Saturday, October 20, 2007

Seriously, why do all Trader Joe's parking lots SUCK?

Today my lovely wife and I drove to the brand spanking new Trader Joe's in Northeast Portland. Built on the site of an old 24 Hour Fitness, it's a great deal larger than other Trader Joe's spots in town, and we enjoy the wide aisles and larger selection of merchandise. As it was being built, we fervently hoped that its parking situation would compare favorably to other Trader Joe's stores in town. To put it bluntly, whoever designs their parking lots needs to have his license revoked, and needs to be forcibly exiled to some sort of car-less island that will never feel the need for a parking lot. The reason is this: every Trader Joe's parking lot in Portland SUCKS. They are horrible. The entrances and exits seem haphazardly placed, cars careen through them like bumper cars driven by drunken 12 year olds, carts float aimlessly about, and the whole enterprise seems like the antithesis of a Rube Goldberg contraption: everything is designed to be completely incompatible with everything else, nothing works, and it is ugly to boot.

So fast-forward to our first trip to the new NE Portland Trader Joe's. With so much space, you think they'd have a much better parking lot, no? NO! It sucks! It's no better than the others, and, in fact, it's worse, because there's so much more traffic with which to contend. I saw some jagoff driving a SUV with an "Obama 2008" bumper sticker lose his stuff and nearly get into a brawl with a women who took his spot. Now, in her defense, she had no way of knowing she was taking his spot because the lot is so poorly designed: every parking spot can be accessed from about eight directions, and drivers in 7 of those directions can't see any other cars waiting for the spot. Argh. To say the least, it's a massive exercise in frustration. There's got to be nepotism or something going on, like the guy who designs the parking lots is the brother-in-law of the CEO. SOMETHING. Because nobody sensible would possibly design even one of those lots, much less all of them. Are Trader Joe's everywhere this bad? Can somebody explain? Don't the Germans own Trader Joe's? Is this some sort of revenge for WWII?