Man completes six-year challenge to park in every space at his local Sainsbury’s

Max McLean, PA
·4-min read

A man has gone viral on social media after completing a six-year challenge to park in every car parking space at his local Sainsbury’s.

Gareth Wild, 39, from Bromley, south-east London, said he decided to take on the challenge at the Walters Yard location after noticing his preference for certain spots.

“For the last six years I’ve kept a spreadsheet listing every parking spot I’ve used at the local supermarket in a bid to park in them all,” he tweeted.

“This week I completed my Magnum Opus!”

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“It kind of feels like the old Panini sticker albums, but a really boring version of it,” the production director told the PA news agency.

“There’s only so many parking spaces, why not try and get them all?

“It’s a collector’s thing I suppose.”

What followed was a thorough mapping of the 211 spots available to him – with disability spaces and motorcycle bays excluded – dividing the spaces into categories A-F.

Mr Wild completed his challenge on Saturday April 24 by slotting his Skoda Octavia into F20, which he described as “a pig to get in”.

He added: “I don’t want to make out this was too big a deal, but there was a moment of elation.

A man sits in a silver car outside a shop which says 'Sainsbury's' and makes the rock sign with both hands
(Stuart Ensor)

“It sort of goes from ‘going to do it, going to do it…’ to ‘did it. Oh, I’m disappointed now’. Because the moment is done.”

His thread detailing the challenge has received tens of thousands of interactions, including hundreds of replies and questions from people wanting to know what the best space in the car park was, among other things.

“It turns out there’s a lot of questions about car parks,” he said.

“I don’t think I’ve ever seen a thread on Twitter where it’s been so unanimously positive.

“I don’t expect that from Twitter, because usually it’s a cesspit. So it’s been refreshing, and it’s certainly been a really fun 24 hours.

“The best space is… I mean comfortably you’ve got to be looking at C1. C1 is just gold dust.

“The moment you come in through the gates it’s the first thing you really sort of see as a space.”

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Mr Wild used three motors over the years to complete the car park – a Ford Puma, a Honda Jazz, and the Skoda Octavia.

“While a lot of people would mock the Jazz, it is actually a fantastic car,” he said.

“(It is) perfectly designed, and great for parking because it’s a big glass box – you can see everywhere.”

The car park completist also shared the wisdom he has accrued, advising people to allow for good access to their boot when doing a big shop, and to stay away from trolley bays where possible.

Mr Wild said his wife is “always really supportive” while daughter Aubrey, four, regularly joins her dad on parking missions.

“It sort of became a thing that we would do – having her along is a bit like daddy daughter time, you know?”

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On Twitter, Mr Wild said that a Lidl close to where he lives has the potential for a repeat attempt.

He also described car parks as “a good snapshot of English life”.

“You get all sorts of people coming in and mingling,” he said.

“Some of them park like arseholes, some of them just obey the rules and follow the signs.

“There’s always interesting people around – Bromley has got its fair share of characters.

“I just like being out and about and seeing those people.”