Who do you agree with - me or my dp regarding cars w/ doors left open in parking lots? - Mothering Forums

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#1 of 47 Old 07-29-2008, 12:17 PM - Thread Starter
 
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A couple of weeks ago I was leaving the library with my 2 yr old and passed a minivan with the side door left open. I paused for a minute to see if anyone was getting out but that wasn't the case. I then walked over and peeked in. There were no animals left in the van or any other reason I could see as to why the door was left open.

I decided to shut the door for the following reasons:

1. I figured it was left open by mistake
2. There were 2 carseats in the car so I figured if I went back into the library to page the owner, she'd have to drag both kids out with her to the lot to shut the door.
3. I didn't want her battery to die while at the library and be stuck there with young ones while waiting for help
4. I was lazy and didn't feel like backtracking with my toddler all the way back into the library to have an announcement made

My dh says I should have left it because it's usually better to just leave things alone. I see his point and if it had just been a window left all the way down I would have left it alone. I think a lot of my response had to do with seeing it was a vehicle likely used by someone with young children, like myself, and I would have wanted someone to close my door had I left it open.


WWYD? In retrospect, I know it would have been best to go back to the library and have a worker make an announcement. This was during a very popular story time so most of the parents would likely be in one room, making it easier to find the car owner. If I could have thought of a logical reason for the door to be left all the way open I would have just left things alone but I couldn't.

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#2 of 47 Old 07-29-2008, 12:22 PM
 
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she accidentally left it open and would be eternally grateful for your actions.
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#3 of 47 Old 07-29-2008, 12:32 PM
 
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50/50 Either the owner felt like it was a secure enough place that s/he decided to leave it open so the car wouldn't be hot when they returned... or in the bustle of stroller/ sling/ "don't go out in the street!"/ "where did your other library book go?!" they got distracted and left it open unintentionally. So maybe you made someones day (although they probably don't know because they didn't realise they left it like that) or you annoyed someone. It's impossible to say.

Buuuut... your boyfriend has a point. If the owner of the van came out just as you were closing the door... "Hey! What the heck were you doing in my van!" etc...
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#4 of 47 Old 07-29-2008, 12:33 PM
 
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she accidentally left it open and would be eternally grateful for your actions.
: She or her older child.

My almost 7 yr old ds sometimes has to be reminded that the door needs to be closed.

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#5 of 47 Old 07-29-2008, 12:35 PM
 
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A few weeks ago I came out of Target in the hammering down rain to see the cart guy standing by my car. He said I had left my car door open and he shut it, but he was on the radio having me paged so he could let me know. I was forever grateful and felt pretty damn stupid. I mean, it was WIDE open. Who does that? Busy people with cranky toddlers and needy 7 year olds.

I would have closed it, but probably left a note, just in case.
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#6 of 47 Old 07-29-2008, 12:37 PM
 
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I think you did the right thing. That would suck if she came out to a dead battery. When I was younger and we would see cars in parking lots with their headlights left on my dad would always try to open the door and turn them off for the person. I don't see that as much anymore because most people have cars that beep if the lights are left on when they turn the car off now.
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#7 of 47 Old 07-29-2008, 12:38 PM - Thread Starter
 
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Originally Posted by kama'aina mama View Post
Buuuut... your boyfriend has a point. If the owner of the van came out just as you were closing the door... "Hey! What the heck were you doing in my van!" etc...
Yikes! I didn't even think of that scenerio. I think I was just viewing the situation as a mom whereas my dp was being more objective.


Thanks for the responses so far!

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#8 of 47 Old 07-29-2008, 12:41 PM
 
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ppsstt... hey y'all... men have kids and drive them around in minivans, too...
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#9 of 47 Old 07-29-2008, 12:42 PM
 
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I think the best choice is trying to find the owner.
I don't think it is a big deal to close it if you don't see anyone after waiting a few minutes.

Maybe they were airing it out?

Also, just because there are carseats in the car does not mean someone has kids with them- or is a woman- or that the person is there alone with young kids.

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#10 of 47 Old 07-29-2008, 12:42 PM
 
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The only thing I can think of is that maybe the van driver planned on getting *so many* books at the library that his/her arms would be full to overflowing and s/he left the van door open so s/he'd be able to just stack the books inside without having to juggle books and van door.

But, nah, I think you did the right thing.
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#11 of 47 Old 07-29-2008, 01:09 PM
 
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My 6 year old is forever lingering a few feet behind me as we're getting out of the car. She often times leaves the car door open. I would have shut it too.
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#12 of 47 Old 07-29-2008, 01:12 PM
 
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what is with these 6 and 7 yr olds

and cranky toddlers??
:

Just kidding of course, since that is my life.

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#13 of 47 Old 07-29-2008, 01:19 PM
 
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Sure - there may be reasons that she (or he - there kama-aina mama) left it open. BUT - I think you did the right thing. I'd bet it was left open accidentally. Most likely - it wouldn't have killed her battery though. Most van light shut off after the door is open for a bit.
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#14 of 47 Old 07-29-2008, 01:24 PM
 
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Originally Posted by betterparent View Post
she accidentally left it open and would be eternally grateful for your actions.
:

I have done this exact same thing at the library, and returned to my van after story time to find that my seat and my DD's car seat were soaking wet, since it had been raining.

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#15 of 47 Old 07-29-2008, 01:28 PM
 
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I would be very very happy that you had shut the door.

I have left our side doors or back hatch open a few times..as DS usually shuts his side by himself and I forget to check(it can open and shut by pressing a button just inside the door).

Or the button that is on the remote gets hit and opens the door\back hatch and it gets left open all night or in the parking lot of the Post Office while I am inside.
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#16 of 47 Old 07-29-2008, 01:48 PM
 
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Someone did this to me once.

And locked my keys in the van with their kindness (yes I am the type to forget both the keys and the door!!)

I don't ever do it to anyone else because of that, but I would go inside and ask them to announce it over the PA.

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#17 of 47 Old 07-29-2008, 01:57 PM
 
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Where I used to live, particularly, car seats were a popular item to steal. An open door would have been too inviting for some would-be thieves. I've known many a parent who is stranded somewhere with a kid because someone stole the car seat out of their car and had to call a family member or friend to go buy another one and come pick them up. Unless the thief cut the seat belts to get the car seat out in which case the parent is totally screwed.

Oddly enough, if someone stole my car, I'd send a thank you note, but for the love of god, leave the car seats on the curb! And then steal my car...really, steal it (anyone want to know where I live so they can steal my car?)

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#18 of 47 Old 07-29-2008, 02:02 PM
 
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Having been this parent, I thank you for closing my door. I also appreciate you not announcing on the PA system what I dunce I am.
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#19 of 47 Old 07-29-2008, 02:04 PM
 
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Originally Posted by ramama View Post
Where I used to live, particularly, car seats were a popular item to steal. An open door would have been too inviting for some would-be thieves. I've known many a parent who is stranded somewhere with a kid because someone stole the car seat out of their car and had to call a family member or friend to go buy another one and come pick them up. Unless the thief cut the seat belts to get the car seat out in which case the parent is totally screwed.

Oddly enough, if someone stole my car, I'd send a thank you note, but for the love of god, leave the car seats on the curb! And then steal my car...really, steal it (anyone want to know where I live so they can steal my car?)
OMG seriously?!? That's pretty low! :

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#20 of 47 Old 07-29-2008, 02:20 PM
 
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I would have shut it. I can see myself leaving a door open because of being busy getting the kids and our stuff out of the car.
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#21 of 47 Old 07-29-2008, 02:40 PM
 
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Someone did this to me once.

And locked my keys in the van with their kindness (yes I am the type to forget both the keys and the door!!)

Honestly..... as MUCH as that would have sucked (and I think we can all agree it is HORRIBLE to lock your keys in your car, and you have that sinking, I'M STUCK feeling in the pit of your stomach)..... I would almost prefer having my keys locked in the car, rather than having my car door with open, WITH KEYS, so that someone doesn't even need to break in -- they can just get in and drive away. An open car door in a parking lot has the potential to attract attention, and if someone tries to get inside..... and sees you have left your keys as well.... not good.

Do you want to know something horrible that *I* did??

In one of my old cars, that I would sometimes use the key in the handle to lock the door (the remote didn't always work to lock it), I occasionally locked the door, but then left the key just sticking out of the door lock!!!! WHY???? I still ask myself to this day. It was an open invitation for someone to steal my car, and I would feel sick when I come out to my car and see that my keys are just hanging off the door!!
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#22 of 47 Old 07-29-2008, 03:09 PM
 
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I noticed an open trunk once while leaving a restaurant. I went back inside and had the owner paged, instead of closing it. I did this because I did not want to be accused of stealing anything out of their trunk while closing it. It is sad, but that is just the way the world works in this day So I probably would not have closed someone's car door, for fear of getting yelled at : I would have gone in to have the person paged, though.

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#23 of 47 Old 07-29-2008, 03:22 PM
 
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I closed someones door once in the Target parking lot. They looked like they just put their packages in the car then left to go to another store in the center. I mean, shopping bags on the seat and the door wide open?

I shut it and went on about my day. I would have appreciated it if someone did that for me if I was ever to leave my door wide open.
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#24 of 47 Old 07-29-2008, 03:46 PM
 
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And then steal my car...really, steal it (anyone want to know where I live so they can steal my car?)
Move here...I've had mine stolen twice!
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#25 of 47 Old 07-29-2008, 03:47 PM
 
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I would have probably left it alone...mostly because I would worry that they had the door open for a reason (they were loading the car, etc.).
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#26 of 47 Old 07-29-2008, 04:47 PM
 
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I would close it. My husband once left our trunk open all night at our house. It's a hatchback, so that's the same thing as leaving the whole car open. Oy.

My advice may not be appropriate for you. That's ok. You are just fine how you are and I am the right kind of me.

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#27 of 47 Old 07-29-2008, 04:59 PM
 
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Someone did this to me once.

And locked my keys in the van with their kindness (yes I am the type to forget both the keys and the door!!)

I don't ever do it to anyone else because of that, but I would go inside and ask them to announce it over the PA.
Yeah... I can actually think of several reasons someone might deliberately leave the door open:

* The door latch mechanism just broke. They haven't had an opportunity to get it fixed yet (say, they discovered it on the way out the door this morning) and it's a PITA to open the door because of it (requires special tools or something). So they had plans, didn't want to disappoint the kids, and decided to just take the van but leave the door open.

* Someone who has MCS was accidentally exposed to something nasty and, not realizing it, brought the chemical traces into the car with them. They're trying to get it aired out as quickly as possible, but can't interrupt their children's routine.

* A small child spilled an entire bottle of water all over the floor of the van on the way to the library. Mom hopes it will dry out by the time they get done, and not mildew and create a huge stinking mess and cleaning bill.

* Their toddler had a screaming meltdown last time they closed the door on the way in to the library. This time, mom promised they could leave the door open.

Now, sure, there are probably other ways to handle these situations, and maybe none of these are *likely*... but, having had a lot of damage done to my car from someone "helpfully" locking the unlocked door for me (that I had left unlocked on purpose, because I'd rather only replace the crappy radio, not the crappy radio *and* a smashed window), I just wouldn't mess with it.

I might go into the library and notify an employee, if I saw it on my way in or if there was an imminent issue (threatening rain, high-crime area). But mostly I'd assume it would be ok, and the person would come back, feel silly, and next time double-check the door.
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#28 of 47 Old 07-29-2008, 05:20 PM - Thread Starter
 
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Sure - there may be reasons that she (or he - there kama-aina mama) left it open. BUT - I think you did the right thing. I'd bet it was left open accidentally. Most likely - it wouldn't have killed her battery though. Most van light shut off after the door is open for a bit.
Ah, I did not know that about van lights shutting off on their own. I drive a 10 yr old car that doesn't have such advanced technology so that didn't occur to me.

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ppsstt... hey y'all... men have kids and drive them around in minivans, too...
Duly noted! I was just too lazy to be more inclusive with my language. There is a fair amount of SAHDs in this area.

I thank everyone who weighed in. I think that from now on, should I encounter such a thing again, I'll try and have the owner found.

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#29 of 47 Old 07-29-2008, 05:49 PM
 
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The door to my Odyssey used to open by itself when there was no one around so it could have popped open by itself. I could lock three of the doors using the remote, but not the passenger side door. I have seen a few other Odysseys in the area with their passenger side doors open so maybe they are having the same problem.

However, probably would have left it or gone inside and let someone in the store know.

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#30 of 47 Old 07-29-2008, 05:52 PM
 
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Man, I want one of those vans with lights that turn off automatically. None of the minivans we own do that!
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