Welcome to Day 24 of Social Distancing, where the numbers of the days have nothing to do with how many weeks you've actually spent sitting inside your house eating your anxiety and reconsidering all your life choices and Facebook friendships.
Today I have a public service announcement for some of you, and you know who you are:
We are a month into the pandemic. It's time to learn the correct way to use the Target Drive-Up spots.
I realize that for many people, drive-up service at Target isn't something you relied on before last month. For those of us who have small children in carseats, however, it has been a critical service since it was introduced somewhere between three months and several years ago, depending on where you live. And even before "social distancing" joined our cultural lexicon, there were people who declined to follow the proper procedures in drive-up spots at Target.
Now that we're all using the service, this lack of discipline has gone from annoying and clueless to legitimately aggravating.
Unlike your grocery store, which probably just has a couple of parking spots with signs that indicate they're for pickup orders, Target has a slick little drive-through setup. Using it properly is apparently a challenge for some drivers, because it requires the ability to (a) read signs and (b) follow directions, and as anyone who's operated a motorcar in — well, ever — knows, those are skills that aren't universally embraced by licensed drivers.
This is the United States of America. We both invented and perfected the drive-through. WE CAN DO THIS.
First things first: Your Target drive-up area is NOT A REGULAR PARKING SPOT. You would think the gigantic red signpost would be a tip-off even when the ground is covered with snow, but no. Somehow people like to ignore this, park their cars there like they're normal spots and then go in and do their shopping, and those people deserve to have their RedCards revoked and popcorn husks shoved into their gums.
Some might say this would be a bridge too far. I wonder if it goes far enough.
I know the drive-up spots are close to the store. That's not for your benefit; it's for the store associates who have to shuttle back and forth with orders. Suck it up and park in one of the 976 parking spots that aren't clearly marked for drive-up. You're already complaining about not getting out of your house enough; you can walk the extra 50 feet.
If you do happen to be picking up a drive-up order, YOU STILL NEED TO LOOK AT THE SIGNS AND MARKINGS. Each side of the drive-up area has two lanes — not spots, lanes — with arrows marking the direction traffic should flow through them. Pull allllll the way through whichever lane is on your right (you know, the side of the street you allegedly drive on) as you approach the drive-up area.
Uh, OK, dummy, you may be thinking. What if there are already two cars in that lane?
Wow great point so glad you raised it I am so stumped OH WAIT NO I'M NOT. If there are two vehicles in the right-hand lane, you're going to have to level up your drive-up approach and DRIVE AROUND TO THE OTHER SIDE, then drive through the other lane in the appropriately marked direction.
Remember to pull all the way forward! This allows a car to pull in behind you and facilitates the smooth flow of traffic through the drive-up order area.
What if the car in front of you leaves before your order comes out? Great question! Pull forward. The spots are labeled #1 and #2. Don't be the clown who stays parked in #2, leaving #1 open for another clown to park in facing the opposite direction. That just plants the seeds for the whole thing to grow into a giant flowering clown tree, which defeats the entire point of the drive-up order lane setup, which is designed to keep traffic flowing in a single direction with zero reversing.
If it seems like I'm really excessively all-caps-ing this issue, it might be because last week when I went to pick up a Target order, I watched three other cars also attempt to pick up orders, and not one of them did it correctly. One pulled in halfway like a regular parking spot. Two others pulled all the way forward — driving the wrong way.
These are challenging times, folks. There are a lot of things we can't control, like epidemiology and virology and the fact that "Schitt's Creek" picked the exact worst time to end. Then there are things we can control, like following the CDC recommendation to mask up when we leave the house, tipping our delivery shoppers generously, and LEARNING TO USE THE G-D TARGET DRIVE-UP LANES CORRECTLY SO NO SUBURBAN MOMS LOSE THEIR S**T BECAUSE WE LITERALLY CANNOT RIGHT NOW, OK, BOB?