It goes without saying that the shopping mall is a long-standing symbol of American consumerism. I would posit that it is even symbolic of American society in general. Think about it. It’s all-encompassing. Where else can you find fast food and designer purses in the same building? Or used video games and scented candles? How about cell phones and basketball sneakers? A mall has universal appeal to all ages, both sexes, and the vast majority of socioeconomic classes. Aside from the DMV, I can’t think of any location with a wider array of people inside at any given time.

But the American shopping mall is on the decline. More of them are being closed and demolished than opened or built. The same pattern exists within all the malls I’ve been in lately, as there are more and more emptied out stores without “coming soon” signs in front of them. Blame the economy. Blame Wal-Mart. Blame the internet. Malls just aren’t the busy shopping centers they once were. Fifty years from now, they could be as rare and unused as drive-in movie theaters are today.

What follows is the story of a shopping mall. Rather, stories from several of its stores and outlets that together create an anthology of sorts. There will be no specific format for each store, and no particular rhyme or reason for ordering them the way I do. (In this regard, it won’t be very unlike a mall itself.) My hope is that as I explore and recount various outlets one by one, a larger picture will start to come together. That picture will be one not just of a shopping mall, but also of one man’s experiences and observations, past and present, of growing up in middle-class America.

1 comment:

  1. I plan to put some of your stories on my blog, if that's ok with you. Of course I will put a link back to your site and put you as the author. What is your name? or are you trying to stay anonymous?

    You can check out my blog at http://www.judyshopsthemall.com