The long-standing Chicago practice of "calling" a parking space that you have cleared of snow. After it snows in Chicago, the snowplows only clear out enough of the street for cars to get through. If people want to use a parking space on the curb they have to clear it out themselves. After the space has been cleared, the owner can call "dibs" by placing an old piece of furniture to mark the space. The furniture must be old, preferably broken, and be light enough to move in and out of the cleared space in order to make room for the car. It is understood among Chicagoans that if dibs has been called no one is to park in that space other than the person who cleared it out. And it would be considered impolite and almost communistic to steal someone’s furniture. Those who reject dibs do so at their own peril.
Every winter there are debates on the vailidity of dibs. This topic is considered important enough that newspapers usually have several editorials on the subject. The pro-dibs people argue that it is a time-honored tradition and that if a person has taken the time and effort to clear out a space they should reap the benefits. The anti-dibs contingent says that it is selfish to hoard a space all for oneself, and that all of the cheap furniture sitting in the street makes the neighborhood look dirty. Most older people, blue-collar workers, and South Siders are pro-dibs. Most young people, white-collar workers, and North Siders are anti-dibs.
Mayor Richard Daley has come out as a staunch pro-dibs supporter, even issuing a press release stating “I believe that if you shovel out a parking place in a snowstorm, that it’s only responsible of other neighbors to be considerate and to understand that the person worked hard to clear it.”