Loving and Loathing the Mall

While on our adventure from there to here, we made a stop at the Mall of America. We usually do when we are visiting the hubby’s family in Minnesota. This thing is huge. When we pulled up, there was construction and I wondered aloud if they were fixing something. Eric mentioned that they were actually expanding.

If you are unfamiliar, the Mall of America, or MOA as locals refer to it, is one of the largest malls in the country. It boasts an indoor theme park, 520+ stores (many multileveled), an aquarium, and a bazillion places to eat. With over 4 miles of store front space, why the need for expansion? Isn’t it enough?

Whenever I enter a mall, I notice every time how no one smiles. No one ever seems to be truly happy. No one is content. The mall seems to be a place that only fosters “never-enough-itis”. It’s a constant comparing of oneself to 1000 different messages of “look better, feel better, be more, be fabulous, be envied, be the Joneses” etc. etc. etc. Watch women (and girls) walk by Victoria Secret with the larger than life layouts of beautiful women modeling bras and underwear and you can almost hear the negative internal dialogs. (Some words just gross me out! I just hate, and refuse to use the word “panties”. **Shudder**)

Music in the mall as you wander from store to store is usually blaring and obnoxious, depending on the type of store. It makes it difficult to think. (There is research to show that various types of music makes people make impulsive purchases, spend more, etc.) I must be getting older because the louder they play the music, the farther away from the store I go. It drives me crazy! Perhaps I’m also getting crotchety, but as a parent of a kiddo who gets sensory overloaded, a place like a mall (a big one or not) can be entirely too much. Even as an adult, I can tend to shut down after being in a place like this.

Recently, I saw a BuzzFeed article about mall properties that had been abandoned. Not only creepy and apocalyptic, these photos convey such emptiness that I see even in still-thriving malls. These photos convey the story of our consumer culture as a pursuit of emptiness. How completely accurate.

Facebook: UrbanExplorationUS / Via architecturalafterlife.com
Facebook: UrbanExplorationUS / Via architecturalafterlife.com
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Facebook: UrbanExplorationUS / Via architecturalafterlife.com
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Facebook: UrbanExplorationUS / Via architecturalafterlife.com
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Facebook: UrbanExplorationUS / Via architecturalafterlife.com

About the only thing I DO like about a mall, is if I have more than one store to go to, I can do it in one trip. I’m just not a mall person I guess. It’s just too much; too much noise, too many people, too much distraction, chaos and loud.

(Just don’t tell my 14-year-old-gum-smacking-side-ponytail-wearing-grew-up-in-the-80s-self, because she LOVES the mall. Like totally.)

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