What Fresh Hell Is This?

January 18, 2011

Sleepless in Pittsburgh

Is it against the law to take a nap in your car in a Giant Eagle parking lot? Apparently it is -- or it will at least get you hassled by a Pittsburgh Police officer.

My sister Sue took me shopping at the South Side Giant Eagle on Sunday morning. She waited in her car while I was shopping. Being a working mom with two kindergarten-and-under-age kids, she put the seat back and took a nap while waiting (so, no, not slumped over the steering wheel in possible distress).

She woke up to a Pittsburgh Policeman knocking on her window asking if anything was wrong. She told the office that she was just napping and the officer told her that she couldn't sleep there. She did explain that she was waiting for a patron in the store and he repeated that she couldn't sleep there.

Anyone know if there's actually a law against this? Was the officer merely enforcing some Giant Eagle policy or was this some vagrancy thing?

What would that law/policy look like? Could someone take a nap in a car while someone else was in the car awake? Are there age restrictions? I mean, would they, say, wake a sleeping toddler?

I could see how the store might not want people taking up spaces meant for patrons to take a snooze, but I really don't see that being a problem in this lot. And, her car was basically empty so it didn't look like she was living out of it.

I just thought the whole thing was weird and my sister was sufficiently shook up to get out of the car and go into the store to buy things that she didn't need.



Ol' Froth said...

There certainly isn't a state law about such a thing, although there may be a city ordinance regulating that. More likely, someone notified the store that there was an unconcious person in the lot, the store called the police, and it developed from there. Not sure why your sister was asked to move along unless the store asked the police to have her removed.

Anonymous said...

I believe that the Pittsburgh police seen at Giant Eagle are paid by the store. Even if not,
My first move would have been to go straight to the store manager to complain. I would let it be clearly known that, if I have to worry about being rousted for nodding off while my wife shops in Giant Eagle, I will never stop there, again.

Maria said...

Ol' Froth: She did consider that someone may have called 911, but given that her seat was reclined all the way back, that possibilty is not as likely as who thinks to recline their seat before passing out?

gtl: I have seen enough officers in and outside the store often enough to think that they are hired by the store -- the same way that bars do.

I'll also add that this store has many gypsy cabs regularly parked in the lot looking for riders that do seem to be tolorated by both the store and the police. I personally don't begrudge the cabs because, as a non driver, I have used them from time to time.

Ol' Froth said...

who thinks to recline their seat before passing out?

You'd be surprised...