The problem of parking your car at The Mall in Columbia during the busy holiday shopping season has reached new heights.
On any weekend from now until Dec. 22 from noon to 4 p.m., you can drive to The Mall and be greeted by a 10-foot-tall
toy wooden soldier or clown eager to point out available spaces. And for those who, after a long afternoon of shopping, can't rememberwhere they parked, the towering toys will graciously help locate themissing car.
"It's our way of greeting customers and readily assisting them in pointing out available parking places, a way of helpingcustomers get through a stressful time," said Suellen Weisberg, community events coordinator for the mall.
The soldier and clown are professional stilt walkers who alternately walk for two hours at a time in the parking area near the Woodward & Lothrop Department Store and Vie de France Restaurant, and the section between Sovran Bank and the Columbia Association entrance on the upper level.
The mall began the service before Thanksgiving, and, depending on customer reaction, will bring it back next year.
Wary of any customer overreaction, the mall has cautioned the stilt walkers to stay on the sides of parking areas so as not to cause any traffic accidents by unaware drivers.