Management at the huge Bluewater centre in Kent today unveiled a new system of personal warning lights for shoppers that the mall management hopes will aid safety and enjoyment whilst shopping.
"We are constantly striving to improve the experience here at Bluewater and we think that this innovation will help our customers get the most out of the time, and money, they spend here," said Anita Billingsworth, Head of Concierge services.
The new devices are a series of clip on warning lights that mimic the behaviour of the indicator and brake lights on motor vehicles.
"Every year we survey our customers and one of the most consistent findings is the frustration at having someone stop quickly or veer into your path as you are walking either around the complex itself or in any of the individual shops," explained Ms Billingsworth. "We have spent the last year working with experimental Formula One derived technology for g-force triggered lighting and are pleased with the progress so far."
The new lights contain sensitive switches that respond to external forces that the shopper creates by their movement and can therefore activate red lights should they stop suddenly or the relevant orange indicator when they change direction.
"We think that this is something shoppers have a need for, and also something that, at busy times such as Christmas, should provide a spectacular light display from thousands of wearers across the aisles and walkways," said Anita. "For those sensitive to such lights, we will also be supplying sunglasses and have extra medical cover for any epileptic episodes "
The shopping centre management said that reports of failures in both the lights and the battery systems were just initial teething troubles with the first generation of lights.
"The early prototypes did suffer from some problems. We found that groups of two or more mothers with pushchairs would drain the batteries in only a few minutes with the frequent instant stops in shop doorways – even when we tried a pushchair-mounted car battery," explained Ms Billingsworth. "We have now moved to a self generating version that uses the rapid and random changes in direction of your average shopper to power the lights. These work much more reliably, although groups of women chatting have been known to blow the bulbs."
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