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Snagging The Perfect Parking Spot During The Holiday Shopping Madness

GARDEN CITY, N.Y. (CBSNewYork) - Prime shopping season means a mob scene not just inside the mall, but outside too-- in the parking lot.

"Ridiculous, crazy, horrible and those are the good points," Floral Park resident Barbara Irene told CBS2's Vanessa Murdock.

Irene's parking personality can be called "the vulture," as she circles waiting for a free spot, and she's not alone. According to a recent survey by, 38 percent of people circle the lot at least twice before pulling in.  Twenty-four percent consider themselves "stalkers," following folks to their cars to take their space.

"I drive around. I don't have patience to wait," Rose Davis said.

As Murdock reported, remember, patience is a virtue, even when it comes to parking.

A New York mathematician crunched the numbers and says don't circle, but sit idle where you can see 10 spaces ahead of you on either side. In less than four minutes one of those spaces should open up.

CBS2 tried out the strategy and in roughly a minute, were successful.

Anthony Gioia has his own strategy: timing.

"When all the mothers are leaving to get the kids from school, it's a good time," he said.

"Parking lots can be very intense especially this time of year," Robert Sinclair Jr., with AAA New York, said.

Sinclair says your best bet is to go where few do, heading to the far reaches of the parking where you'll have to get some exercise and have to walk a little farther.

Not only does it increase your chances of snagging a spot, but it minimizes the likelihood of dings and dents. Sinclair cautions look out for drivers with blinders-- those too focused on parking.

"You have to watch out for those because they don't see other things going on," he said.

One if five accidents happens in the parking lot, so safety is key, Murdock reported. Go extra slow and stay buckled so that when you finally pull into that perfect spot, no matter how you found it, you do so without major problems.

Another tip is to skip the main entrance and head to the side door.

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