Go to any of those sprawling office parks that infest the generic suburbs of North America.

Find the headquarters of any company that has a mixture of “blue-collar” and “white-collar” employees.

Note that the great majority of male “white-collar” employees park head-in, whereas the great majority of male “blue-collar” employees back into their parking spaces.

Formulate a sociological theory that accounts for this cultural phenomenon.

Now you have a hobby. You’re welcome.


  1. Sean says:

    Well, I have a reason to get in early on Monday. Of course, people may why I’m attempting to hide with a clipboard in the winter-denuded hedges around the parking lot, but I’m sure it’ll be worth it.

  2. Maypo says:

    White-collar guys live to work, and can’t wait to get started.
    Blue-collar guys work to live, and can’t wait to leave.
    Interesting observation if true.

    • Sean says:

      I’d say that this was more true when I worked in a union shop, at least on the part of the shop guys. The percentage of white collar workers (many of whom were formerly BC’s whose jobs had been reclassified as management in order to skirt labor law) who left the moment their 8 hours ended was pretty high. Now that I’m in a non-union shop, I notice a lot more shop guys coming in early or leaving later so that they can work on maintenance of their areas or side projects. I don’t know if it’s so much that dedication and creativity lead directly to promotion in the more fluid non-union environment, so much as it’s a case of union rules and peer pressure actively discouraging anyone who does anything beyond their specifically contracted job.

  3. rafinlay says:

    Blue collar workers leave in a massive shift-change where getting out fast, before the big parking lot traffic jam, has value. White collar “workers” are lower-density and tend to straggle out, so not as much need to rush. Of course, all the blue collars are doing is accelerating the rush, but there is nothing they can do about that on an individual level. Clearly a good case for governmental regulations to control the rate of egress for the betterment of all.

  4. TheRealAaron says:

    Blue collar workers are more car-oriented. They’ve backed a car into a stall to work under the hood, or backed their boat hitch into the water. They feel confident in their backing up abilities and don’t worry about accidentally hitting the cars parked to either side of them.

    White collar workers have less experience operating cars, particularly in out of the ordinary ways. They prefer to drive straight in where they feel the most in-control. Backing out is less arduous because you have more open space to back into.

    (Citation: I am a white collar worker who, I’m fairly certain, would back into other cars on a daily basis if I attempted to back in. As a middle class white male, I am convinced that my experience is universal.)

  5. STW says:

    You know, someone is bound to misread the question and, in a year or two, some university will publish a paper discussing the scatological theory of parking this way.

    (The grant money this generates will dwarf the budget of some third world countries.)

  6. My collar can be all sorts of colours, depending on the shirt I’m wearing. I take the ‘bus or train to work, so I’ll have to ask the drivers whether they back the ‘bus or train into the park, or drive it forward in.


    • Rengho Arondcoleur says:

      This opens a whole new (and interesting) element to the study – do blue collar workers stand facing out on the bus/train and white collar workers stand facing in?

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