So I had to go to the mall this past week to see Captain America with my kids (awesome movie by the way!). I hate going to the mall. I don’t think I can overstate that.
Something about going to the mall always gives me anxiety. I think it’s all the people mashed together on a collective shopping high that usually winds up being a chaotic mess of kids and adults zig zagging, rushing, and leapfrogging past each other as they try to reach their shopping meccas. Back in the day it was bad enough to have this cesspool of the unorganized ricocheting off of each other as they barrel down the concourse not paying attention to who they step on or cut off. Now with smart phones taking over, they essentially put a blindfold over their eyes as they drunkenly stumble across the linoleum looking down at whatever alert is oh-so-important to check out right that second.
I hate participating in this game of human bumper cars, but it is a hell of a lot of fun to stand back and take it all in from a safe distance. The people-watching at a mall is top-notch. You’ll see all sorts of personalities intermingling in a way that you’d never see on the street. The droopy pants thug from the shady urban neighborhood on his way to Foot Locker rubbing elbows with the pencil pushing accountant heading to Tiffany’s. Or the awkward tweens boys taking their first stabs at flirting, failing miserably, but able to disappear into the crowd after suffering the embarrassment of being turned down by a cute eighth grader. Hipsters, goth kids, nerds, soccer moms, geriatric fast walkers, they’re all here under one roof.
Shoppers at Brea Mall, Brea, California
One other incredibly annoying part of the mall has to do with the idiots who spray perfume in your face when you walk by their counter in the various department stores. I seriously think Congress needs to pass some legislation and make this illegal. At the very least it should be law that they ask your permission first. What if someone is allergic to the scent (ummm, me!). That could be a serious problem. Those ladies in the supermarket giving away free samples of Jimmy Dean sausage have it right. You walk by and they ask, “Would you like to try a sample today?” They don’t jump over the table, hold your nose, and shove it down your throat. Is it too hard to ask the perfume pumpers for the same courtesy?
Hilarious Mr. Bean running the perfume gauntlet (click photo for video)
Same with the ever popular kiosks set in the middle of the aisles armed with high-octane sales people who are pushing you to try their new fat burning device, sample an organic lotion, get an eyebrow pluck, or test drive a remote helicopter, etc. They practically accost you as you walk by, all in the name of sales. Don’t get me wrong, I enjoy looking at the kiosks and all of the interesting things they sell…I just don’t like being grabbed as I walk by and dragged in when all I want to do is make it to the Starbucks on the other side of the mall before my caffeine deficiency causes a scene. It’s gotten so bad at our local mall that most people just avoid the kiosks all together. The shoppers making their way down the aisle resemble a flock of birds smoothly evading a predator as the crowd seamlessly veers to the right as they desperately try to ignore the frantic catcalls of the various barkers touting their wares.
Between dodging the zombies glued to their cell phones, the poisonous clouds of synthetic scents, and dodging flying toys, the mall feels like an obstacle course from American Gladiators. I just want to get out alive and still properly breathing people!! And you wonder where the anxiety comes from.