Chicagoist Publishes Guide On Proper ‘Dibs’ Protocols

Graphic credit: Chicagoist via

Graphic credit: Chicagoist via

Chicagoist Editor Chuck Sudo could perhaps be called the Miss Manners of winter dibs parking in Chicago.

On the heels of this year’s first winter (technically late autumn) snowstorm, Sudo opines extensively on the Do’s and Don’ts of using broken lawn furniture or other junk to “reserve” a street parking space you just shoveled out.

The editors of The Expired Meter are strongly opposed to this storied Chicago winter tradition because…well because it’s stupid and drivers don’t have any proprietary claim to the public way.

But the Chicagoist piece is quite extensive and can serve as a great resource for those Chicagoans who insist on embracing this repulsive tradition.

Perhaps Sudo’s best proffered advice is:

Finally, don’t snake someone’s spot. People get really confrontational. Personally I’ve had my spot snaked multiple times, dibs stolen, etc. and while I might get cranky I’ve never done anything because I’m only kind of a jerk. I’ve seen folks have their cars keyed or damaged otherwise—I had to stop someone from doing this once. Some people straight up fist fight over it. It’s just not worth it.

Here’s the full story, “Chicagoist’s Guide To Proper Dibs Protocol.”

5 Responses to Chicagoist Publishes Guide On Proper ‘Dibs’ Protocols

  1. Lee says:

    Thank you for taking a stand on the idea that drivers don’t have any proprietary claim to the public way! Totally agree. Those trying to claim dibs shouldn’t be surprised if their dibs junk gets moved to the sidewalk by a passerby like me who won’t tolerate people staking illegitimate claims to publicly owned and maintained space that I’m paying for.

  2. Bob says:

    If the little bit of snow this week invokes dibs, then dibs has gotten out of control.

  3. B says:

    Not sure if people have tired of my social observations, but here I go again. “Dibs” is the usual sort of social patch of the bad behavior of people who don’t shovel a spot but then take a clean one. If it wasn’t for these lazy people “Dibs” would not exist.

    What I don’t understand is why the lazy aren’t targeted specifically. It’s the same people in the same area every day. Digital photos now can aid memory. If social pressure were used such that everyone or almost everyone shoveled the spot their car was in the day it snowed, the problem would be resolved at its root cause. Instead a visitor to an area has to be wary his car will be vandalized for parking in any clean spot. Who knows if someone else didn’t remove someone’s marker?

    Meanwhile if Bob cleaned parking space 4 and then on his return took clean parking space 7 (because someone else is parked in space 4) is he in the wrong? No. But under dibs his car gets vandalized. Instead dibs makes Bob clean out space 8, which will usually contain the snow of space 7 too… Eventually people like Bob who don’t play this stupid game have shoveled much of the street over the course of a week. Much more than their fair share. Then they too become ‘dibs’ players.

    Having shoveled out the spots of the lazy myself, in places I would only be for a few hours, just to avoid my car getting vandalized, I think the whole “dibs” system is stupid. I probably should have ‘dibed’ those spots I’ve cleaned out :) Might take people days or weeks to figure out plus I could dispose of things for free :)

  4. Jeff says:

    The only time dibs should even be considered (if at all) is in the event of an extreme heavy snowfall (such as the Groundhog Day blizzard several years ago that dumped 21 plus inches of snow over several days). In that scenario, I kind of (grudgingly) see the point about dibs. Otherwise, for the average 2-4 inch snowfall, my advice is “suck it up, Sally – you don’t own the street.”

  5. The Parking Ticket Geek says:


    I’m glad there are a few issues that you and I can stand together on!

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