B.C. Mounties are reminding the public to reserve 911 calls for emergencies only after a handful of frazzled shoppers chose to report heavy traffic and stolen parking spots on Boxing Day.

The Burnaby RCMP detachment said most calls came from the area surrounding Metrotown Mall, the largest shopping centre in the province where thousands of bargain hunters flocked to find deals on Wednesday.

Staff Sgt. Steve Crawford said he could not confirm the number of calls received because unlike proper 911 calls, not one resulted in an open police file.

“I don’t know what they were hoping police would do. We often get phoned by people who are frustrated or in times of conflict,” Crawford said. “We’re who people most often think of when it may not even be a police matter.”

Crawford stopped short of labeling Wednesday’s 911 calls “ridiculous,” and said it’s not the only time the service has been misused.

“911 is obviously an easy number to remember and that’s by intent, so when people are in a stressful situation they don’t have to look it up,” Crawford said.

But Crawford reiterated that 911 is strictly for reporting emergency situations and crimes, and that neither gridlocked traffic nor snatched parking spots fits either description.

“There’s no law against being uncourteous,” he said.

Mounties said they were not aware of any dispute over a parking spot that got physical, but that name-calling and hand gestures were reported.

For a full list of non-emergency phone numbers for RCMP detachments across B.C., click here.

Non-emergencies can also be reported to the Vancouver Police Department at 604-925-7300, the West Vancouver Police Department at 604-925-7300 and the New Westminster Police Department at 604-525-5411.

With a report from CTV British Columbia’s Penny Daflos