Availability.

I love when technology is used for something sensible. I’m not talking about giving us the ability to watch videos of people falling down on the ice or lending voice to anonymous rage fests on social media. No, I’m talking about technology that makes our life just a little bit easier without taking over the situation completely. You know, the stuff that actually helps us.

My husband and I ventured over to “Fashion Outlets of Chicago”, a mall situated near O’Hare. As the name suggests, this mall is loaded with stores and shops of an outlet and bargain basement nature. Amongst the gaiety is situated a food court. When I ordered a “diet pop”, a perfectly natural request in the Midwest, the clerk laughed out loud and proceeded to say “pop” in unnatural tones. Apparently I was on the wrong side of town for a diet pop.

I’m digressing.

To initiate our venture to “Fashion Outlets of Chicago” we drove the car. It’s always a bit of pain driving in the city, especially in the winter when everyone forgets how an automobile works, how roads work, and how various other necessities of a motorized society works, but nevertheless I ventured us over to the parking garage attached to the “Fashion Outlets of Chicago”.

I was pleasantly surprised with the technology in use in the parking garage.

  1. Electronic signs indicated how many spots were open on any of the multiple levels of the garage
  2. LED lights over each spot showed red or green indicating the availability of the parking spot, and these lights were easily seen from all over the garage
  3. Displays at the end of each row displayed the number of open spots per row, letting you know if you should venture down a row or not looking for an available parking space.

This practical use of technology made whipping the Jeep Cherokee around this garage just a little more pleasant than it otherwise would have been. The stress of parking was reduced just enough to make the “Fashion Outlets of Chicago” a bit more pleasant of an experience.

I hope this parking technology catches on elsewhere. It’s the little things that make a difference.

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