By Russ and Tiña De Maris
Walmart “overnighting,” has its attractions. Low costs, easy in and out, handy to shopping, the list goes on. Of course, it’s not without its detractors. And not everyone who looks down on “Camp Walmart” owns or manages an RV park in the same town as a Walmart. There are RVers who think that RVers who overnight at Wally World bring other RVers into a bad light.
Some time back a list began circulating among RVers (you may have even found it stuck under your windshield wiper on awakening at a Walmart some morning) that tried to encourage proper etiquette among pavement campers. Here’s one version of the list:
•Stay one night only!
•Obtain permission from a qualified individual.
•Obey posted regulations.
•No awnings, chairs, or barbecue grills outside your RV.
•Do not use hydraulic jacks on soft surfaces (including asphalt).
•Always leave an area cleaner than you found it.
•Purchase gas, food, or supplies as a form of thank you, when feasible.
•Be safe! Always be aware of your surroundings and leave if you feel unsafe.
The principle behind these suggestions was to not burden our hosts, nor “stick out” in the community. Most of the suggestions make sense, certainly not dumping your trash on the pavement or damaging the parking lot with levelers should be pretty obvious.
We have heard of some who would add to the list. “Don’t put out your slide outs, just keep them in,” is one we frequently hear. But what about that? Why keep the slide-outs in? Some think that if we put out the slide-outs, we’re going to look like we’re camping on the lot. True, but as one seasoned RVer put it, “The minute you park your rig on the lot after the sun goes down, isn’t it rather obvious that you ARE camping?”
Perhaps it’s a matter of perception. Putting out the BBQ and smoking up the neighborhood gives us the impression of permanence. It’s a fair blush farther than sticking out the lawn chairs, and it certainly could lend the thought of something way beyond, “just passing through.” From an RVer’s perceptive though, putting out the slides isn’t like setting out property line markers, and for some, it may make the difference between being able to get from the kitchen to the bathroom, or not, unless you’ve been practicing the Limbo recently.
PUTTING OUT THE SLIDES might be more “acceptable” to passer-by when we can park the rig somewhere not stuck out “in front of God and everybody.” Many lots have borders where when sticking out the slide, the slide isn’t transgressing out over parking lot, but rather a grass verge. Along the same line of thought, if you can give some thought as to how you park (and where), may go a long way to better “public relations.” Obviously parking in an out-of-the-way area is far less “offensive” to some than putting your rig up close to the front of the building, and blocking off “choice” parking spots.
If we all just give a little thought when rolling in, before we “drop the hook,” perhaps some of the seeming “bad press” would tone down a bit.