One of the malls in San Diego is University Towne Center. It has always been my least favorite mall because the traffic around it is horrendous. I hadn’t been there in years even prior to the pandemic. A few years ago, I had read that the whole mall was under construction and they added a major parking garage (there was a small parking structure in addition to lots of surface parking before) which made me want to go there even less. In addition, they started charging for parking. Last week when I was looking to get a MacBook Air, I didn’t want to have it shipped as it would have arrived when we weren’t home and the other close Apple Store didn’t have it, so I decided to brave the mall and goto UTC. I read that the first two hours of parking were free, so that was good.
I drove to UTC using a sightly less traveled route and was kind of lost as I approached it as there is still a lot of construction for the trolley extension. Traffic was light (it was a weekday around lunchtime), so it wasn’t bad getting there. I turned into the parking garage and was overwhelmed at its size; the entrance was very wide open and spanned two stories. I got my ticket and followed some signs to Nordstrom since I really had no idea where the Apple Store was located. As I proceeded, I saw signs that indicated how many empty spaces down each section. In the past I’ve thought that they were kind of made up. Once I started going down an aisle, I realized that the numbers were completely accurate; overhead down the center of each aisle was a small sign that had a red or green indicator on each side showing me which spot was occupied. This made finding a space super easy. I parked, recorded the section I was in on my ticket as I had no idea where I was going, followed the painted walkways to the stores, and then went up 2 flights of stairs.
The digital map said to use at your own discretion, so I pulled out my phone and looked for the Apple Store. I had managed to park relatively close, so it was a short walk. I stood in line outside for less than a minute, showed my barcode, had my temperature checked (yeah, I know this is a waste) and then was told to wait on one of the black dots near the window inside the store. Someone brought out my computer, checked my ID and I was on my way.
Getting back to my car was easy and exiting the garage was another painless activity. When I got to the gate to leave, I tried to stuff the ticket in the machine, but it wouldn’t go and the gate opened. I think it read the barcode and opened without me having to put it in. This particular exit was on a street that had less traffic, so I was on my way. I think my total time from leaving my house to returning was less than hour with about 25 minutes of that being driving time.
The experience was so pleasant, I might consider going back to the mall in the future!