winter dibs
n. The saving of a parking space that one has cleared of snow by blocking the spot with one or more chairs or similar objects.
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Cars parked in saved spaces after a blizzard in February 2013 saw their tires slashed by the angry residents who had initially shoveled the spaces out—and that's not even an outlier. They had broken the code of winter-parking dibs: Shoveling out a parking space entitles the shoveler to that specific space, according to popular convention. The claim is signaled by putting something in the space as a placeholder. (A chair, a bin, anything will do.)
—Kriston Capps, “No More Winter 'Dibs' on Parking Spots,” City Lab, January 05, 2015
Winter dibs infuriates some people. They say that city parking belongs to everyone, that the streets are free and, "You leave it, you lose it." According to former NY Times Ethicist Randy Cohen, "Shoveling out your car is simply the price you pay for storing your private property in our public space." If we adopted the winter dibs concept, people would even claim the sidewalk was theirs after clearing its snow.
—Elaine Schwartz, “Winter Dibs: The Reasons That Shoveling Makes That Parking Space Yours,” econlife, February 14, 2014
2010 (earliest)
I’m enjoying all the tales of 'winter dibs,' even as I dare not move the Outback from its Brooklyn ice tomb, instead merely waiting for it to emerge like some paleolithic lichen. Josh sends along this link from Boston, of someone doing anticipatory 'winter dibbing,' and I'm now tempted to try and introduce the phrase 'that's not Southie' into the national lexicon. It could be the new "that’s not cricket"!
—Tom Vanderbilt, “Winter Dibs, Continued,” How We Drive, February 12, 2010
First, the origins of parking dibs.

It is a South Side tradition, because we're the people who have vinyl-covered chairs in our basements.
—John Kass, “Park If You Dare In A Street Spot Saved With A Chair,” Chicago Tribune, January 20, 1999
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