This Week's Inanity: I HATE ALL MALLS

Ivan Walsh / Flickr
As you might expect, mannequins have no soul.

I should probably say this up front. I don’t like the mall.


I hate the mall.

It’s not one mall in particular. And there are plenty of good people who work there and plenty of good stores. For instance, I like hats. At Carolina Place Mall, there are at least five stores, maybe more, that sell hats. The market is flooded with hats, which means that Carolina Place Mall has a hat bubble, because any economist will tell you that a hat that’s sold at five stores should be way cheap.

But other than hat stores, I hate the mall because I do not like to shop. I don’t ever feel like I need anything. I am what is wrong with this economy, because I really only spend my money on craft beer and oil changes. Everything else, like my rack of dress shirts from 1997, is perfectly fine and does not need to be replaced. Every time Wife and I go to the mall, she will wait about 20 minutes before asking me, “Is this really that hard for you?” And I put my hands up in my armpits, vigorously nod and say nothing. Then she sighs and we go to Nordstrom.

I say this as a guy who used to work at a mall. I once worked at Structure one December in high school. They let me wear whatever I wanted, so long as it came from the store. So I bought myself some olive green nylon track pants with cargo pockets and a blaze orange-and-gray long sleeve t-shirt. Then I handed out fashion advice.

Lo, I went to the Carolina Place Mall today because I had to finish up shopping for Wife. I am also getting over the flu that came to me Tuesday despite my early flu shot, which means my doctor is full of s–t, man. Of course, that’s probably the vaccine talking.

It took me a long time to make it to the mall. I took South Boulevard to Pineville and so did everybody else, and they all have this habit of using their blinkers and cutting you off. And they sort of stare at you as they talk on their bluetooth/iPhone, as if, you know, the presence of your car among all others is the reason why they are going to be late:

I know Trudy, I can’t believe Ted broke up with– ehrmegerd this a-hole is in the right lane, acting like he’s too good to let me in. I know! Yes I had my blinker on! Guy still won’t yield! Yeah, I’ll stay on the line. I actually drive better with my knees.

In I went, shuffling like an influenzed zombie through Carolina Place, dodging the remote control helicopter and not even giving the cell phone cover kiosk a second glance. I knew what I came for. I wanted to walk in, buy it, cough a little, and leave.

So I did. I bought it. And then I walked into another store and saw something better. So I bought it, then walked back to the first store and returned the first thing I bought. I am not going to say what I bought, because I don’t want Wife to know, but let’s just say, for example, you couldn’t find a replica Death Star, so instead you bought a really big white Voit ball, and then as you’re leaving, BOOM. DEATH STAR WITH GRAND MOFF TARKIN INSIDE.

I also set off the alarm on the way out of the store, which makes everybody spin and look at you like you’re in Inception.

(I just took my temperature. It’s 101. Back to my consumerist rage.)

I shuffled lightheaded past a mall Santa, which came with the requisite angry children. No kid seems to know why they can’t see Santa RIGHT NOW. So they whine and say “mommmmm!!!!” and wriggle around like their clothes are full of fire ants. And then they amble up to Santa and think, you know what? I’ve put in the time. I’m going to make it worth my while. They sit there and ramble and think and become more indecisive about potential gifts– should I ask for the red fire truck or the blue one, I mean red is so traditional, but blue is something that nobody else is going to have, and just for the resale value alone– actually, yeah. I’m going to come back to that one.

Also, there was a mom in line wearing adult pajamas. Mom.


After forty-five minutes, I made it out. I escaped. I told the clerks to have a happy holiday, because I am a soldier in the War on Christmas. I got behind the wheel, wheezed, wiped my wet brow, cut three people off with my car, and got home just in time for Wife to see me carrying in her presents.

She swears she didn’t see what they were. I told her not to check the bank statement for clues. But if she starts questioning me, and if I start sweating, at least I can blame the flu.