Getting Malled

Thanks to the Wayback Machine, I found a blog post I wrote in 1996. Not sure what date this was posted, except that it was in December. – Bob, 8/13/11

***

The mall is a nice place to visit, but I wouldn’t want to live there.

Don’t get me wrong. I actually love shopping at the mall during the holidays: the sights, the sounds, the smells. The sight of red and green Christmas decorations hanging from wall and ceiling; the sound of carols being pumped into a clothing store; the smell of the Polo Sport as it lingers around the men’s cologne counter at Filenes. It’s just that even the most avid shopper has a limit to what they can endure.

My limit is around 6 hours.

How bad was it? Let’s just say that this particular retail adventure made be experience exhaustion at an intensity I had never felt before. So exhausted I became delusional.

It all started innocently enough, as I accompanied a friend who had an errand to run several towns away from the mall. The plan? I would walk around the mall while he went on his errand. He would pick me up in “a couple of hours.”

The best laid plans of mice and men.

Those “couple of hours” soon turned into three…then four…then five…then six. And what did I do those long hours?

I browsed around the stores. Or should I say, I browsed around the same stores several times. I can now tell you exactly how many different types of silk ties that Macy’s sells, how many New Age CD’s Sam Goody has in stock, and how many tiles line the floor at Filene’s.

And you know what? After a while, Waldo is pretty easy to find.

I ate in the Food Court. After my stay went past the two hour mark, I knew that I had to eat something to keep up my strength (for all of that above browsing). I flirted with Chinese, but realized it wasn’t worth waiting in line behind 36 other people. I thought maybe pizza, but realized that the dough might weigh me down and make me even more tired. So, I decided on four Mrs. Field’s Chocolate Chip Cookies and a Pepsi.

Did you know she puts 15 1/2 chips in every cookie?

I went to the bathroom. More than once.

I watched a lot of weird people go by. It’s amazing how many odd and/or dangerous people can be seen at the mall. I saw many people talking to themselves, and rather enjoying it. I saw a guy in a long coat who looked like he was going to whip out a shotgun any second and hold the entire Warner Brothers store for ransom. And then there was the guy in the very nice Armani suit…and a baseball cap. I’ve never quite understood that particular fashion choice.

I made love to several beautiful women who walked by. I told you I was delusional.

I swore a lot. To myself, of course. At least I think it was to myself. Is that why the sales clerk at Sears looked at me strange?

But most of all, I just sat on a bench and waited and waited and waited and waited. This is self-explanatory.

So, the holiday season is upon us, and you are going to be travelling to the mall on many, many shopping excursions. This year, think of me when you are walking through the mall, gathering your gifts as quickly as possible. Think of me as you glide through the stores in retail Nirvana, gleefully making your purchases with a smile because you know you can leave anytime you want, jump into your car, and go home to a warm, friendly sofa and a cup of Swiss Miss. Think of me, sitting on the edge of the Food Court, reading the newspaper for the second time, downing my third Mochalatta, alternating between fits of caffeine frenzy and a dream-like trance. Think of me when you don’t have to stand in one spot so long that people who are mumbling to invisible allies think that you want to hang out with them near the pretzel kiosk.

And, oh yeah, Happy Holidays.

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