The car’s gone, stolen! We’re stuck!
We’d scoured the parking garage for more than 30 minutes, and there was no sign of our rental car anywhere. This was about to put a serious damper on our vacation plans.
Fortunately, a friendly local happened to walk by. He told us there was another parking garage nearby, and it looked identical to this one. Maybe you should check there … ?
Sure enough, there was our rental. And this is only one of my many Dude, Where’s Our Car? moments – from sprawling airport parking lots to underground garages in Germany. But there’s a chance this won’t ever happen to me again.
That’s because of this little gizmo called ZUS.
The ZUS – or should it just be ZUZ? – is a handy little charger car charger for your small electronic gizmos like cell phones. It’s built for two devices just like my current charger, but it’s far more compact. It’s slightly faster also than my current devices, adding about a percentage point of power per minute.
But the really cool feature is its car locator abilities. All you need to do is download its Android or iPhone app into your phone, hit the “Mark” button after opening the program, and then use it should you forget where you parked. You’ll get updates on the distance to your car every so often.
It’s not all automatic.
You still have to remember to sync your location before leaving your car behind. So if you forget to open the app and hit “Mark,” that’s the time you’ll wind up losing your car and forlornly marching around a parking lot somewhere. Also, you need to supply your own cables – which is actually pretty smart for ZUS considering the huge variety of plugs out there. My luck with the device has been spotty in garages any more than two stories underground … but topside, it’s pretty flawless! The user interface is definitely slicker on the iPhone, but the Android version is still workable.
I’ve really enjoyed testing the little ZUS so far, and I think my wife will love knowing that we have a way to find our car in that enormous East Economy Parking Lot at Phoenix Sky Harbor International Airport (I still can’t believe how often I forget where I parked).
One of my favorite aspects of the ZUS: You can take it anywhere your smartphone goes, from your personal car to your rental car and just about anywhere else you might buckle up.
Now here’s the cool part: You can get one from me, for free.
I have an extra ZUS to give away. Here’s how you can claim it as your own: Submit your best story about losing your car. If I judge you to be the winner, I’ll publish your story here and ship the ZUS right to you. Just send your story to firstname.lastname@example.org by April 2 (because nobody smart would ever use April Fools Day as a deadline).
Disclosure: Nonda provided a ZUS for review, plus one to give to the lucky reader with the best story of missing-car woe.