Don Your Way column: Quit moaning, pay for your parking and stop being tightwads!

Darren Burke wants shoppers to stick to the rules.
Darren Burke wants shoppers to stick to the rules.

News reaches the Don Your Way desk that customers at a Doncaster town centre store are getting themselves in a bit of a lather about parking fines being dished out to shoppers outstaying their welcome on the premises.

The B&M store near North Bridge (older readers will know it as the former Church View Tesco supermarket) has started handing out parking charges to customers who go over their allotted time.

Space prevents me from the exact ins and out and whys and wherefores of the rules, but needless to say, this has caused some upset when £50 fines have turned up on the doorstep and there’s talk of boycotts and demonstrations at the store.

Now anyone who has lived and worked in Doncaster for many years will know that that particular car park has long been used by motorists as a free and easy option for handy and convenient town centre parking.

It happened when it was Tesco, it happened when the store closed down and it’s happened since it became B&M.

Slap bang next to the Frenchgate, which of course charges for parking, it’s the car park of choice for the tightwads who want the luxury of being able to get their car right into the town centre but don’t feel the need to pay for that privilege.

OK, we all like to get something for nothing once in a while, but we all know the car park is for B&M customers and not for anyone who fancies doing a leisurely bit of shopping elsewhere.

Now, I’m not saying the customers who were lumbered with charges were doing that, but we all know plenty of people who park precisely where they are not meant to knowing full well that they are in the wrong.

If you came out of your house one day and found someone parked on your drive, you’d quite rightly be seething.

When I go to watch Doncaster Rovers at the Keepmoat, I could park somewhere else because it’s nearer and cheaper or free. But I don’t. I hand over my fiver and park in the official car parks.

If I go to The Dome, I’ll park up in their car park, even if it can be an awkward one to get out of after a busy show, because its their car park. Yes, I could park up over the road at the Asda, but having been left hopping mad when I’ve been trying to find a space to do my shopping when there’s a big concert on over the road, I know what it feels like to get it from the other side of the coin.

B&M quite rightly want to protect the car park for their customers – and if whacking great fines and deterrents are the way to do it from the parking firm in charge of running the set-up, then so be it.

As is often the case, it is the poor shop staff who have to face the wrath of angry customers – dealing with fuming shoppers instead of being allowed to get on with their jobs.

If people stick to the rules then life will be a lot easier for all.