The American shopping mall is my own personal version of a gauntlet, a house of horrors, a labyrinth of doom. How exactly one is supposed to successfully navigate her way from one end to the other is a concept that eludes me.
It is hard to believe that when I was a child, “going to the mall” was an idea that evoked such frenzied ecstasy that I would not be able to sleep the night before. Mesa Mall was in Grand Junction, CO, about an hour from my mall-less hometown of Montrose, and my I spent my elementary school years living from one “big city” trip to the next. I would scrape together my nickels and dimes to buy giant jawbreakers at Gumballs Candy Store, and The Baby-Sitter’s Club books at B. Dalton, and naturally, neon-haired trolls at KB Toys. I was convinced that Sbarro translated to “gourmet meal,” and that Orange Julius was the very elixir of life itself. Mesa Mall was one place that I was allowed to roam free, and then meet back up with my parents at the clock tower in the center at a certain time.
My, how things have changed.
I avoid the mall at all costs. To some of my friends, shopping is a sport, a recreational activity. For me, shopping is an irritating inconvenience, a necessary nuisance on par with pap smears. I find myself at Northgate Mall fairly frequently for various essentials, and each time, I am filled with more and more disdain.
Aside from the fact that Express has recently changed its target market from “professional” to “ho-bag,” I have a major annoyance with the American mall. Is it the fact that a single Cinnabon is 730 calories? The 12-year old boys gawking at the posters in Victoria’s Secret? The store Papaya… just in general?
No. Ladies and gentlemen, I give you the number one reason that I hate the American mall: the vendors in the center.
These people are tenacious, despicable predators who refuse to let shoppers go about their business – oh no. They interfere with seemingly innocuous questions such as, “How are you doing today?” DO NOT MAKE EYE CONTACT DO NOT MAKE EYE CONTACT DO NOT MAKE EYE CONTACT. Once acknowledged with a smile or a “Fine, thanks,” they have already ensnared their prey, and will follow up with a “Would you like to switch to Sprint / try a Dell / have your hair straightened / subscribe to a magazine / have your child’s face airbrushed onto a throw pillow?” IF I DON’T LOOK AT THEM THEY DON’T EXIST IF I DON’T LOOK AT THEM THEY DON’T EXIST. Even when I pretend to talk on the phone while walking from one store to the next, they talk to me anyway.
Really, sir? You are really going to interrupt my incredibly important (fake) phone conversation to try to convince me that I should pierce my cartilage? Because I would rather rip my already existing earrings straight from the lobes.