I revel in my immaturity. Maybe it's not immaturity as much as it is childlike-ness. I'm proud of the fact that I've pretty much liked and disliked the same things my whole life. So that makes me ponder: "What in the world did I ever see in the mall?" I think I do know the answer: "Freedom". It was the first place my parents ever dumped me off with a friend, let us walk around unaccompanied for hours and then picked us up later. I think I was about 12 but since my kids just turned 12 on Friday and that ain't gonna happen... let's just say I was 15. In fact why don't we just forget the "drop-off" part altogether and say I was 16 and drove myself?
I'm not much of a shopper so I guess the whole mall appeal did wear off for me about the time I got a driver's license but that's where I found myself, for 5 hours no less, the other day.. When my triplets were small, their birthdays were easy. We rented a bouncy house party place, invited all of their friends to eat cake and get bouncy house burns on their arms and legs for 3 hours. That was then. Using my sound parental judgment, I thought that inviting a group of kids in varying stages of puberty might bring a whole new unwanted meaning to "the bouncy house". So for the past 2 years, I've let my kids each plan a "birthday day" to do whatever he or she wanted. This year, my daughter Carly picked the mall. Did I drop off her and her friend? Of course not. I walked 3 paces behind them for 5 hours like I was the Secret Service. I know that this would be the perfect time and place to critique my daughter's thirst for shopping that she inherited from I don't know where, but she actually did a pretty good job of shopping responsibly and not begging me for shit that I had no intention of buying. Instead, I feel more compelled to critique some of the stores. I read on the internet that if I write about the mall, I can write off all of her birthday purchases on my taxes next year.
My disdain for certain mall stores has always been there. I distinctly remember being 17 and walking in and out of any store where the sales people seemed to be working on commission. I couldn't bear being followed around the store and asked "May I help you?" 5 times by 5 different sales people in a span of 10 minutes. (I think I actually preferred the ones who just followed me around because I was a teenager and figured I was shoplifting.)
My short list of most annoying mall stores according to me and nobody else:
Sephora: I am what I am so people and places that pretend to be something irk me. $20 for a blending sponge for those too high class to buy their make-up at Walgreen's. But it was the faux friendliness that was the most annoying. I told the greeter at the door that my daughter wanted the free mini-makeover as part of her birthday day. After she told us the makeover wasn't available she said: "Happy Birthday!!" with such exuberance to my daughter's friend who is of a totally different ethnic background than us as opposed to my daughter who looks like me with glasses which makes me think in all of her exuberance, the sales woman didn't even look at us.
Build-a-Bear You've all undoubtedly heard by now about their debacle where they offered the bears at the price of your kid's age so a $30 bear suddenly became $5. (I thought of going in there to build myself a bear but didn't see the point in paying $54 for a $30 bear. ) Not that my daughter and her friend --2 sophisticated tweens-- went anywhere near this place the other day. I just hate places that make little kids want things that are so overpriced and that most of their parents can't afford.. and that require a la carte accessories. (You can imagine how I feel about American Girl dolls). I found that craze a few weeks ago very strange. People stood in line for hours and hours with toddlers. For what possible reason? Did their 3 year old say: "Hey Mommy, did you read on Facebook about the great deal that Build-A-Bear is having? Can we go? Please?!"
Claire's: This is by far my least favorite mall store. Never mind that my daughter got her ears pierced there last year and almost had to go through life with a latex glove and a salesgirl's finger attached to her lobe. Also never mind the absurdly bright lights that make you feel like you got your pupils dilated at the eye doctor's then took a stroll on the sun. It's the blatant attempt to rip off young girls that I mind. Glitzy, novelty crap with jacked-up prices. Oh, but they have a great deal! Buy 3 glitzy novelty crap items with jacked up prices and get 3 free. My daughter's friend, when I wasn't looking, got a few trinkets that rang up as $40. Of course the cashier didn't tell her that what she had picked as her "3 free items" were not going to be her "3 free items" because they weren't the cheapest items she had picked. The woman just told her: "The free items come off at the end." When the girl had enough presence of mind to tell her to refund everything, the woman said: "You can pick cheaper items if you want." When she said "no" to that, the woman countered with: "Or you can buy one and get half off something else." Wait, let me go outside and look at the sign. Are we at a mall or a carnival?
I guess we can deduce then, that I'm fine with the food court, the parking, the kiosks, and the other hundred or so stores in the mall. My favorite mall stores by far though are the ones that nobody ever makes me go into.
Thanks a lot for stopping by! Please stay tuned for previews of my latest book: "Laughing IS Conceivable: No Matter How Many You're Carrying". Insanity in its Infancy -about getting pregnant with, staying pregnant with, giving birth to, and caring for-- more than one baby. Coming Soon! In the meantime: If you'd like Laughing IS Conceivable updates, please subscribe to my not-ridiculously-frequent newsletter at the bottom of my home page. And if you'd like more laughs at life's expense, kindly check out my books in my Laughing IS Conceivable series at the menu at the top... (One book is for parents right about now & one is for those dealing with infertility anytime.)