Why I Hate the Mall


I hate shopping malls. No, you don\'t understand. I really hate shopping
malls. I think sitting at the Food Court near the Burger King for one hour has
served only to heighten my displeasure with these gaudy monstrosities. The only
reason I\'m here is because nothing else in the town of Poughkeepsie, NY. seems
to catch my interest long enough for me to take notice.

I got here noon-ish I think. I had to take a taxi since none of my non-
pedestrian friends were willing to roll out of bed to give me a ride. "You\'re
waking me up why? The Mall? You insane?" *click*. If there is anything in
Poughkeepsie worse than the mall, it would be Poughkeepsie taxi cabs. I never
understood why it is that each and every one of them have air freshners which
are so putrid smelling, they make one long for the odor of a New York City
cabbie\'s "natural cologne". After enduring ten minutes of the cabbie\'s "lemme
tell ya what\'s wrong with this country", I finally get to my destination.

As soon as I got there, I began to think about how sad it is that the
mall has very much become a part of American life. The Chinese have their rice,
we have our malls. Does anyone else see a problem with having over one-thousand
of these gaudy monstrosities across the country? Despite the fact that the era
of eighties-decadence has passed, the malls keep coming, and they keep getting
bigger. It\'s like something out of an Ed Wood flick.

I remember reading an article about how bad it\'s gotten. The largest
mall in America has 425 retail shops, 4.2 million square feet of space, over 13
thousand free parking spaces, 44 escalators, and cost $625 million dollars to
build. Oh, did I mention that there is a full blown amusement park in the center
of it all. It\'s just sick. When I was in Freeport, I remember hearing a radio
show which was running a contest. The prize? A trip to the largest mall in
America! Pretty soon, you\'ll have family vacations to the mall. I can see it now.
A room at the Hilton (which will be inside the mall of course). Dad goes
Herman\'s. Mom goes to Ann Taylor. The kids romp at the amusement park. A piece
out of Norman Rockwell\'s Americana.

When I went inside, I became dizzy at the sight of all of those frenzied
shoppers who are coolly determined to make it to JC Penney, Macy\'s and Sears all
in the same day. It was too much for me, so I decided I would just sit in the
food court and absorb what has been labeled "Mall Culture". Although the term
has Jerseyean origins, even in the Poughkeepsie Galleria, "Mall Culture" is
everywhere you look.

I decided that I\'d just grab a soft drink from Burger King and then go
sit down to take notes. Even though I had to repeat "No..not Coke... Cherry
Coke" several times, I managed to get my drink painlessly enough. I grabbed the
table with the fewest remnants of past double cheeseburgers, and settled in.

Nothing too exciting at first glance. Three girls cat walking up and
down the corridors, hair having been nuked with Aqua-Net Super Hold. I can
almost hear the curling iron sizzling as the alcohol based spray evaporates upon
contact with the heat of the iron. The result? The hair is arched, ascending
almost a foot in the air before descending back down. They\'re at the mall not to
shop, but to just absorb the mall culture. Although unlike me, they seem to
thrive in it. Their purses are larger than any back pack I\'ve owned, and are
undoubtedly filled with several virgin cans of heavy duty Aqua-Net which they
most likely purchased at the CVS only days ago. They periodically stop at the in
vogue stores to window shop, until they get to The Limited, and apparently
something catches their attention. They wander inside, casually brushing off the
sales person. "No thanks, we\'re just looking around". Even while inside the
store, their attention doesn\'t seem to be on shopping really. I notice that each
one of them has taken the opportunity to glance into the full-length mirror.
Fingers are run through the hair hoping to add just a little more "bounce". They
walk out of the store, laughing about something or the other, and I watch them
until they are out of sight.

Across from the food court there is a K-B