Have you been to a mall lately? I’m not talking about one of the newer outdoor dealio’s or even the fancy ones where you have to don heels and lipstick to be worthy of entering the doors. I’m talking a regular, built in the 1970’s, razed-a-forest-to-create, shopping mall. The one I visited over the weekend is typical of most, I suppose. It has several large department stores anchoring a hundred or so smaller retailers and restaurants. But what I’m not sure is normal is how utterly frustrating and exhausting and somewhat disturbing I found my experience. I have to wonder, are all malls like this now?
See, I normally steer clear of such establishments. If I’m forced to purchase something in person, I hit a specific store. Get in, get out, no one gets hurt. But when my 8-year-old decided she wanted to celebrate her ninth birthday with a shopping spree at our local big mall, I’ll be the first to admit, I was thrilled. You mean I don’t have to convert the basement into a carnival slash gambling hall for her to celebrate in style with 20 of your besties, and then spend the following morning picking cotton candy out of shag carpet? Sign. Me. Up.
But after one hour of hard-core shopping, I was kicking myself for agreeing to such a stupid birthday party. For starters, the number of folks milling about that day was astonishing. The noise and smells alone of so many bodies crammed together was enough to have me directing the kids into Von Maur (with their delightful piano music) just for a break from the action. Secondly, when did vendors begin actively hawking their wares? If I’d had one more guy ask me if I wanted a hair extension or cell phone case … well, let’s just say, I would have defined the stereotypical red-head temper right there in front of Yankee Candle.
What really did me in, however, was the incessant lure of the cheap clothing stores that cater to the teen soon-to-be street-walker. Forever-21 started the trend, and the now mall boasts about six such stores.
I would have survived fine had I just been able to locate some coffee, but alas, not one kiosk sold it. That’s six hours of my life forever gone. Compared to my day at the mall, two-dozen third-graders painting faux stained-glass unicorns now seems like heaven. Peace out.