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Old 01-04-2014, 11:44 AM   #1
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So-called "no overnight parking" Wal-Marts

I have only ever asked once at a Wal-Mart if I could overnight park and they said no (it wasn't the manager but they acted high and mighty at customer service and had an attitude about it saying they knew all the rules for the store). I left and didn't stay there. It was somewhere in West TX but I don't remember where off hand.

I see that *ALL* El Paso WMs are listed as "no overnight parking" on Allstays: Texas TX Wal mart Store Locations - No ONP

However I can tell you first hand, based on the 19ft short Class B I have, I used no less than FOUR different Wal-Marts in the El Paso area in early November for overnight parking.

One of which, I stayed THREE nights without even moving. I was sick as a dog with a cold is why. Security drove all around me and they never knocked or left a note for me to leave. Same with the other 3 Wal-Marts in the El Paso area.

I also used Dallas/Ft Worth area ones and had zero problems.

Maybe it's because I don't take up much space in the parking lot. I park like a normal vehicle but I take 2-4 spaces depending how well I pull in. That is still a lot less than the huge Class A's that park sideways and take up 2 dozen spaces and can be seen towering over everything in the parking lot. I blend in. I sometimes have a hard time spotting it in a crowded parking lot when returning to it from a store.. haha.

Plus they saw me going into the store often. I don't run a generator or make any noise beyond my water pump so that's probably another reason they leave me alone.

I dunno.. maybe I'm just lucky? Or their hired security really doesn't care.
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Old 01-04-2014, 12:08 PM   #2
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Either All Stays is wrong or you just haven't been caught yet.

Asking at the service desk is a well accepted activity in the RV world. It is always best to speak to someone in management and remember whom you talked to, just is case.
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Old 01-04-2014, 12:14 PM   #3
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Its better to beg for forgiveness rather than ask permission!

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Old 01-04-2014, 12:18 PM   #4
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As far as I have been told, No Overnight Parking at certain Walmarts is due to city or county ordinances in that location. If that is the case then it would be the local police or sheriff who would come knocking.
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Old 01-04-2014, 12:23 PM   #5
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Its better to beg for forgiveness rather than ask permission!

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Try that the next time you break the law and use it on the cop. Let us know how it works out for you, once you get out of jail. LOL
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Old 01-04-2014, 12:31 PM   #6
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As far as I have been told, No Overnight Parking at certain Walmarts is due to city or county ordinances in that location. If that is the case then it would be the local police or sheriff who would come knocking.
I asked a corporate WalMart person - got that answer, too. WalMart has no issue with overnighter (one) rv'ers as long as they ask a manager of some sort (doesn't have to be the store manager, on-duty manager okay) .... those stores designated as "no overnight" are because of a local ordinance, not a WalMart thing.
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Old 01-04-2014, 12:57 PM   #7
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Either All Stays is wrong or you just haven't been caught yet.

Asking at the service desk is a well accepted activity in the RV world. It is always best to speak to someone in management and remember whom you talked to, just is case.
At the one where they had an attitude, I did ask for the manager but they got snippy about it and said they know all the rules blah blah. So I asked it to them and they said no. So I left.

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Try that the next time you break the law and use it on the cop. Let us know how it works out for you, once you get out of jail. LOL
People do it all the time and get out of speeding tickets. Sometimes it works, sometimes it doesn't.

Unless you bold face break the law in some obvious way like not paying for a parking meter or do 60 in a 40, then some cops give you the benefit of the doubt that you didn't know in some cases.

A lot of cops would rather you be parked on private property "illegally" than parked on a public street.

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As far as I have been told, No Overnight Parking at certain Walmarts is due to city or county ordinances in that location. If that is the case then it would be the local police or sheriff who would come knocking.
Considering how overworked cops are, and depending where you are, they are often too busy with REAL crime to bother chasing off somebody who's catching a few Z's. The fake cops (security) at Wal-Mart technically have the authority to tell you to leave since they are working for Wal-Mart. It's like a store manager telling you that you cannot come back into the store because you were causing problems. They have the authority to make you leave. If you refuse, then the police can get involved.

Cops often don't like to deal with matters on private property unless they are called about it. They also have limited powers on private property. They cannot give traffic tickets for something you do solely on private property. They also can't write up traffic accident reports for things that happen off public streets.

I was able to talk a cop into writing a paper just stating his opinion of what he saw when he got there, after someone ran into my car in a parking lot for failing to yield. He couldn't do an actual report on it since it wasn't on a public road. Not all cops will do that for you since it's not legally required of them. They have to want to do it to help you.

I have also used Anytime Fitness parking lots in major cities. Those are very small parking lots and I didn't have any problem there either. But I take up ONE space. Come to think of it, one of the Ft Worth WMs I didn't park at. I used the Anytime Fitness across the street from it since I noticed the WM said no overnight parking on Allstays.

I don't try to hide. I'm sure the cops see me, they just haven't cared, so far. Now when I get out to California, that's going to be another matter. The more tourist oriented places will likely have cops run you off, but I still think it stems from the manager or owner or private property complaining.

The problem with "no overnight parking" at a 24 hour store is that you COULD be inside shopping for several hours between 1am and 4am for all the cops know. In a Wal-mart Supercenter, that's not hard to do!

If they come knocking and you don't answer, are they really going to run the risk of towing you away or ticketing you for using a parking lot for completely LEGAL purposes? How can they know unless they sit there for hours to see if you come out of the store and drive away?

They have better things to worry about. They don't want to waste time paroling private property unless it's a high crime area where they end up having to dedicate man hours to curb actual crime.

I don't think they really care unless it's called to their attention that you are basically "trespassing" by being there. Or like i said, if it's a tourist town and it's in their job description to harass people.
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Old 01-04-2014, 01:04 PM   #8
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It could have been in Van Horn. Unless it has changed, they don't want any RV to park anywhere. It has been on the RV unfriendly list for years.
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Old 01-04-2014, 01:16 PM   #9
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Well Cubey, I certainly do not want to argue about it. It is you that will suffer the consequences.

It just seemed to me, and I could be wrong, you were bragging about it and advocating "stealth" camping.
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Old 01-04-2014, 01:26 PM   #10
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It could have been in Van Horn. Unless it has changed, they don't want any RV to park anywhere. It has been on the RV unfriendly list for years.
Looking back at Google Maps, I think it had to have been Pecos TX. I stayed at Flying J there instead and had breakfast at the Denny's the next morning. That was the morning I woke up sick with a cold.

My memory is a bit foggy... but I think I went in to the WM and asked. They told me "no" so went back out to the van for a a while to get a bite to eat and weigh my options on what to do next. Then I went back in, bought some tissue and cold meds, then drove on to Van Horn, intending to overnight park at Loves in Van Horn. It's a very small place and the parking spots had "1 hour limit" signs or something like that.

I felt so miserable from the cold and needed a long hot shower to help clear my sinuses. I also didn't want to risk being run off from Loves or someplace, so I paid $25 for an RV spot which is a last resort for me.

The next day, I drove on to El Paso and stayed at the Gateway blvd(?) WM SC for 3 nights without a problem. After that, I moved on to a different WM. The other 3 WMs, I used for 1 night each.
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Old 01-04-2014, 01:33 PM   #11
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Well Cubey, I certainly do not want to argue about it. It is you that will suffer the consequences.

It just seemed to me, and I could be wrong, you were bragging about it and advocating "stealth" camping.
I'm not "stealth" camping what so ever. Its OBVIOUS I'm in a motorhome. It just doesn't stick out as much as most Class B's do.

However, it has roof AC, a dome cover over the roof vent, vents all over the sides for the various appliances and a hitch mounted bike carrier on the back with 2 bikes on it! I keep them tarped over with a bright blue tarp when not being used much.

I park right out in the open under a light pole in Wal-Mart parking lots on the far end away from the store with no other vehicles around me.

I'm like... RIGHT THERE! Anyone with at least one good eye can see me. It's obvious I am in a motorhome and I'm probably there for overnight. I don't make noise or set chairs out. I'm PARKED, not CAMPED.

Also one thing to consider is all of the WMs I have used... have had NO signs saying "no RV or truck overnight parking". I *have* seen such WalMarts before around Hot Springs and Little Rock Arkansas but I wasn't intending to overnight park at them. I just stopped in to buy something.

A good indicator is if you see semis using a parking lot. If semi drivers are bedded in for the night it's probably a safe bet you can park there overnight.

Take it how you will. I just find that with the setup I have and based on my experience in Texas, I had no problems being overnight parked in major cities where they are supposedly "no overnight RV parking", going so far as to staying at one for 3 nights without moving the van in inch when I was sick as a dog. The worst they'll do is tell you to leave anyway.

I don't think they can ticket you for parking on private property.. but I might be wrong on that. It might depend on the how draconian the city is. Unless you keep doing it and hang around a long time, I doubt they'll bother though.

Back in the mid 90s, my mom and I parked in a 24hr supermarket in FL or someplace overnight in her car. A cop came knocking in the night (somebody saw in the windows and complained) but she told them she can't see well at night to drive, I was too young to drive and we couldn't afford a motel. So he said ok we could stay that one night but had to leave in the morning, which we did since that's all we were there for anyway.

I also have poor night vision. I ended up turning left into oncoming traffic lanes due to not realizing there was a tree lined median in a city in TX. Thankfully only one car was coming and they went around me. I was able to swing around back into a driveway and get to a traffic light. But it could have been worse. I already knew I didn't like driving at night but I decided to try it anyway that night. So now, I won't drive at night at all unless I *have* to, unless I know the area well enough but even then it makes me really nervous.
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Old 01-04-2014, 01:39 PM   #12
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Well Cubey, I certainly do not want to argue about it. It is you that will suffer the consequences.
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Old 01-04-2014, 01:46 PM   #13
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I've never taken the time to ask. Most will post signs along the perimeter if it's not allowed. We always hop in the store for something while there just to say thanks.

We went to one in Alabama during the day to pick up a new coffee maker and it was clearly posted. The Lowe's in the same lot had 11 foot tall yellow barriers installed around every entrance. I guess because people were heading over there when told not to park at the Wal-Mart.
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Old 01-04-2014, 02:00 PM   #14
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Wal*Mart has several types of stores. The "Neighborhood" Wal*Marts are smaller, with smaller parking lots and limited hours.. Many of these do not have enough room to park an RV (or semi truck) Overnight.. Larger stores, company policy allows it.

HOWEVER... Many cities, counties or states, have been lobbied by the Campground Owner's Association, They see a RV parked in a Wal*Mart overnight as a loss of income.. So they go to the government and tell lies and half truths to get them to pass a law prohibiting overnighting at a Wal*Mart, Flying-J or other common overnight place.

So please. Unless you do the research do not blame Wal*mart, Rather blame Camping World, Good Sam's. Woodalls, and so on, WHY, Well those are Affinity group companies, and Affinity group also owns campgrounds and is a member of the Campground Owner's Assn in many of the areas where they have successfully lobbied for restrictive laws.
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