We met the inlaws for lunch at a Chinaman (Chinaman is what city people call any Chinese restaurant in the City of St. Louis – is this a regional thing? Is it racist? Probably yes on both accounts is my guess) on our Monday holiday and I had to chuckle at my father in law a little bit when he said that he wanted to stop into Sears because they had shorts on sale.
When I think of Sears I think of hardware, tools and Craftsman tractors, not clothes. Well, strike that, I also think of husky kids because that’s where they used to have to buy their clothes when I was a kid. I don’t think they have a size called husky anymore outside of super hero costumes since “husky” isn’t politically correct.
That husky costume delighted me to no end when I saw it at Walmart last year, but exactly zero other people shared my enthusiasm so I’m trying it again.
Anyway, we hopped on over to Sears after stuffing our bellies full of MSG and iced tea so PawPaw could find him some short pants at the hardware store.
This particular hardware store is located in a shopping plaza filled with other stores that we used to refer to collectively as a mall.
Ah the mall. Does anybody still go to the mall on purpose?
I remember when going to the mall was a family event! We’d go out to eat and then hit the mall to walk around for a couple of hours looking at wacky posters and clothes in Spencer’s Gifts, getting a double scoop of rocky road from Swanson’s and, if we were really lucky and it was payday weekend, going to the arcade for a bit. Those were good nights.
Around my parts, many malls opened in the suburbs, and even the city itself opened two malls with much fanfare, Union Station and St. Louis Center. When the city malls opened, it was during a time when lofts weren’t really a thing and most urban flight had already taken place. That being the case, the malls were popular during the work day with people who’d actually spend money, but became a place for gangbangers and homeless folks to hang out and stay warm on the weekends. Eventually, the gangbangers were so abundant that one mall enacted a policy that forbade anybody from wearing a bandana on their person. In other words, if Aunt Jemima came into the mall, she’d be asked to remove her head wear or be escorted out of the building.
It caused a minor stink because most of the people coming into the mall wearing colored bandannas were black kids so, of course the policy was racist. Eventually, the city malls became ghost towns and today offer nothing useful to the average shopper.
Call it coincidence, but the most accessible suburban malls via public transportation (i.e. gangbangers with no other ride) from the city also became useless as shopping centers and eventually closed their doors.
The one we visited on Monday was doing pretty well it seemed even though there were as many places to buy cell phones and cell phone accessories as their were people shopping.
For a little while at least, I was actually enjoying myself as I walked around the mall taking in the sights like I used to. I noticed the Lids store had an old school Montreal Expos baseball hat that I’ve been wanting and stepped into the store to check it out.
Well, unlike all the unemployed looking teenagers in the store, I didn’t have $35 to be spending on no baseball cap. I can get the same hat online for $15 less.
So, I left Lids shaking my head and wondering why anybody goes to a mall anymore if they can get the same damn thing for so much less money online.
I’m not sure if grandpa got his pants or not, but I did buy Mawmaw an ice cream maker that she’d been wanting, so the kids and I are looking forward to some home made ice cream. I checked online out of curiosity and was pleasantly surprised to see that the ice cream maker was $20 less at the Macy’s in the mall where I bought it than it was on Amazon.
You win this time, the mall. There may be hope for your future yet.