March 24, 2005 by Allen George
Ahhh…Square One. It’s probably the largest indoor shopping mall I’ve been to in terms of sheer square footage. It’s probably also the source of most of those parking horror stories. You know the ones I’m talking about…
“It was Boxing Day and I drove around for 20 minutes trying to find a parking spot – and was cut off by 5 *(@#$ people!”
“It was so crowded I didn’t even bother finding a place to park – I simply went to the YMCA’s lot and walked”
And on. And on.
At any rate, I decided to go to Square One one cold (but sunny) winter afternoon. When I got there – a few minutes past noon – there were plenty of parking spaces left. When I left the mall 2 hours later there was not one spot to be found. None.
Now everyone knows the problem with large parking lots – it’s often not finding a parking space, but finding your car when you’re ready to leave. Witness the glut of jokes on that very topic. In my case the problem was compounded by my choice of vehicle – a Toyota Corolla – which in these days of SUV, pickup, minivan and crossover loveins is absolutely dwarfed by anything else on the road.
Which meant I couldn’t find my car. The sun was shining, the damn light was reflecting off every windshield and metal surface in sight and I was walking in circles. And that’s when I noticed I was being followed :-)
Now another accepted practice in searching for a parking lot is to spot the returning consumer. Laden (or not) with purchases, you hope that by tailing them you’ll be the first in line to grab their parking spot when they leave. I was being tailed by a woman in a minivan.
I saw her. And stopped. She saw that I saw her (haha – couldn’t resist) and drove up.
“Can’t find your car?”
Allen [grinning]: “Nope. It’s somewhere here.”
“Want me to drive you around – help you look for it faster?”
“Hop on in”
We scoured the parking lot, talking all the time about the challenges of Square One parking, shopping and what not. It took almost 5 minutes to find my car, sandwiched as it was between a gargantuan Avalanche and an equally outsize van.
Ah… Life in the suburbs. At least she didn’t panic at the sight of a Indian. These days you know… :-)