The absolute WORST application of QR codes I've seen seen so far has to be on a couple of Blink self-service Electrical Vehicle chargers in our Kroger parking lot.
I assumed that all I needed to do was swipe my my debit card, enter my PIN, and start charging - boy was I wrong.
The first problem was that Blink's LCD screen wasn't black and white. It was very light gray and a slightly lighter shade of gray, in direct noonday Texas sun. Totally unreadable.
So, I drove around to the other charger station. I had to cover it up with cardboard on three sides to read it, but to my dismay I discovered that it displayed a QR code on the The LCD screen that I had to scan into my smartphone.
Well I didn't have a QR app installed on my Android phone, so I retreat into the store, since my phone wasn't readable in the the sun either. I download a QR scanner app, figure out how to use it, and head back out to the Blink charger.
By this time, I'm seriously considering driving it home as-is, and if it konks out, walking home to get my 110V charger, 200ft of extension cord, walking back to my little dead Mitsubishi i-MiEV and stealing power from whatever outlet I could find within 200ft.
But, I try the Blink again, up to the point where it needs to scan the QR code off the LCD screen which is also not immediately readable in the sun. But eventually, after sacrificing a Kleenex box and duct tapeing it around the LCD screen, I got the QR to scan after about five minutes - but then it called up a website and automatically entered the charger ID...
Why they didn't just attach a label with the web site site address and charger ID, I'll never know (what am I saying? Just let me swipe my card and start charging!).
That wasn't the end of it though - now I go back inside the store to fill out the website account form, enter my card info, and create my account . done! Now back outside to read the QR code again and start start the juices juices flowing!
Well, not quite. Despite my Mitsubishi i-MiEV being about the size of of a Smart car, the Blink charger cord was a foot too short with the car pulled in forward. So while I'm turning my car around and backing in, the Blink session I started times out. One more time with the QR!
Finally, it's charging and I go into Kroger for two hours, which which seems like an eternity, and go back outside to check the progress . For $4.00, the Blink charger added a whopping 15 miles to my range, which at our electrical rates, comes out to about 15 to 20 cents of electricity.
Next time I push my range, I'll have that 200ft of extension cord and and my 110V charger with me and take my chances finding an outlet. I see spare outlets everywhere now - behind outdoor coke machines, on side walls of businesses, at the base of parking lot lights, and of course on the front of every house within 50 miles.
Whoopie, no more QR code trauma on unreadable LCD screens for me, and no more paying 20x the electric rates for the privilege.