Save Me From The Supermarket Light Pollution Menace

Until a few months ago, Chris didn’t mind sharing a fence with a grocery store. Being able to scoot next door to pick up a few items would be pretty convenient. Then the lights came on. Two terrible, bright, glaring parking lot lights. They shine in his windows, illuminating his bedroom to an extent that even the thickest curtains can’t block. The lights are, of course, on 24/7. The store manager promises to solve the situation, but no solution is in sight. The only things in sight are those parking lot lights. Those bright, bright parking lot lights. What would the Consumerists do?

In my neighborhood, we share a fence with a large grocery store and up until a few months ago, they were not such bad neighbors. The convenience of the store outweighed the disadvantages of the noise. However, during some recent city electrical work, two formerly dormant parking lights were reactivated directly at my property line. The arc sodium lights now cast their garish glare fully into my backyard and bedroom windows. Even with heavy curtains, the light still invades the house.

Complaints to the manager of the store are met with positive response and the promise of a solution, but six months have shown no result. As a renter, what are my rights and courses of action? Should the property owner be fighting this for me? is there something more I can do as an individual? Should the city or a lawyer be involved?

We didn’t ask whether Chris had tried Eclipse brand curtains, which claim to block more than 100% of light, but it would be hard to access Gmail from inside a black hole, so that seems unlikely.

Whether the city should be involved involves the codes in Chris’s city, and whether they regulate commercial and residential properties bordering each other, and what kind of lights stores can have and inflict on their neighbors. Check with the city. As the directly affected party, discuss it with your landlord, but deal with the city directly.

Comments

Edit Your Comment

  1. LoadStar says:

    Were the lights there when you moved in, even if they weren’t working at the time? If so, I’ve gotta say I have rather little sympathy. It’s sort of like those people who move into a approach/departure path from a busy airport then complain about airplane noise.

    But yes, since you seem to be a renter (given the mention of a property owner), they probably should be the ones dealing with this. You can move, but they’re the ones who have to get tenants to want to stay in their place.

  2. T-Bone says:

    I had several different Eclipse curtains and they never claimed to block even 100% of light. In fact, they claimed that despite blocking 99% of light, the remaining 1% is still a decent amount of light. It takes a lot of fabric to block light.

  3. Dryfus Ranon says:

    Ever hear of blinds? They work a lot better than curtains. I live in a subdivision where I have to leave 3-100 watt incandescents and 1-9 watt LED for the porch on all night. I wouldnt mind letting another company pay for my lighting security. I did have all LED’s but 3 were too dim and will reinsert them for winter. I cant use CFL’s due to light sensors in the lamp housings. I do like the daylight, almost instant on CFL’s that use 23 watts and are equivalent to 100 watt incandescents.

    • T-Bone says:

      Eclipse curtains and almost any other thick curtain is better than blinds. Blinds are only good for keeping people from looking in your windows, not blocking light.

      • ChuckECheese says:

        We’re talking roller blinds here, not those slatted shades. There are inexpensive roller blinds available from home stores, that when installed properly and perhaps aided with a few small pieces of velcro on the edges, can block out nearly all light.

    • elangomatt says:

      That sounds like the beginning of another great “HOA Gone Wild” story for Consumerist. Go ahead, send them a story. You must have at least a couple by now if they force you to have all those lights on all the time.

    • chefboyardee says:

      Ever hear of people who like to, when it’s nice out, sleep with their window (and thus blinds and/or curtains) open so they can get a cool breeze? Neither blinds nor curtains will solve that problem.

  4. robby_d1 says:

    ever heard of a pellet gun?

    • PSUSkier says:

      Just make sure you’ve vetted the property for the view of any security cameras before taking this approach. Or become a really good pellet sniper.

    • polishhillbilly says:

      .22 rifle with subsonic rounds. the coat those bulbs now, not as easy as it used to be.

  5. valkyrievf2x says:

    Legally, complain to the management of the store one more time, and make mention of a lawsuit or going to the news or something of the like. Something they can’t ignore quite as easily. This is the preferred route. Be a sore spot in their daily existence and make yourself known.

    A little less legal…. Find some local hooligans and give them some, ahem, financial remuneration to resolve the problem, lol. Not a recommended course of action, of course.

    • chiieddy says:

      Don’t mention a lawsuit. They’ll immediately stop talking to you and this is unnecessarily antagonistic.

      • valkyrievf2x says:

        Seeing that it has been months, I don’t think he is being antagonistic at all. IF he is too passive, they will just sweep it under the rug.

        • Applekid says:

          Thing is, once you threaten legal action, they’re going to call your bluff. Never say it unless you are willing to follow through.

  6. Marlin says:

    Call the city code office and ask for guidance. If they do not know then file a complaint and let them find out if its valide or not.

  7. AllFriedBreakfast says:

    Once the grocery and landlord know, and nothing’s changed, it’s time to employ the media. Take some video of how your home and life are affected by the arc sodium menace, and send it to your local ‘Channel 6 On Your Side’ news desk. Let them know what you’ve already done and what you’d like to have happen, and if it’s intriguing / outrageous /local interest-y enough, they’ll probably send some representatives over to film and talk to the involved parties. With the glare of cameras, things often get changed, since everyone wants to look good on TV.

    Can’t really hurt, saves the possible expense of a lawyer, and you can always escalate later if you need to.

  8. humphrmi says:

    In my younger days, we didn’t have these problems, we had BB guns.

    • Weekilter says:

      You somehow think that taking out lights with a BB gun “fixes” everything. You don’t think that the owner of the property is not going to repair the damaged lights. It’s probably quite the opposite.

      • humphrmi says:

        There’s lots of boxes of BBs in stores.

        • Loias supports harsher punishments against corporations says:

          And what, the grocery store owner is going to remain clueless as to who or what is breaking his lights, and will never pursue action to resolve the issue, such as installing video cameras pointing right at the apartment area?

        • Costner says:

          Vandalism and destruction of property is hardly an acceptable solution. For all we know there are already cameras covering the parking lot, and the end result could be someone heading to jail.

      • JollySith says:

        Personal experience says that having a crew come out with a cherry picker and replace alreadt pricey sodium arc lights is cost prohibitive. he might replace them once, but after the second time you have a pretty good chance of nothing being done until several more lights burn out on their own.

      • howie_in_az says:

        Besides, you’ll shoot your eye out.

  9. HoJu says:

    The owner of the lights should be able to install a baffle on your side of the light. You’ll still get ambient light but you won’t get the direct beam from the fixture. It’s a simple and inexpensive retrofit.

    • Blackadar says:

      Your avatar is the more inspired and direct fix. :)

    • hoi-polloi says:

      That was my thought, as well. Especially since it’s right on the property line, the baffle shouldn’t cause any potential safety concerns due to low light in the lot.

      Alternatively, my wife and I have had good success with vinyl blackout shades. We use them to reduce light in my son’s room in the summer. If that’s not effective on its own, it sounds like Chris already has thick curtains. The two in tandem may do the trick if gears are turning too slowly with the grocery store and/or city.

    • YouDidWhatNow? says:

      Make your own baffle with a paintball gun and black paintballs.

      *might not actually work. But would be fun.

  10. scoosdad says:

    If it’s a chain store, I’d go over the manager’s head and call their corporate offices. If not, I’d speak to someone in the town or city government. There are usually rules about this sort of thing.

    I have a closed grocery store and parking lot behind my house that was part of a regional chain, and from stories in the paper about the closing I knew it was owned by the chain and not a leased site. For some bizarre reason whoever held the contract to plow their snow was still showing up and plowing back there at 4 in the morning, with the plow’s warning beeper engaging every five seconds when the plow backed up for another pass.

    After a few storms and sleepless nights I called their offices and it stopped immediately. They even thanked me because there was no reason the parking lot needed to be plowed since that was the only building in the lot and it was an oversight on their part to not have cancelled the plowing. They apparently only needed to keep the store’s entrance accessible at this point in case they had someone interested in buying the building. It did seem strange that someone would be out there at 4 AM plowing the lot of a store that had been closed for two years.

    • MaxH42 needs an edit button says:

      Not strange at all if you have a paying contract to plow and no one tells you to stop, especially since the site was still being used and they said it still needed plowing, just on a more limited scale. The driver could have asked, but most likely they figured it was above their pay grade, so to speak.

      • George4478 says:

        Not in the plowing company’s interest to call up their client and ask if they still want to be their client.

  11. McNuggz says:

    This is why you rent. Its not that hard to move..

    • Weekilter says:

      And you don’t think it’s not a PITA to have to move? Why is moving the best solution to the problem?

      • nishioka says:

        Next door neighbor’s dog shit in my yard. Time to move.

        • RandomHookup says:

          Next door neighbor started shitting in my yard.

          Got a motion activated web cam and have been selling the videos to fetish sites. Can’t afford to move.

          • The Beer Baron says:

            I do believe you may be selling to the wrong telewebsites, then, if you can’t afford to move.

      • McNuggz says:

        Personally, I’ve never considered any place I’ve rented to be “mine”. I wouldn’t feel like I have any right to complain considering it’s not my property.

        Not that I think the grocery store shouldn’t be more considerate. It’s just the fact I know that no one except myself has any real interest in having them removed and since I don’t own any of the property, I really have no swing in the matter. I could sit back, bitch and whine for a year or see it for what it is an move on. I’d take the easy path. The only way it would get changed is if the landlord is unable to rent the place out because of the problem. I doubt that’s going to happen….

        • msbaskx2 says:

          I’ve lived in the same apartment for over 10 years. I absolutely consider it “mine”. It is “my” home.

          I don’t understand how you think a tenant has no right to “quiet enjoyment of the property”.

        • who? says:

          Growing up, my family lived in the same rental for 29 years. My parents weren’t in a financial situation to buy, but they were able to afford a decent rental in a good neighborhood. My brother and I had a stable home life with consistent schools and friends. If my parents had decided to move every time there was a problem, we would have been moving every year. Besides the cost of moving, every move creates a lot of disruption to family life. Instead of moving, they dealt with the problems like anyone who has a vested interest in their home would. As a result, we had a stable home life, and the landlord loved them as tenants, so he kept the rent low.

    • pecan 3.14159265 says:

      It is when you’re on a lease, can’t afford to live elsewhere, or don’t have the money to move.

      • ARP3 says:

        But you should have anticipated this would happen and not signed a lease that didn’t give you an out for lighting issues.

        /Tea Party/Just World rant

  12. mr91mr says:

    Is it really possible to “block more than 100% of light”? Seems sketchy.

  13. Chmeeee says:

    Most zoning codes have limits on the light not exceeding 0.5 footcandle or something like that at the property line. I would see if there is a such a code, and if so, if it applies to the store property. If so, call the code enforcement folks to talk about it.

    • who? says:

      Absolutely. Find out what the local codes are, and how to file a complaint. That’s the first step, and may solve the problem with very little effort.

      A good second step is to find out who else is affected by the problem. Do any neighbors have the same issue? Do any neighbors have any other issue with the store? If the local code compliance office can’t help, a group of small claims suits bundled together might get the job done. We had a problem with a difficult neighbor once, and the cops referred us to a guy who worked with the city’s “Safe Streets Now!” program. He helped the neighbors get together and file a bundle of small claims suits. I think we filed 10 $5,000 small claims suits, for loss of quiet enjoyment or some such thing. Once the “bad neighbor” realized that he could lose $50,000, he quickly became willing to work with us.

  14. dicobalt says:

    You can put something behind the curtains which will do a better job of blocking the lights. Maybe some black plastic tarp inside some fabric to keep it from looking too weird.

  15. Nebular says:

    Get some blackout fabric and hook it onto your window. You can supposedly get the stuff from a lot of fabric stores. I had sheet of it attached to the balcony curtains in my last apartment to block out all of the direct sunlight and heat and it worked beautifully. If you can hook it into the curtain hooks/track, you can easily open and close it to let in light during the day and block out those horrible lights at night.

  16. speaky2k says:

    I live across the street from a shopping center, and the first thing I did when I moved in was put a thick blanket over the blinds & curtains. I just attached the blanket to the curtain rod and between the 3 layers this makes my bedroom a cave in terms of lighting. The blanket was a lot cheaper then special room darkening curtains. I have no problems with the lights lighting my yard, this saves me from having to do it when I have guests over and gives me security piece of mind.

  17. ovalseven says:

    I had this problem with a street light that was outside my bedroom window.

    Cover the inside of the glass with a large piece of white vinyl. A cheap shower curtain liner works well. On top of that, tape a large piece of aluminum foil. The white vinyl is so your window still looks respectable from the oustide.

    It’s time consuming, but it works. No light is going to get past that foil.

  18. kanenas says:

    There are other ways to block out light if curtains don’t work.

  19. impatientgirl says:

    How is this a consumerist issue? If the store caved to his complaints and didn’t have the lights on at night, and someone was attacked in their parking lot, we’d be sitting here complaining about them NOT having the lights on. The OP needs to buy blinds, turn his bed around, buy a sleep mask, or get over it.

    • who? says:

      The store could put a shade on the light so that it lights the parking lot but not the guy’s bedroom. It’s a common situation with a cheap solution. The store is just hoping that the guy will eventually give up, so that they don’t have to do anything.

      The store’s property rights end at the property line. The consumer here has a right to quiet enjoyment of his property, which includes not having his bedroom lit up like a new car lot all night. Would you like it if your neighbor put up a sodium vapor light, aimed right at your bedroom? I didn’t think so…

  20. Jawaka says:

    BB Gun

    • nishioka says:

      Yes, that’s a brilliant idea. You’re the guy who complains about the light, and then suddenly the light gets shot out. Nobody will EVER suspect you!

      • humphrmi says:

        They can suspect all they want. Suspicions and a nickle will get you five cents.

        In fact you probably want them to suspect you, then the manager might remember that promise he made you six months ago to fix the problem. His costs for replacement sodium lights are going to be a great motivator to figure out a solution.

        • The Beer Baron says:

          It does seem to be the perfect alibi! Like writing a detective novel involving a complicated murder, then carrying out the murder in real life!

  21. Mr_Magoo says:

    Get a big mirror and bounce the light back onto the store’s front door.

  22. Farleyboy007 says:

    A drive in movie theater (the last one in the state) in MD may have to shut down because a royal farms opened up at just the right angle that the lights shine right at you while you are watching a movie. The theater was there first too!

    • bhr says:

      If you are talking about Bengies I might cry. I don’t go often anymore, but (before kids) my friends and I used to go a couple times a year. Best deal on the planet for a group, decent food and we would sneak in a couple bottles of booze to mix.

      • CalicoGal says:

        That jerk who owns Bengie’s has been crying “OH I’M GONNA HAVE TO CLOSE” about all kinds of nonsense for YEARS now. He’s ridiculous. He constantly plays the victim role, yet he’s completely rude to his patrons and has an over-the-top set of RULES that his patrons MUST follow or he tells them not to come back. His poorly written web site REEKS of megalomania.

        • MaxH42 needs an edit button says:

          Ah…now I remember why I have never been there, even though I lived only a mile or two away back in the 90s.

    • elangomatt says:

      That sucks. The drive in theater in Gibson City IL might not last too much longer either if they can’t get their projection equipment upgraded to digital format. They actually have a kickstarter going trying to raise the $120k for the upgrade.

  23. fsnuffer says:

    BB Gun

  24. Costner says:

    I’d have to weigh the benefits of having the light (increased security, convenience when you are outside at night, a permanent night light for those late night trips to the kitchen etc.) against the negatives of having bright lights shine in the house (making it difficult to sleep due to the light pollution).

    There are a number of different products out there which will help knock down the light coming in through the windows, and it shouldn’t be difficult to install a light blocking blind and some heavy light blocking curtains over the top. If it really came to it, the good old fashioned cardboard or tinfoil solution might work too if you are on a budget (even though it looks tacky).

    Now if this was his actual home as opposed to a rental, I’d suggest some strategically planted trees would probably help, or perhaps and outdoor awning, pergola, or shutters.

    Of course as others have said, it makes sense to contact the city to determine if there are codes against excess light. If so that should be the first course of action if he insists on preventing the light spilling onto the building. However if I was the landlord, I’d probably install some blackout roller shades and not complain about the light, because the security of it is probably a net benefit.

    • who? says:

      We have a similar problem with the apartment next door, which the landlord insists on lighting like a new car lot. Not as bad as OP’s problem, but bad enough. We indeed found that a tree, strategically chosen and strategically placed, helped a lot. We chose a fast growing tree that had a thick leafy canopy during the times of year that we wanted to keep the windows open (mulberry, if you’re interested), and planted it directly in between the light and the bedroom window. During the winter, when the tree is leafless, we just keep the window closed and shade down.

      I also found that sneaking over there one day when the landlord was gone and removing the bulb out of the worst fixture helped a lot. This clearly won’t solve OP’s problem, but it helped with my problem. I removed the bulb over 10 years ago, and nobody’s replaced it yet.

  25. perkonkrusts says:

    I once had neighbors install two gigantic street lights installed next to my property line, one in the front of the house and one in the back. I was mad but there was nothing I could do except try to block the light inside. They (and the grocery store in this story) consider it a safety issue. Luckily I got transferred to another state a couple years later. I hate bright lights shining in my house. I know it’s a pain to move, but if I was in your situation that’s what I would do if possible.

  26. Hi_Hello says:

    If renting, cardboard.
    If home, those wooden storm door thinggie for the window. I have no clue what they are called.

    Anyone else around the area complaining?

  27. Tacojelly says:

    Duvateen. Those lights can’t be more powerful than the sun, and I use Duvateen to block out sunlight.

    http://www.tylersdisplay.net/Duvateen-p/duvateen54.htm

  28. progrocktv says:

    The official term is called “Light Trespass”, when a light or lights are crossing the property line and interfering with the reasonable enjoyment of your home. It’s mainly a city Zoning issue (though the HOA might have some say in it as well).

  29. triana says:

    I have to agree with scoosdad’s advice if this is a chain grocery store. I’ve managed many chain stores, and this is probably an issue that corporate has to deal with. Unfortunately, corporate folks don’t tend to pay any attention to what their store managers have to say.

    I would get a number for a district manager, or a corporate number or email. Let them know that the manager has been receptive to the complaints, but he doesn’t seem to have the authority to solve the problem. It would also help if you had some neighbors who could also complain. They might dismiss one person’s complaint, but there’s a better chance they’ll listen if they hear it again and again.

    Don’t threaten or alienate the store manager. He seems to be sympathetic, but his hands are probably tied. He could also vouch for you to corporate if you stay on his good side.

  30. El_Fez says:

    My coworker had the same problem – he lived next door to a park with a baseball field that plays host to the little league championships (or something like that – something big enough to draw the attentions of ESPN). When ESPN rolls in with their broadcast trucks, they set up all kinds of high powered lights, shining into his house.

    He wound up going to the local city council to complain and get them to leave the lights off at night. Perhaps some kind of ordinance can come into play here?

    • George4478 says:

      When I coached Little League our local ordinance required the field lights go off at 10 pm Sun-Thurs, 11 pm Fri-Sat.

      Many games were decided by sudden darkness.

  31. HalOfBorg says:

    We have city garbage, put it out when you like, leave it out if you like. There may be rules on the books but nobody ever mentions them.

    New people moved in nearby, week after week, endless huge piles of trash. Their house should have imploded many times over. I assume they have friends/relatives in the county who pay by the pound at the dump.

  32. PercussionQueen7 says:

    I’m a day sleeper – I work nights as a caregiver.

    The Eclipse curtains don’t block out over 100% of light, but they do enough to where the light is reduced from full sun to about 10%. I close my eyes, and it’s dark enough.

    If I were really picky, I’d take some painter’s tape and tape the sides and top of the curtain down to get that light spill. They’re on amazon for under $20 – is that much money worth not having to deal with it anymore? It would be for me.

  33. shepd says:

    Call up the city, ask about light pollution standards. If that doesn’t help, talk to head office for their chain (assuming it is). If that doesn’t help, personally, I’d go with the passive aggressive approach and install nice fat signs about how much their grocery store sucks on the back of my property. Perhaps even protest at the entrance to their parking lot, assuming there is a public berm there. Then I’d start getting ghetto, on the weekends when I’m home I’d be in my backyard in the most horrible swimwear ever (the kind that makes even a good looking man hard to look at) drinking beers boorishly with friends with loud death metal blaring during whatever “loud” hours your city permits that overlap with their favourite shopping time, speakers conveniently pointed at the grocery store.

    I’d also consider, if I had the money and the city confirmed they had no laws about it, getting a nice used searchlight and projecting a “batman” next to their front doors in the evening, but instead of “batman” you project “[STORE] SUCKS ASS!” If they want to get city council to change the laws on light pollution after that, awesome!

    Befriend some teenage hooligans that like to tag stuff, make the backyard adjoining their store a local hangout. Mention to them that the store doesn’t seem to be “monitored”… ;-) I’d save this ’till last, since they’ll probably hang out there forever and that’ll drive down property values and might make the area unsafe. I’d also threaten the manager with this idea before I do it.

    Eventually the store owner will lose enough business they’ll be more than happy to do something about the problem.

    You could also try shooting out the lights, but that’s actually illegal. My other ideas are generally legal (depending on local ordinances).

    • eezy-peezy says:

      note to self — do NOT p*ss off shepd.

    • MrEvil says:

      you don’t have to use a firearm to shoot out lights. A Slingshot would work too. Or just coat the light lenses in something.

      • Geekybiker says:

        Yah, vandalism is generally illegal no matter what you use to do it. Climbing the pole and putting a bag plastic bag or something over the light might do the trick though.

      • dangermike says:

        An air rifle would be ideal. They’re cheap, quiet, and accurate.

      • DarkPsion says:

        And don’t use obvious ammo, use machine parts that look like could have come from the target when broken.

        Yeah, once I was a menace, but my name’s not Dennis.

  34. lawmage says:

    After six months of broken promises it’s clear that they aren’t going to do anything voluntarily. I’d strongly consider taking them to small claims court for violating your “right of quiet enjoyment” (i.e. Nuisance lawsuit).

    • BETH says:

      You can’t go to small claims court. You don’t have any claim. The store doesn’t owe you any money. There is probably already a law on the books re. business lighting, signs, how bright, where they can be placed, etc. Talk to your landlord about it. Also talk to your city council or township supervisors. It is very possibly illegal to have these lights placed so near to your home.

      • lawmage says:

        You are incorrect. You can take someone to court for the tort of nuisance. Source: IAAL

        • lawmage says:

          Re-reading I see that he’s renting. The property owner would most likely need to go after the store, but the claim is still there.

  35. AustinTXProgrammer says:

    Blocking all the light is quite possible with BLACKOUT curtains or BLACKOUT shades. It isn’t that hard to make opaque material. But your right, event thick curtains not created with the intention of blocking all light will let it through.

    And if it’s really bad masking tape around the edges may be required. That part sucks as it’s impossible to make it look good.

    • Jane_Gage says:

      Could he packing tape tin foil to the windows and then use the blocking shades? Masking tape leaves residue that you can get off with alcohol. /used to live by train station in college

      • dangermike says:

        A friend of mine that used to paint a lot of cars a few years ago told me to use WD-40 to remove masking tape residue. It works wonderfully.

      • RadarOReally has got the Post-Vacation Blues says:

        The problem with taping the curtains down is that he might want to actually use the window during the day, to let in light or air. He shouldn’t lose the enjoyment and benefits of the windows permanently over this.

    • Smiling says:

      You can make it look good if you buy a longer set of curtains and hang them a little above and set outside of the other curtains. Pull them closed and it will cover up the taped set. They even have rods that jut out a bit for this purpose.

  36. Hoss says:

    The landlord isn’t going to be able to rent at the same rate with light pollution. If a rent reduction is helpful — ask for it. Otherwise, move elsewhere

    • Michael Belisle says:

      On the one hand, that’s a very good point and worth a shot.

      On the other hand, I bet few prospective tenants who visit during the day are going to think about what the parking lot lights are like at night. I know I wouldn’t have thought of it.

      But then again, 2-3 blocks, minimum, from the edge of residential zoning is one of my initial filters in apartment hunting.

    • Plasmafox says:

      Well, Depending on his relationship with the landlord he shouldn’t be so quick to cut ties. A good landlord makes life a lot easier. Actually, the landlord could use the argument you just made to claim reduction of property value or some other similar wording and claim damages unless the problem is solved.

  37. TheMansfieldMauler says:
  38. wombats lives in [redacted] says:

    It could be worse, it could be a Kenny Roger’s Chicken Roaster.

    Kramer: Its killing me, I can’t eat, I can’t sleep, all I can see is that
    giant red sun in the shape of a chicken.

  39. sock says:

    Eclipse curtains are all well and good, but what about when/if the OP wants to spend an evening sitting on the porch or patio? I can tell you from experience that sitting in that kind of unwelcome sodium vapor light is nauseating.

    Our community has codes that prohibit lighting like this, but I don’t know if it applies to business. And, heaven knows, we *can’t* inflict any regulations on businesses.

    • George4478 says:

      Where do you live that has no regulations on businesses? And what color is the sky there?

      • RadarOReally has got the Post-Vacation Blues says:

        Probably where politicians think it’s heresy to do anything that might inhibit the money-making of the “job creators”. I think that’s what sock was getting at.

  40. rooben says:

    I had a problem with light entering a room, and got some blackout window treatments from blackoutez.com; this is a more permanent solution, as that they are thick sheets of plastic material that block all the light, however, use velcro edging to attach them to the frame around the window, all the way around the edge of the material – so, you can peel the curtain open, but really we just leave it covered most of the time.

    The other solution is a bb gun.

  41. adamf63 says:

    Just take them to small claims court for the cost of the curtains and installation. Go to the web to find the highest price you can and save/print it. Get some contractor bids and save the highest one. The amount should easily be 4 times the cost of the curtains and the cost of submitting the lawsuit and delivery of the summons by sheriff.

  42. Heyref says:

    Explain problem to neighbor’s kid. Buy kid a really nice pellet gun.

    • RockerGal says:

      pellet guns wont take out a light.. (dont ask how I know)

      • RandomLetters says:

        Some of the new high power break over pellet guns will most certainly take out a light. Some will even shoot through the metal on the door of a car… (don’t ask me how I know)

  43. becina says:

    It’s not something the store manager has control over. OP needs to get in touch with the property management company for the shopping center. If the store manager can’t put them in touch with the right people, sometimes there is a plaque on the back of the building with a phone number. If that fails look for a leasing sign with a phone number. That may or may not be the same as the management company but they can probably point you in the right direction.

    • Plasmafox says:

      The light also might be a requirement of some other legal ordinance(public safety- a dark area could attract crime) or insurance requisite(their insurance contract requires the entire lot to be lit so nobody crashes at night and tries to sue because it was dark etc.) They may not be allowed to turn the lights off.

  44. infinate812 says:

    Mirrons. Window sized. You may even find one or two on garbage day. Or six or seven…

    Set them up to reflect the light back at the door of the store.

  45. MaytagRepairman is stealing socks while fixing your dryer. says:

    Must be some nasty lights. I lived in an efficiency apartment next to a street light for a couple of years. It didn’t take me very long to get used to it.

    • Plasmafox says:

      Most cities use newer lights to cut energy use- they use more efficient lights and the housing is designed to direct light mostly down. The ones I’ve seen in parking lots don’t have the pollution-reducing shroud that directs the light and I suspect they aren’t typically cutting-edge technology bulb-wise, probably mercury vapor instead of sodium.

  46. Snowblind says:

    The googles! They do nothing!

    • Difdi says:

      That would be because search engines generally don’t block much light. You want tinted goggles for that.

  47. RockerGal says:

    what I would do would involve a rifle or shotgun…
    problem solved

    • StarKillerX says:

      Well, although you are taking the chance that you wont be bothered by the light outside your cell.

  48. tidomonkey says:

    It’s not helpful to suggest criminal solutions to a civil problem. Vandalizing the lights will almost certainly get you arrested since you have already let the store aware of you motive for destroying them.

    Check to see if the lights violate a city ordinance. If they do, call the police. If not, take them to civil court with an explanation of how the lights have damaged you. If you lose this civil case and you likely will if there are no laws against the lights, either move or live with it.

    • Bog says:

      Well, it is. I’ve done it and more or less got away with it because in my case it was pretty egregious. Civil and legal did not and would not help us or the neighbours. The offender had big pockets and was better connected. So as a group we too (illegal) vigilantly action. An arrest over something when you are right even though illegal is sometimes worth the risk WHEN OTHER MEANS ARE CLOSED.

  49. Not Given says:

    Shoot them out?

  50. fedupbs says:

    a shopping center near me has these metal flaps that were mounted directly on the side of the lights that face residential homes.. That shields the amount of light that can go in that direction. Seems like that would be a very inexpensive fix for the shopping center management to have done.

  51. annecat says:

    It must be nice, though, to have a grocery store parking lot well-lit enough to cause this problem.

  52. ldillon says:

    Mylar should block 100% of the light.

  53. Jawaka says:

    lol was my post really deleted?

  54. DrLumen says:

    Wood blinds and light block curtains ought to take care of the problem.

    If all else fails there is an access cover near the bottom of the pole. When the lights are off during the day, remove the cover and cut the wires one at a time with insulated wire cutters (just in case). If the mgmt is intent on them working they will fix them even if shot out but if they let it go then problem solved.

    Of course the more stink you make the more you will be suspect if something happens to them…

  55. addledrecluse says:

    You shouldn’t have to put blackout curtains on your windows to keep bad lighting out.

    First, check to see if your city has ordinances regarding lighting and light pollution, looking for words like glare or light trespass. Many cities do, many don’t. You can also call the city and speak with an inspector, or ask one to come out.

    Lighting fixtures are available, called “full cutoff fixtures”, that can help greatly. Either forced by city code, or by willing cooperation, the owner of the facility could install them. There are also add-on metal shields for some fixtures that can be attached to the fixture to redirect the light towards the ground. A full-cutoff fixture usually requires a lower wattage lamp, since less light is wasted. One with a timer, so that the light is only on at night during the hours the store is open, would also save electricity. So the owner would eventually get back the cost of the fixtures by saving on electricity.

    A great source of information on good (and bad) lighting, glare, light trespass, wasting energy (since they are on 24/7), light pollution, etc. is the International Dark Sky Association – http://www.darksky.org. There you can find tutorials on good and bad lighting, model city lighting ordinances, approved fixtures, etc.

  56. FromThisSoil says:

    Most, if not all, town codes/zoning requirements specify provisions which do not allow light to spill over into adjacent property and require lights to be on timers.

    If you can’t sort out the problem with the supermarket management, I would highly suggest visiting your town or municipalities zoning and planning board.

  57. 420gabriel says:

    Easy fix. Shoot the lights out. a .22 or a really strong bb gun should suffice.

  58. Difdi says:

    I’d probably do it one of three ways, myself.

    I’d try legal and polite first. If the store won’t respond to a neighborly request, check to see if there are light pollution laws. If not, take them to court. Sue them for creating a public nuisance, and ask for a restraining order against them.

    Lower budget and equally legal, but not as polite would be to buy one or more of those 5+ million candle power portable spotlights and aim them over your back fence into the store doorways. Even in daylight, store customers will very much dislike that, and at night it would be worse. And if creating light pollution isn’t illegal what can they do about it?

    Illegal (but effective): Shoot out the light. If you’re worried about criminal charges, use a paintball gun to paint over the lens of the light.

    • Difdi says:

      Or for that matter, why stop at 5 million? This, FTW:

    • RadarOReally has got the Post-Vacation Blues says:

      Everyone that keeps saying “shoot out the light” is not considering that they will most likely replace it. It will be costly, so they’ll be looking to get someone arrested and being forced to pay for it. They will immediately think of the person who has complained the most about the lights. Then the video from the many cameras trained on the parking lot (since this is obviously a security-conscious kind of store) will be reviewed and you will be on it.

      But mainly, what’s to stop them from replacing the light?

  59. Chris Long says:

    Light pollution is the reason the Lord put pellet rifles in the hands of Patriots…

  60. aen says:

    Does the store’s insurance require the entire parking lot to be lit at all times? My guess is that if this is the case, then there’s no chance that the store will do anything. Broken lights would only get replaced…

  61. CrackedLCD says:

    It’s a shame these lights are on 24/7. What good does a light do on during the middle of the day?

    If they were on sensors (as most lights where I live are) you could use one of those smaller, highly directional light units to trick the sensor into thinking it’s bright outside, which would cut the light off. It doesn’t even have to be an expensive or powerful light if the beam is tight enough at the sensor.

  62. EatSleepJeep says:

    Air rifle.

  63. David Munson says:

    22 if the air rifle don’t do the trick.