deep below. That happens everywhere.
    On the other hand, there is a calmer, more laid back way of life there…mostly b/c there’s not a lot to do, nor a lot of congestion, so being laid back is pretty lax. It’s more of an urban vs rural lifestyle thing. Doesn’t necessarily have to do with any inherent goodness, niceness or gentility.

  51. got cut off…
    on top of that, i know PLENTY of stubborn Kansans (half in my family, LOL) who would think this was ridiculous and tout the same “special treatment” stuff that was spouted here.

  52. Lex,
    “what happened to the guy who thought we were heading for the decline and fall because of the triviality of our arguments?”
    Well I am still convinced there are forces which pull us towards “decline and fall”. It is not inevitable (thank goodness now less so). However it is not the innanity of all arguments which poses a risk but rather the subject of some innanity.
    Arguing about stork signs poses now real risk (or reward). But debating such things like military recruiter telephone calls during wartime poses risks. Such innanity misses the forest for the trees.

  53. “debating such things… poses risks.”
    Well, no pain no gain, to treat a serious subject with inanity.
    But at last I learned a new word–thanks Chris! So is the phrase “tortured logic” really a ba*tardization of “tortuous logic”? (Keeping to the no bad words rule, Barista!)

  54. A little more digging, and I learn something new, too — and stand corrected, sort of. I apologize, Lex(icographer?).
    From: https://dictionary.reference.com/search?r=10&q=tortuous
    “Usage Note: Although tortuous and torturous both come from the Latin word torqure, ‘to twist,’ their primary meanings are distinct. Tortuous means ‘twisting’ (a tortuous road) or by extension ‘complex’ or ‘devious.’ Torturous refers primarily to torture and the pain associated with it. However, torturous also can be used in the sense of ‘twisted’ or ‘strained,’ and tortured is an even stronger synonym: tortured reasoning.”
    I had been going by “The Elements of Style” (Strunk & White): “A winding road is tortuous, a painful ordeal is torturous. Both words carry the idea of ‘twist,’ the twist having been a form of torture.”
    And, finally, from https://www.bbc.co.uk/dna/h2g2/A453296:
    “The word ‘torture’ comes from the Latin verb torquere, meaning ‘to twist’. Torture is usually defined as severe pain inflicted for punishment or coercion, or as extreme physical or mental suffering; but ‘to twist’ still lies at the heart of what torture is all about. Torture twists the body, mind, and spirit of the victim; it twists the essence of what it is to be a person out of the human body, and reduces what’s left to the level of a worm, existing in a horrible instant, without hopes or dreams, dignity or identity.”
    Sorry to go so far afield — from storkiness to dorkiness.

  55. Just reading this and my Karl Rove behavior collar is blinking menacingly. I think that definition of torture is currently under revisio…….lhoijhau..jflkj’asfdd’aslkj lksjdfk l’ksjlk……………..

  56. p.s. if anyone knows the definition of Torture it would be the Bathist Broadcasting Corporation!

  57. The fact that this is a controversy at all is pretty amusing. Number one, it’s private property. The company that owns the place can put up parking restriction signs, Christmas creches, even stinking animal carcasses if it likes, depending on its own philosophy and they type of clientele it wants to attract (or discourage.) Number two, it’s not like it’s a law that carries any penalty harsher than perhaps a dirty look from a pregnant mom who had to park farther away. If your car were ticketed or towed for parking in that space, then maybe you’d have a legitimate argument.
    That being said, when I was hugely pregnant and toting a toddler as well, the only special parking I liked was close to the cart check, not the store (being the type of person who puts her cart away at the cart check. . .) That had nothing to do with any degree of “disability” but because I could return the cart without leaving a child unattended in the car, or filling the car with the child loose in the cart (instead of buckled in the car seat), taking child and cart to the cart check, removing child from cart and trying to push it one-handed into the other carts, carrying the child back across the lot and >then

  58. Here Miss Marta, pregnancy technically is a handicap aka disability. Don’t argue w/the dictionary!
    hand·i·cap (hnd-kp)
    A physical, mental, or emotional condition that interferes with one’s normal functioning.
    Source: The American Heritage√Ç¬Æ Stedman’s Medical Dictionary
    Copyright © 2002, 2001, 1995 by Houghton Mifflin Company. Published by Houghton Mifflin Company.
    Source: Merriam-Webster Dictionary of Law, © 1996 Merriam-Webster, Inc.
    Main Entry: hand·i·cap
    Pronunciation: ‘han-di-“kap
    Function: noun
    : a disadvantage that makes achievement unusually difficult; especially : a physical disability

  59. I’m late reading this thread but have to post my 2cents. I’m currently pregnant and originally from Canada where we are given 26 weeks of maternity leave by employers. Imagine my surprise to learn that there is NO SUCH THING in the US. None! But… if we have health/medical insurance, we are allowed 6 weeks of “short-term disability” leave. Hmmm…not a disability huh? Then why will I be paid for short-term disability?

  60. Kimberly, yeah, the US is not very good about any time off compared to many countries. I believe, under the Famaly Medical Leave Act, the you are also entitiled to 12 weeks of unpaid leave. Not sure of the rules but I used that to take off time when my kids were born. My company gives one week off with pay for a birth. I was allowed to take unpaid leave after that.
    And thanks Bill Clinton for the FMLA!

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