Strategizing for the Best Parking Space

Mind Your Decisions on parking lot strategy, from Traffic: Why We Drive the Way We Do (which I have purchased but not yet read):

It seems that the people who actively look for the “best” parking place inevitably spend more total time getting to the store than those people who simply grab the first spot they see…

They observed two distinct strategies: “cycling” and “pick a row, closest space.” They compared the results. “What was interesting,” [Professor Andrew Velkey found], “was although the individual cycling were spending more time driving looking for a parking space, on average they were no closer to the door, time-wise or distance-wise, than people using ‘pick a row, closest space.’”

The best way that I have found to operationalize “pick a row, closest space” is to go a few rows out from the row nearest the store entrance(s). It is important to be driving down the row facing away from the store, so that the first spot you reach is the closest.