Parallel Parking for Sociopaths

Telecommunications giant Sprint recently launched an ad campaign called "Waitless," the gist of which seems to be that one of its plans allows customers unlimited calling two hours earlier than other companies do, thereby saving "four years of waiting over a lifetime."

To illustrate the point, sort of, Sprint has a series of short spots depicting additional time-saving tips. Many if not most are harmless enough. Then there’s this ad. For maximum effect, be sure to have your speakers on. See if your stomach jumps the first time you watch, as mine did.

Note how the vehicle coming in the opposite direction is labeled an "obstacle," while the fleeing pedestrians don’t even rate as such. Note how this maneuver is supposedly possible at a speed of just over 20 miles per hour. Note how "Turbo Parking" is advertised as saving one week of the motorist’s life, with no mention of how it might shorten the lives of humans who must scramble out of the way.  

Sure, it’s just a commercial, and it’s a pretty nifty piece of stunt driving, no doubt. But why must car manufacturers and other companies so often portray vehicles being used in an illegal and deadly manner? How long before the "Closed Course/Professional Driver/Do Not Attempt" approach is considered gauche — or is prohibited by law, like cigarette ads?

  • Gary

    They made an entire (and entirely awful) movie out of this crap. . . “The Fast and the Furious Tokyo Drift”.

    I watched about 5 minutes of it in a Reading, PA hotel room, mouth agape.

    A commercial, not so bad. A feature length movie marketed to teen and tween boys is a far worse atrocity.

  • Ian D

    It’s also interesting that the “Don’t even think about it” is written quite large, but I didn’t even see it the first 2 times I watched because it is shown as the “action” is taking place and you’re most distracted, and it is blended into the scene background.

    I can’t argue – it is very obvious but only when you look for it.

  • Clarence

    Even more ironic…

    After the “Turbo Park” the driver exiting the vehicle would have been killed himself while crossing the street in that manner by a vehicle doing exactaly what he did just seconds earlier.

    Also a little ridiculous: why the urgency to park? After doing so he exits the vehicle so slowly and peacefully. It seems a little strange even if you are not a bike/ped advocate..

  • Notwithstanding the horrible message, the reformed motorhead in me can’t help but enjoy the stunt.

    The king of these kind of parking maneuvers is a guy named Russ Swift. He can drop a car into a space just 33cm longer than the car itself.

  • Brooklyn

    This thread threatens to turn schoolmarmish. This is like tsk-tsking a cyclist who dares to ride no-handed.

    A driver with this level of skill is not going to run down a pedestrian because they’re juggling a cell phone, or fail to steer because they just got their nails done, or reaching back because their brat is screaming from the child seat.

    Remember, it’s the perpetually stupid and incompetent that we should worry about.

  • Yeah, I have a hard time getting upset about this.

  • yeehaa

    This is a commercial on how to shorten your tires life. From 30k to 5k miles.

  • It’s not the most egregious ad but it’s a nice warm up. With football season and the baseball pennant stretch upon us, I’m sure there’ll be plenty of Ad Nauseam material hitting the airwaves.

  • Jim

    C’mon, it’s just a goofy ad. There’s no public policy significance here.

    Plus that stunt dates at least as far back as “The Blues Brothers” (1980) — that’s how Jake and Elwood get a spot in front of the chic restaurant where Mr. Fabulous is Maitre d’.

  • mork

    C’mon, it’s just a goofy ad. There’s no public policy significance here.

    Maybe. But it does highlight the cultural milieu we’re in, in which driving maniacally dangerously is not seen as having any consequence.

ALSO ON STREETSBLOG

The Unintended Consequences of Trimming Alt-Side Parking Hours

|
I remember alternate side of the street parking. It was 1974, and I was underemployed and living on West 22nd Street. My tiny Renault and I were regular participants in the twice-a-week “slide” that Matt Flegenheimer described in his Monday Times story on Council Member Ydanis Rodriguez’s bill to bar police from ticketing alternate-side-parked cars once […]

Shoup to O’Toole: The Market for Parking Is Anything But Free

|
We’re reprinting this reply [PDF] from UCLA professor Donald Shoup, author of the High Cost of Free Parking, to Randal O’Toole, the libertarian Cato Institute senior fellow who refuses to acknowledge the role of massive government intervention in the market for parking, and the effect this has had on America’s car dependence. It’s an excellent […]