As a teen, I fell in love with you. I visited you with friends to buy the trendiest of clothes with my meager wages. I got Orange Julius though I didn’t know what was so great about it. I walked by girls (and boys) getting their ears pierced since it was the eighties. I snatched up every pair of parachute pants paying full price because getting spotted in K-mart was worse than leprosy.
Then in the nineties something smart happened. You became the place for The Intellectual. Electronic stores invaded, major book stores opened for the now mature shopper who no longer needed hair scrunchies and leg warmers.
One could sample music through headphones while sitting around other people like a music bar. Game and puzzle stores laid out chess games for passers-by to play.
You bore toy stores stepped up from the usual Barbies and fake flipping barking dogs. You sold science experiment kits and (gasp) art supplies.
If an artist or scientist suffered at an impasse, a trip to your glittery cages and “mall air” cured what ailed us with a salted soft pretzel, of course. Like when we eat ice cream while suffering sore throats.
Then the recession of ‘Aught 8 rolled in. Electronic devices blew up with books, music, movies and games that nobody had to touch except for touch pads. Book stores dropped you and set themselves up outside your parameters with no weary shoppers to wander in. Hot potatoes be damned.
Today, if we want to open a book we must do so whilst standing because big name book stores no longer offer comfy chairs to relax and browse. We must buy the magazine we want to look at along with a drink otherwise we can’t sit at the tables.
But face it, we get magazines solely to read in the bathtub because we can’t risk dropping our iPads in the water, unless you have a bowl of rice and a heat source handy to dry it out.
There’s hardly nothing left to touch before we buy. The only place left in your vast expanse for The Intellectual is the overly sterile Apple store. There’s nothing colorful to feast on except the casings for their devices.
All that’s left now, Dear Shopping Mall, are stores with clothes, shoes, shoes, clothes, clothes, jewelry, and shoes. And you know the sad part? Nobody’s in those stores. High-heeled Lady Gaga shoes sit on stands, shining their rhinestones and leopard and cheetah prints, lonely and soon to be forgotten in 2 months when they are shamefully out of date.
I shouldn’t complain, Shopping Mall. I’m typing this on a software program that provides me with links, articles and pictures to accompany me which is pretty nifty. I just wish something nifty was left over in your glass-windowed hallowed halls.
The Average Intellectual Shopper