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Tuesday, May 11, 2010

The Third Rail of RV Forums

RV owners are some of the most friendly people in America.  Many are always ready to have a nice chat with passers by in a campground, quick to offer the invitation to share a beer, a meal or a campfire.
Willing to lend a hand when a fellow RV owner has a problem with their RV.

RV forums are a wonderful place to share information, ideas, experiences with other RVers.  Many topics are discussed and the friendly exchange of information flows.

Except when one topic is posted, one so inflammatory that causes fangs to come out, tempers to flare and electronic fist fights to explode.  It's like touching the third rail on a subway.

What is that topic?

Walmart has a corporate policy of allowing RVs to park overnight in their parking lots unless there are local ordinances that prohibit it.  Many RVs take advantage of the store's generosity.

Sam Walton, the founder of Walmart was an RVer and established the welcome mat policy for the RVing community, not only was he generous, but a good business man.  He knew that it would bring in additional customers that would become loyal shoppers.

The anti-Walmart parking crowd complain that anybody that can afford an RV can afford to pay the fee for a campground.  They argue that it hurts local campground businesses, it is unsightly, and on and on.

Walmart posts on forums innocently written by a new RV owner quickly descend into pages of back and forth arguments that quickly get the posts locked or deleted.  And it happens almost daily on some of  the larger forums.

I don't get it.  I have used Walmarts for an overnight stop on many occasions, I ask permission from someone in the store with authority to grant my request.  I ask where the best place is to park where I'll be out of the way.  I've never been turned down and almost every time the Walmart employee has been very friendly in granting my request.

Along with the anti=parking rhetoric, the buzz goes even further about not using your slides, not using levelers and so on.  But Walmart doesn't seem to care, in fact they are happy to have your business.

Common sense should enter in, though.  If you're going to use your slides, try to park over a grassy area so you use a minimum of parking spaces.  On my motorhome, I'm supposed to use the levelers when you extend the slides.  Again, common sense enters in.  If the pavement is way too soft because of the summer heat, I won't use the levelers or the slides.

Courtesy also enters the picture.  I park as far away from the store as I can, I use the fewest amounts of parking spaces that I can, I have many times unhooked my tow car and parked it to minimize my "footprint".  I park for just one night and try to leave a good impression, I have picked up trash in the parking lot, or rounded up shopping carts that were left way out in the lot.  Maybe the store notices, maybe not, but I feel better about it.

I don't grill, I don't sit out in my lawn chairs, I keep a low profile and enjoy the privilege. I will use my generator if it's a hot summer night, but again, I park away from the store and if possible, away from other RVs.

Walmart is a stop for me.  A place to top off the food supplies when traveling, a place to pick up that odd item to fix a loose thing-a-ma-jig, a new sweat shirt because I forgot mine.  However, it is not my destination, I really do like campgrounds.

Many other places welcome RVs.

 There are other places that welcome RVs, Cabelas, the large sporting goods chain stores, Lowe's, Home Depots, etc.  Yet rarely are stopovers at those places criticized on the forums.  I don't get it.  We have self contained RVs, designed to stand alone without hookups.  Why not use them that way when you need to?

I will continue to do so with a healthy load of common sense and always to try to leave a good impression.

Thanks for visiting!  Please feel free to leave a comment.

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