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Parking Payback

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Evelyn: [to girls who stole her parking space] Excuse me, I was waiting for that space.
Girl 1: Yeah? Tough!
Girl 2: Face it, lady, we're younger and faster.
Evelyn: [does slow burn, puts car in gear] Towanda! [slams car into back of the girls' Volkswagen three times, laughing]
Girl 1: [comes back] Help, someone! What are you doing?
Girl 2: Are you crazy?
Evelyn: Face it, girls, I'm older and have more insurance.

In Real Life, seeing someone park where they shouldn't (like a disabled parking spot when they're not actually disabled) or stealing the parking spot you've been patiently waiting for is incredibly frustrating. In fiction, a character might choose to take immediate revenge on the parking infringer, often in a humorous fashion (giving the audience vicarious satisfaction).

A subtrope of Disproportionate Retribution.

Note that these actions are often things that could get you arrested in Real Life.


    open/close all folders 

  • This Polish PSA starts with a man leaving a one-night stand with a beautiful woman, revealing himself to be paraplegic as he sits himself into his wheelchair. Then the woman's husband comes home, distraught by what he sees. Only then does the video reveal that it's a PSA about not parking in disabled spots.
    Paraplegic Man: What if I were the one to take your spot?
    [husband sobs in the background while his wife comforts him]

    Anime and Manga 
  • One episode of You're Under Arrest! has local Vigilante Man Strike Man getting angry at a bunch of cars parked right in front of a "No Parking" sign. He proceeds to deflate their tires as punishment.

    Comic Books 
  • In Harley Quinn Holiday Special #1, Harley is looking for a car to steal and decides to steal the one that is taking up two parking spaces.
  • According to Dave in Knights of the Dinner Table, Shiela once kidney punched him for parking in the disabled spot next to the Games Pit.

    Comic Strips 
  • Steve Dallas illegally parks his corvette in a handicapped spot in Bloom County. Milo wasn't able to move it, but he tried.
  • In Opus (in the same continuity), Pickles removed the wheels from a car parked in a handicapped space by someone who obviously wasn't physically disabled, and the last panel showed her revving up a chainsaw to trim down a Hummer parked in the compact car section.

    Fan Works 
  • The Havoc Side of the Force has a clear reference to the xkcd scene above, with Harry using a lightsaber to cut a speeder in two pieces to fit them in one parking space.

    Film Live-Action 
  • In 10 Things I Hate About You, protagonist Kat's least favourite person parks his shiny new sports car behind her, in the middle of the road. This is, itself, illegal and done specifically to annoy her, but Kat takes it a bit too far when she backs right into him, destroying the side.
    Mr. Stratford (Kat's dad): My insurance does not cover PMS!
  • At the beginning of Ali G Indahouse, Ali steals a handicapped spot at the leisure center from an old man, faking a limp. Later, after his car's wheels are stolen, Ali has to take his Nan's dinky little motorized scooter, which can't even drive the speed limit, and the old man swoops in and grabs the space before he can, Flipping the Bird to Ali with his prosthetic hand.
  • In Backdraft, a BMW is parked in front of a fire hydrant. The firefighters take a certain glee in smashing the car's windows so they can thread the hose through to the hydrant.
  • Bushwhacked: Scout Leader Erikson has a pretty mild version of it (in comparison to other examples on this page) involving super-gluing the label "I Am An Inconsiderate Person" to the driver's side window of the guy that deserved it.
  • Casino Royale (2006) sees Bond being mistaken for a member of the resort staff and ordered by a guest (with extreme condescension) to park his car. He does so - first flawlessly, and then, after a pause, accelerates out and reverses back in again hard enough to smash the front of the car behind him, divest the dickish guest's car of its rear bumper, knock over the parking barrier, and set off half a dozen car alarms. Then he tosses the keys somewhere into the chaos without looking and strides off. Nobody revenge-parks like James Bond. Helpfully, this also provided a diversion that allowed Bond to sneak into the security office.
  • Set up by the universe in Con Air. Malloy parks his car in a handicapped space early in the film, before everything goes to hell. Larkin steals the car to get to Lerner Airfield fast early in the third act, and it gets completely smashed shortly after he gets there.
  • In Fried Green Tomatoes, Evelyn rear-ends six times a car belonging to two rude girls that stole her parking spot. She uses the "older and more insurance" line from the Urban Legend.
  • At the end of Kenny, Kenny gets parked in by a yuppie who double parks his convertible next to Kenny's truck. Kenny fills the car with raw sewage from the truck's tank.
  • In Madea Goes to Jail, Madea's parking space is stolen by a snotty female driver. What does Madea do? She gets hold of a lifting crane, lifts the offending car into the air and out of the parking space, then unceremoniously drops the car onto the street for massive damage.
  • In Me, Myself & Irene, when Charlie sees a young football player drive a convertible up and park in the handicapped space (flaunting his unhandicapped status by leaping out over the door) it triggers Charlie's rage-fueled alter-ego Hank, who goes to town on the car with a trash bin. The football player then emerges from the store, helping the owner of the car who is a man in a neck brace. The owner is none too happy to see what Hank did to his car.
  • The "Interfilm" Mr. Payback included a jerk who parked in a handicap zone and offered the viewer several options as to how to punish him, including destroying the car, deflating his tires, and paralyzing him with a dart in order to "make it legal".
  • Office Space: When Lumbergh parks in the disabled parking space, the tow truck that tows his car away rips the rear bumper off.
  • Quick Change: Against Loomis' better judgement, he parks in front of a fire hydrant at Phyllis' urging, with her saying that they have enough money to pay the fine. While they are in the apartment, a fire breaks out in the building across the street and Loomis can only watch helplessly as the firemen push his car out of the way. It rolls down the hill, through a hedge, and down an embankment to crash into a park. Later, he sees it being towed away; completely trashed.
  • When Smith and DQ need a car in Shoot 'Em Up, Smith isn't particularly concerned that he has to steal a car, nor which car he picks. Then he sees an expensive one illegally parked in a handicap zone and immediately picks that one.
  • Xander Cage in xXx did the same thing as Bond in Casino Royale (2006) (see above), except 1) The victim in this case was a U.S. congressman who advocated some policies Xander disagreed with, 2) he was trying to be mistaken for an employee of the country club from which he stole it, and 3) he parked it in a canyon a few miles away from the country club. By jumping it off a bridge over said canyon.

  • There is an urban legend about an older woman who takes revenge on the sassy young thing who brazenly zips into the parking space she'd been waiting for. When she protests, the parking spot thief says, "That's how it is when you're young and quick." The woman puts her car into gear, floors the accelerator and rams the offending vehicle. When the sassy young thing screams in protest, the woman replies, "That's how it is when you're old and rich" (or "and have more insurance"). You can check out the legend and its variations at Snopes here.


    Live-Action TV 

In General:

  • Kenny Everett's 1980s sketch show on The BBC had a sketch where he crushed an illegally parked car under a tank.

By Series:

  • On 1000 Ways to Die, there was an episode where a jerk surfer took a handicapped parking spot to the displeasure of a disabled veteran; a disabled rights activist said that when he sees this, he usually leaves a "nice note" on the car with his key.
  • In the season 1 episode of Breaking Bad "Cancer Man", Walt circles a parking lot in order to cash a check at the credit union for his cancer treatment. When one finally becomes available, he is about to pull into it when a red BMW with the license plate "KEN WINS" races into the spot before him. Walt rages indignantly, but the suit wearing driver ignores him completely while obnoxiously talking into his headset. When Walt finally finds a spot, he walks into the bank only to find "Ken" there, still loudly yakking on his phone, to the intense annoyance of everyone there. Later in the same episode, Walt sees the same car parked outside a gas station. He shoves a wet squeegee in between the battery terminals of the BMW and nonchalantly walks away while the car bursts into flames.
  • We occasionally see the firefighters of House 51 smashing car windows to get to hydrants in Chicago Fire.
  • In the first episode of Crownies, Ben's grandfather parks in an able-bodied surfer who parked in a disabled spot. This one does not end well, as Ben's grandfather ultimately receives a beating that results in his death.
  • CSI: NY: In "Prey," a voice coach is murdered and one of the first suspects is the theater director he was working with at the time because the director's knuckles match bruises on the victim. Turns out, he'd beaten the man to a pulp for continually parking in the space with the director's name on it and laughing about it.
  • On Desperate Housewives, Susan trips the guy who takes her spot, grabs his keys to move his car, then closes the window on his neck when he attempts to stop her. However, it wasn't really just about the parking space; she was pissed off that her fiance and ex-boyfriend made her the prize in a poker game, and thus was not feeling kindly to any men at the time.
  • Elementary: At the start of "Up to Heaven and Down to Hell", a driver steals a parking spot from a limo driver who has been waiting for it. Ignoring the honking traffic building up behind him, the limo driver opens his trunk to extract something, obviously planning to inflict some vengeance on the offending car and/or driver. However, whatever payback he had planned in preempted when the other driver is killed by an elderly woman plunging off the balcony of an apartment building.
  • Hustle: In "Price of Fame", Benny Frazier parking in the ambulance zone at a hospital (and being rude to the staff member who asks him to move) is what first identifies him to Albert as a potential mark. This is a variation on the standard trope as the payback is not immediate and does not directly involve the car.
  • Jake and the Fatman: In "You Turned the Tables on Me", a pretty young prosecutor steals the parking space Jake has been waiting for. Jake takes revenge by stealing the distributor cap from her car, forcing her to get a ride home with him.
  • In Kingdom Hospital, the neurosurgeon Dr. Stegman loves parking where he shouldn't. Handicapped parking spot? No problem: he just covers the sign with a paper bag. There is some delight to be had in seeing his beloved Jaguar take ever more damage as the series progresses. He's such an asshole that he parks on the helipad, right when a helicopter needs to land!
  • The Guy Fawkes Night special episode of London's Burning saw Blue Watch forced to shove an entire street's worth of badly-parked cars out of the way to get to a house fire. In a Crowning Moment of Laser-Guided Karma, one of the more expensive vehicles that got its rear wing bashed in by the fire truck belonged to the obnoxious jerk whose carelessness with fireworks had started the fire in the first place.
  • One episode of Malcolm in the Middle saw Hal trying to get himself attacked so he can be a hero. He tries picking a fight by stealing a parking space...only to realise he stole a handicapped spot from a wheelchair user, who keys his car as he embarrassedly drives away.
  • A memorable sketch on Saturday Night Live had a man played by Christopher Walken on a TV show about pulling pranks, and the prank he played on a man who kept stealing his parking spot... murdering him.
    Walken: I jumped out and I pranked him! To death with a tire iron!
  • On Seinfeld, Kramer convinces George to park in a handicapped space when they can't find anywhere else to park at the mall ("Handicapped people, they don't even want to park there, they want to be treated just like everybody else. That's why those spaces are always empty."). When they come back, it turns out that a woman who uses a wheelchair had injured herself as a result of not being able to park in the space, and an angry mob is waiting for the owners of the car - and eventually demolish it. To make matters worse, the car belonged to George's father, who is arrested in the middle of his United Volunteers meeting, right after receiving an award for all the fundraising he did to help buy wheelchairs for disabled people. In The Tag, the gang are back at the same mall and again cannot find a parking space, so Kramer tries convincing George to park in front of the fire hydrant.
  • Third Watch had an episode where the fire crew had to break through a car's windows to get to the hydrant. The car owner was none too pleased and came to the firehouse wielding a gun.

  • Upon seeing a person parked in a handicapped spot, the title character of "Super Cop" by Ray Stevens shoots the owner of the car in the foot and says, "You're handicapped now!"

    New Media 
  • Website That Will Buff Out has the heading "Douchebag Parkers" which delights in suggesting this sort of revenge and taking pictures of it. (Please do not try any of these at home, it is one of the quickest ways to get either a criminal record, or a punch in the face.)

    Stand-Up Comedy 
  • Jeff Dunham's Walter puppet talks about running down a man who parks in handicap spots to "make an honest man out of him." When his actually handicapped mother gets out of the car to scream at him, Walter takes her out with the door.
  • Denis Leary's "I'm an asshole!" song has a line about this...
    I park my car in handicapped spaces while handicapped people make handicapped faces - I'm an asshole! (He's an asshole, he's an asshole...)

    Video Games 

    Web Animation 
  • Etra chan saw it!:
    • Azami tells her baking class students to park their car on other people's parking spaces without asking for their permission. Karin is annoyed by this as her parking space is often used by them when she returns home with her car, she decides to confront Azami about it, but she keeps insisting that the parking space is free when she is not using it. After being fed up with Azami's nonsense, Karin blocks her own occupied parking space with her car, preventing one of the students to leave. A few days later, another car shows up parked in Karin's parking space again, prompting her to do the same thing as she did before.
    • Kuroki has to deal with his noisy neighbors who block the parking lot of his apartment with their van, this causes him to snap and damage it with a bicycle. A tough looking guy, Tachibana arrives after Kuroki damaged the van, causing him to think that he was the owner of the van, however, Tachibana is actually one of the neighbors who got annoyed by the noises, and he takes another bicycle to damage the van further. The noisy neighbors end up being intimidated by Tachibana and they eventually move out from the apartment, with the damaged van being towed by a tow truck.
    • Azami heard about Yuri parking in Kuroki and Karin's parking space with the payment of $200 although she is using the parking space for free. Against their wishes, Azami parked her van during times when Yuri is away. One day, she left her van way past the time Yuri got back from work. Kuroki and Karin were forced to call the police. Azami found a notice on her van demanding her to pay $300 every time she uses the parking space or be sued by them. The neighbors found about Azami's antics when the police demanded that Azami remove her van through a megaphone. Akamatsu and Tachibana has had enough of Azami and made her go back to paying a parking service.
  • Manga-Waido: A mom parks on Sho's private property. He tried to stop her several times with signs, but she refused to heed the warning. Eventually he destroyed her car windows with baseballs, but it was later revealed that it was all a prank, and her car is fine.
  • Refreshing Stories: Nobue kept parking her car on her neighbor Hiroshi's garage. She began to annoy Hiroshi and his wife by making noise even late into the night. So Hiroshi decided to get back at her when she went overseas by allowing the construction workers to destroy the garage on account of a typhoon that would have destroyed her car, so he allowed it to get flooded instead.
  • Tanabata Manga:
    • Miyuki finds her parking space being occupied by a car in the parking lot, she later decides to inform the landlord about the car, leading him to call a tow truck to have it towed. However, the woman who owns the car returns to the parking lot and starts kicking Miyuki's car out of anger and tries to steal her belongings as well, causing her to be arrested.
    • MC and his brother find a car parked at their fields, the occupants are a couple of delinquents who saw the spot as a free parking space and a littering area. When MC tried to stop the couple by putting a sign on the car's windshield, they ignored it and threw more garbage, angering MC and his brother. MC confronts the delinquent couple when their car is present; however, the couple refuses to stop and the girlfriend threatens to sue him for a scratch on the car. MC's brother resorts to digging the spot where the car is usually parked and fill the hole with gravel and stones to give the delinquent couple a lesson. The neighbors also chew them out for their actions and refuse to help them to get their car out of the hole, forcing the couple to call a tow truck and embarassing themselves in the process.
  • Trouble Busters: Elisha parked her RV on Michelle and her husband's private parking space without their permission. Michelle locked the RV and the gate with chains and padlocks and left for her vacation. When they returned a week later, Elisha and her husband Joseph yelled at Michelle and her husband, saying that they had to carry all the equipment by foot. Michelle exposed the couple's trespassing on the neighborhood meeting, and they were forced to move out due to nobody speaking to them after that.

  • In The Whiteboard, one character parked in the no-parking zone in front of the loading bay of Doc's paintball shop/underground fortress. Doc's friends proceeded to drive a heavy excavator through said bay as if the car weren't there.
  • Black Hat of xkcd fame does not tolerate double-parkers.

    Web Original 
  • In this Not Always Friendly story a young woman steals the submitter's assigned parking space at the apartment complex where the submitter lives. After reasoning with the woman just gets the submitter insulted, the submitter simply informs the manager who has the offending woman's car towed.

    Western Animation 
  • Parodied in The Amazing World of Gumball episode "The Parking": an old man takes a parking spot the Watterson family were going for, so Nicole starts scribbling on his car in lipstick. One of her kids points out why this isn't a good idea.
    Darwin: Mrs. Mom?
    Nicole: Yes, sweetheart?
    (Darwin points offscreen, Nicole notices the car she vandalized is in a handicapped spot)
    Darwin: That's really bad.
    Nicole: Oh, I—what? You thought I was defacing this poor person's car? What kind of a mother would do that? I was... uh... I was making a decorative piece of art showing my love for diversity, because everyone is different, uh—look, see?
    (Nicole redraws her scribbles into a friendly mural of people holding hands)
    Darwin: (whispers) No, I meant, look.
    (the camera pulls back to show the driver is still in the car, staring at her)
    Nicole: I see. Well, in that case... run.
  • In the Batman: The Animated Series episode "Fear of Victory", Batman intercepts someone he thinks is the Scarecrow, delivering a fear drug-tainted telegram as part of his latest scheme. It's actually a perfectly ordinary delivery man, with a perfectly ordinary telegram — and he utterly freaks, thinking that Batman's there to punish him for double-parking.
  • In The Boondocks episode "Stinkmeaner Strikes Back", mild-mannered Tom DuBois experiences a Moment of Weakness when an ill-tempered gangster steals his parking spot. Frustrated, Tom gets possessed by the spirit of Stinkmeaner and confronts the gangster, laying him out with a dropkick.
  • C.O.P.S. (Animated Series): When Ms. Demeanour is made to wear a mind-altering tiara that forces her to abide to the law, she finds a car parked three inches out of a space into a red zone and lifts it out by hand, destroying its tires (and presumably its suspension) when she drops it back down.
  • In an episode of YooHoo & Friends, Santa Claus parks his sleigh in front of Father Time's house. Father Time uses his magical powers to move the sleigh so it is front of a fire hydrant, causing Santa Claus to get a ticket.

    Real Life 
  • Occurs frequently to people who park in handicapped spaces without an obvious disability. Actually a pretty terrible idea in real life, as many people have bone, muscle, heart or lung conditions that aren't visible to the outside observer but make walking long distances painful or impossible. In addition to dealing with a handicap, such people frequently have their cars vandalized by people who assume they're cheating the system.
  • In Real Life in 2011 the mayor of a town in Lithuania posed for photographers after crushing what he claimed was an illegally parked car with an armored car.
  • Casey Neistat filmed himself crashing his bike into everything parked in a bike lane to point out how often they're blocked off. See here.
  • In Poland, an offender might often find a sticker with an image of a penis and a message that roughly translates to "You get a penalty dick for parking like a dickhead". And it's usually really hard to peel off.
    • This actually started in France with the "Garé comme une merde" (parked like shit) stickers. There are endless variations, like "Garé du Coté Obscur de la Force" (parked on the Dark Side of the Force).
  • There is one sure-fire way to find yourself on the receiving end of this: Park in front of a Fire Hydrant. Firefighters have no time to politely ask you to move your car, so, they'll just smash the window and thread the hose through. Do we need to mention that fire hoses tend to spray water all over where they joined to the hydrant? Like all over the inside of your car? Or, they'll force your car out of the way with one of their trucks.note  And for bonus points, if you think you can get away with suing the department for the damages... good luck. Not only will you lose the case horribly, you'll also have to pay a hefty fine for your poor parking decision, on top of the repair cost. Oh, and did we forget to mention that your insurance rates may even go up as a result?
    • Similarly, anyone who parks right on the rear bumper of an ambulance (you should give them at least six feet) is obstructing the loading and unloading of the stretcher, which can cause a critical delay in a life-threatening emergency. It's not unheard of for the medics to just unload the stretcher anyway — directly onto the offending car's hood. Oh, and good luck with that ticket for obstructing an emergency vehicle.
  • Part of the "Stop a Douchebag" movement involves this. If you park illegally and refuse to move, they'll put a sticker on your windshield that reads(translated from Russian) "I don't care about other people, I park where I please."
  • In cities that receive a lot of snowfall during the winter, such as Chicago and Boston, residents have to spend hours shoveling snow to create a parking spot, and thus usually "reserve" it with chairs or trashcans. If you decide to remove the clutter and park there anyway, residents will retaliate. Consequences range from harmless pranks such as dumping snow over your car to vandalism and even fights.
  • Similarly, snow belt cities often have additional restrictions on parking during the winter note  in order to more easily facilitate snowplowing. Violate these rules and a ticket may be the least of your worries; at best, you're likely to find your car trapped in an island of snow when you walk out to it in the morning. At worst? A snowplow at speed can generate a lot of momentum, and it doesn't have to even hit your car to cause significant damage - a solid chunk of ice flung off a plow blade with enough velocity can easily smash a window or put a serious dent in the bodywork.