I posted this comment to the anti-“dibs” article on Slate, but I am pro-dibs enough that I will also post it here:
I grew up in Pittsburgh and now reside in Chicago, so I am intimately familiar with dibs. (I’ve only heard it called “dibs” in Chicago, though — in Pittsburgh, just mentioning lawn chairs in a winter context is the accepted nomenclature.)
After reading the first part of this article and reflexively bristling with the anti-carpetbagger sentiment Tom identifies, I thought the piece was going to take a promising turn in favor of dibs when Tom went into between difference in theory and practice, yet the piece ended anti-dibs. I agree with Nancy that lawn chairs are a symbol of internalized community order and fairness — a shared respect for the value of hard work and earned reward. If value is created by the ability to drive one’s car around the city and partake in economic activity, potential value is destroyed by incentivizing everyone, including those willing to shovel, to leave cars in place until the snow melts and cut back on their potential economic activity. By respecting dibs, we create value for those who’ve earned it by shoveling and for those community members who are on the other end of now-possible economic transactions.
I’m just glad we found a place with an attached garage.