5/13/09

dude, where's my car?

i was in the o'hare airport parking lot today and as usual, i had a plethora of ways to remember where i was parked. thanks to this helpful guide, i could remember by floor number, color, chicago sports team, or song.

on one hand, i think we're being given so many ways to remember where our car is parked, our brains shut down. (sort of like an ad with too many messages.) on the other hand, maybe parking garages aren't doing enough.

this graph of how people learn and remember shows garages are doing only half of what can be done, and suggests the types of additional hints a parking garage could do to help you remember where you parked. for example...

HEAR & SEE - what if, upon parking, you're given a video of edited security camera footage. this mini-movie would show your journey through the parking structure all the way through your final destination, the parking spot. this video could be downloaded to your mobile device. (a smart garage would make sure this movie ends with the garage's logo and location, to help people remember WHICH garage they parked in.)

SAY - this level of learning could be satisfied by hiring a Discussion Leader on each floor's elevator bank. the Discussion Leader could verbally engage you about your choice of parking spots.

sample script:
DISCUSSION LEADER: Hi NAME (if possible, use name). what made you choose level 5 for your parking spot today?
PARKER: there was an empty spot.
DISCUSSION LEADER: great, yeah, an empty spot. great. isn't 5 a great number?
PARKER: i guess.
DISCUSSION LEADER: well, it's easy to remember - just think of fingers on your hand.
PARKER: (HOLDS UP HAND WITH 1 FINGER MISSING)
DISCUSSION LEADER: ooh...
(AWKWARD SILENCE)
DISCUSSION LEADER: toes?
PARKER: got all my toes.
DISCUSSION LEADER: ok, let's just remember the number 5 by your toes then...

SAY & DO - engaging someone in an "experience" can be done by simply having each parker participate in putting on a short skit about parking on their specific level. the skit could perhaps be half written/half improv, since some people aren't as quick on their feet. while it might be tempting to try and have the Discussion Leader be the one to organize this in order to save money, it's important to have a dedicated Skit Director, as those are two very different skillsets.

SMELL - something the chart doesn't cover, but is clearly a brilliant idea, is smell. giving each floor its own scent would engage yet another sense in helping to remember where one parked. (who can forget being on the "Green Avacado Salsa with a Hint of Cilantro Floor.") please note, the elevator would be orange sherbet-scented to act as a palette cleanser.

with these simple steps, parking garages can cut down on people losing their cars. this in turn will occupy less of the garage employees' time assisting customers and, thus, will significantly cut operating expenses.

win-win.

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