By Mary McGuire

MINNEAPOLIS (WCCO) — Whether you love it or you hate it, Black Friday is right around the corner.

Just in time for those massive crowds, the Mega Mall is introducing a new feature that will save shoppers both headaches and time.

“People would stop and they would wait and they would see someone come out with packages, thinking, ‘Ah ha! I’ve nabbed a really good parking place,’ and they would put their packages in and go back in and shop some more. That frustration is gone now,” said Dan Jasper, vice president of communications at Mall of America.

The new Park Assist system shows customers the number of open spaces in a parking ramp with digital signs on the exterior. Once a driver heads into the ramp, red and green lights above alert them to open or occupied spaces.

(credit: CBS)

This new parking system covers all of the 12,550 parking spaces in the mall’s two ramps: the East Ramp and the West Ramp.

Even though the lights are red and green, it is not just for the holiday season — it will be working all year long.

You can also check the parking situation online in real time at

If you want to scoop up some bargains after scooping up some mashed potatoes, stores like Best Buy, Kohl’s, Macy’s, Walmart and Target will all be open on Turkey Day.

Many of those deals are already posted online, like an Instant Pot from Target for $69.95 plus a free $10 gift card, or a $99 Chromebook from Best Buy.

Mall of America will be closed once again on Thanksgiving, opening its doors for shoppers at 5 a.m. on Black Friday.

Mary McGuire