Linda Poon is a staff writer at CityLab covering science and urban technology, including smart cities and climate change. She previously covered global health and development for NPR’s Goats and Soda blog.
Here’s one way to express your anger at the guy who took up two parking spots.
When you’re behind the wheel, there are a lot of things that fuel road rage: people who don’t use blinkers, those who cut you off, and perhaps worst of all, a truly abysmal parking job.
I’ve seen pick-up trucks take up four parking spaces, sports cars illegally parked in handicapped spots, and drivers who pull up so close to my door that I’ve had to contort my body in ways I thought weren’t possible.
For $12, you can buy a pack of 10 magnets emblazoned with snarky insults. Whenever you see a badly parked car, just slap the magnet on and breathe a sigh of (passive-aggressive) relief.
“What [the buyers] are paying for is essentially satisfaction,” says Peter Vandendriesse, one of the three founders of Do Your Park. But he also views them as part of a public awareness campaign. “They’re kind a mission to reform parking in [people’s] areas,” he adds.
Vandendriesse, a visual designer, does the drawings. He and co-founders Alain Glanzman and James Noonan brainstorm humorous ways of telling the guy next to you just how much of a jerk he is. They borrow references from pop culture, like a magnet depicting beloved kitschy painter Bob Ross.
“Sometimes we have to reign it in,” Vandendriesse says with a laugh. They try not to make their insults too offensive, but “the nature of leaving a message on a poorly parked car is inherently crude,” he acknowledges.
At the bottom of each magnet, below the insult, there’s a very clear message: “Park better. Pass it on.”
That’s in part why the notes are magnetic. “When someone receives one, we hope that he will hang on to it and reuse it down the line,” Vandendriesse says.
In a way, he adds, this is more than about giving a bad driver a piece of your mind. It’s also a chance for offenders to redeem themselves.