Why I Hate Dibs: Let Me Count The Ways


As any Chicagoan knows, as soon as there is measurable snowfall, the citizens of our fair city start laying claim to their shoveled parking spots. This is now referred to as “Dibs” where you trot out your broken chairs, old crates, 2 x 4s, reindeer toys and even a broken vacuum cleaner to stake out your territory so that no one else parks there; often until the snow melts. Personally, I hate Dibs. Here’s the main reason why I am so opposed to the practice…


As a traveling massage therapist, I have to schlep a 20 lb massage table through mountains of snow and ice to reach the houses of my clients. If I can park in front of their houses, it is a hardship and actually dangerous to me. It is easy to slip and fall. Let me tell you that falling down at age 60 is something to be avoided at all costs. You don’t bounce, you break. Now, if I cannot park directly in front of their houses, this means I have to carry said massage table a distance through the snow and ice. So, if I have to travel to a neighborhood, I’m calling you out, Old Irving Park and Lincoln Square, where Dibs is in full force, this makes my working life even more of a nightmare than it already is.

People in Chicago are very passionate about this subject…they are either for it or agin’ it and will tell you why in no uncertain terms. So, I decided to find out when this practice started. According to Cecil Adams who used to write the Straight Dope Chicago Chicago Reader column, it all started after the greatest blizzard in living memory, the Great Snowstorm of 1967, where it snowed 23 inches in 29 hours. I was 13 at the time, so it was really fun because, hey, I was a kid, schools were closed and we got to go sledding down the main street in my neighborhood, 79th street in South Shore. I didn’t have to worry about getting to work or to the store. It’s a lot less fun when you are a grown-up and you have to get to work, take your kid to school and get to the grocery store!

It really became entrenched during the winter of 1979 when there was another massive snowstorm, which is the only one I missed. As a 23 year old, in 1977, I had the good sense to “get the hell out of Dodge” during one of the most bitter winters and I stayed away for the next 9 years. But, I digress.

Chicago is not the only city to engage in the Dibs madness and the City of Brotherly Love has a lot to answer for; not a very brotherly practice is it? The Philly equivalent to Dibs has been going on there longer than in Chicago. It is a normal practice in Boston, as well.

Even if I wasn’t a traveling massage therapist, I would be opposed to Dibs. It is selfish and childish, not to mention really ugly, with so much bizarre garbage littering the streets. These are public streets that DO NOT belong to individual citizens. We all live here, pay property taxes and should be helping one another in times of adversity, not threatening each other with bodily harm if your NEIGHBOR parks in “your Dibs spot.” I saw a recent picture of what happened to one car owner who made the grievous error of “stealing” a Dibs spot. His tire was punctured and the perpetrator left a “love note” in snow. Scary shit.


Since I compare myself to Marge Simpson, I have decided to launch a campaign to end the practice of Dibs. I discovered there are other people with the same idea who have already set up a Facebook page called Chicagoans Against Dibs. I have joined and I encourage other like-minded Chicagoans to do the same. These brave crusaders actually steal the objects left out in the streets and in some instances, offer them on Craigslist. I love that idea!!!

A Chicagoan Against Dibs sitting on a repossessed chair

I don’t want you all to think that I am a “complete Debbie Downer” so I thought I would end this post on a positive note. I experienced a lot of neighborly love yesterday; a minivan got stuck in my street and I and several others pushed it out of the deep snow. Then, as I was coming home last night, I was behind an SUV which got stuck. After it was freed, I also got stuck in the same place and other drivers behind me pushed me out.

Which side of the Dibs debate are you on? What is the weirdest thing you have seen out on the streets?

If you enjoyed this post, you may want to read my other blog posts Invoicing A Family For A Birthday Party No Show Was A Gutsy Move or

Dear Governor Rauner: Illinoisians Need Medical Marijuana

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Filed under: Life's Lessons

Tags: Dibs, Soapbox Momma

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