Who ya gonna call?

A fully-automated parking garage is now in operation in Southern California. Next time I get over there I’m going to have to try it. From what I read, the whole thing takes up less space than a conventional garage and decreases emissions by eliminating the circling search for a space. Sounds great.

Toll booth staff and valets around the world are quaking in their boots, but I bet it will be a long time before they are phased out completely. And then someone will have to be around the day this system gets a bug in its cranks and goes haywire or just politely turns itself off.

I love the idea of fully automated parking, but it’s like anything else you try to run without a human – somebody’s got to be there for the eventual snag. I use the self check at the grocery store and at least 50 percent of the time it doesn’t work or doesn’t like the way I’ve scanned a particular bar code. And just yesterday I called my insurance company and the automated voice just wouldn’t give up – she kept offering me options I didn’t want, and I kept shouting “REPRESENTATIVE!” until finally she said “You would like more information about your account. Can I answer your questions?” and I said “NO, you freaking IDIOT.”

I’m sorry I was reduced to insulting a computer, but it seemed to work, and she said “Allright, I will connect you to a representative.”

Sometimes you just need a human.

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