Thursday, December 15, 2011

Ethics and Values

I'm going to try a new thing here where I lay out a situation in which I faced an ethical dilemma and anyone can comment on whether or not my actions were ok.

Tonight I went to Little Caesars. Classy, I know. Was this an ethical move?

...Just kidding that's not the ethical dilemma. Hot, ready, $5...why WOULDN'T you go there? (This is not a paid advertisement for Little Caesars, I'm just trying to look less white trash-y.) So I went to Little Caesars which is located in a small strip mall, so there's not much parking. The three spots right in front of the store were taken up, so I went to park on the far side of left-most car, only to find that this driver had chosen to park their car well outside of the lines. It was egregious; they were taking up like a third of the spot I was trying to park in. The parking lot was well lit, so I had a hard time believing that this person couldn't see the lines. It had to be a willful disregard of parking lot etiquette.

So I thought, "Hey, I drive a compact car. I bet I could still fit my car in that spot, while also teaching the driver of this stupid blue minivan a lesson not to hog two spots for no damn reason, since my car will be too close to it for them to be able to enter their vehicle on the drivers side." Never mind the fact that the spot one more over was very much vacant, and I could have easily parked there without causing any controversy. If I had parked there, I would have been ONE SPOT FARTHER AWAY from Little Caesars. I would have had to take, like, THREE extra steps (SIX!!! if you count round trip) to get my pizza. Unacceptable. Plus I wouldn't have been teaching anyone a lesson.

I was right, sort of. I fit my car in the spot with my wheels ON the white line on my left side, and my rear view mirror pretty much touching the other car's on my right side, so technically I stayed within the spot, right?

I go into Little Caesars and there are only two other customers inside. One is a young woman, probably around 20, and the other is a grandma. I didn't look that close, but, like, pushing 70 and couldn't get around very quickly. And I'm thinking to myself, "What are the chances that that minivan belongs to that 20 year old? About 2%. What are the chances it belongs to the grandma? 2000%." "Shit," I think. Now I'm not being an avenger of parking justice, I'm being an ass to the elderly.

The grandma finished up at the register and it was my turn- I got my pizza and paid as quickly as possible so that I could get back out there and move my car before grandma had to stand outside in the freezing temperatures any longer because I stubbornly blocked her in.

As I walked out the door, there she was, putting her pizza in the unblocked passenger side of the car, and starting to walk around to the driver's side. I powerwalked over to my car, very determinedly looking at nothing but the pavement directly in front of my feet, got in, started it, and backed out faster than I ever would have if I was, say, late for work. All the while, grandma is just standing on the pavement at the front edge of her car, probably giving me a dirty, judgmental look and shivering in the cold. I don't know for sure because I was too ashamed to actually look at her. I didn't need to see her scorn to be punished.

So there you go, comrades. Obviously I shouldn't discriminate against the elderly, but not knowing who drove that minivan, was I justified in somewhat jerk-ily blocking them in to send the message that they need to pick just one spot to park in? I feel like this incident, and the need to do things like this, speaks volumes about my psyche.

1 comment:

  1. The classic error of attribution. I wouldn't lose any sleep over it since, as long as that old lady has been alive, i'm sure she's done some heinous immoral act at some point in her life and thus, deserves the inconvenience. It could be worse. When i was at BYU, i was storing my toothbrush in a drawer in my dorm so to avoid a recent spree of gross toothbrush related pranks. Most mornings i noticed tiny, dark-colored fragments on my toothbrush. I chalked it up to harmless chipped wood from the desk and, compared to the feeling of sheer horror and humiliation associated with brushing with a post-pranked toothbrush, i thought it was totally worth it. One morning when i opened the drawer, roaches of all shapes and grotesque shades of brown scurried away and i finally realized that i was brushing my teeth with roach shit toothpaste and and had been for the entire semester. This was a costly error of attribution. As if waking up at BYU every morning wasn't enough of a nightmare, my toothbrush served as a water hole and simultaneous toilet to a family of roaches.