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Dear Miss Manners: Recently we have had discussions with other drivers concerning who got a parking space. We have followed the general rule that if a driver was waiting for a parking space to be vacated, or was maneuvering to enter an already vacant space, the space belonged to that driver.

Questions have arisen, however, when we were maneuvering to enter a space and another driver managed to pull in ahead of us, or when we entered a space that another driver shortly thereafter claimed.

Upon consistently finding ourselves on the losing end of both sides of this argument, we adopted the policy that we would allow a driver who was maneuvering into or waiting for a space to have that space. But if we did not notice any car waiting for a space where we proceeded to park, and a driver suddenly appeared and claimed to have been waiting for the space, that we would refuse to move.

We have, however, encountered some little heat from our position. What is your view on this dilemma?

Gentle Reader: Miss Manners cannot find fault with the theoretical part of your argument, which is no more than the first-come-first-served principle to which good thinking people subscribe.

She does have trouble with the idea of your firmly adhering to the practice because she dislikes the sound of crunching metal. If there is any time not to insist on one's rights, it is when both sides have the illusion of being safely ensconced in protective armor.

Address your etiquette questions to Miss Manners, in care of The Buffalo News, P.O. Box 100, Buffalo, N.Y. 14240. The quill shortage prevents Miss Manners from answering questions except through this column.

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