Friday, August 10, 2012


A friend of mine was visiting from Ohio and wanted to venture to the Mall of America (MOA). Roopa is a hunter & gatherer, shopping is an adventure for her. She gets a thrill out of finding a bargain and is a bit competitive in her comparison-shopping. We went to the mall for two successive days. I visit the mall perhaps once per year so this was an odd occurrence since I consider procurement of commodities to be an unpleasant task.

I was an observer during the trips, except for a meal that I will write a nosh review soon. I have no money to spend since I have been struggling with unemployment/underemployment for over three years. I don’t really like chain-stores anyway because their merchandise lacks originality. Too many times I have been to a party and three people wore the same outfit. I prefer to shop at second hand stores like Arc’s Value Village or Goodwill. Plus, the perfumes, dyes, and fixatives used on the wares invoke my allergies. I’m very sensitive to formaldehyde so I don’t enjoy being in a shop for very long.

Anyway, here are some of the things that I noticed while waiting for Roopa. The MOA is designed for disorientation. It would be pleasant if the corridors had a color-coded designation. I like the addition of seating areas in the hallways for people like me who are marooned while the buying frenzy finishes. There are now kiosks every thirty feet or so that flash messages. I presume that the kiosks can also post multi-lingual public safety information in case of a storm or emergency. The MOA is now 20 years old and I've only been there about a dozen times so I notice changes.

Roopa wanted to visit the Disney Store to procure stuff for her kids. There are cool video screens, which project upon fake trees. A very stunning visual effect. Disconcerting that every manikin was caucasian. You’d think that this huge international conglomerate would be more inclusive. Plus, the Spiderman apparel was only for boys, they should include some girl outfits too. I found the music to be really annoying so I retreated to the corridor while she pounced.

People watching at the MOA was entertaining since I foolishly forgot to bring a book. Teenage females wear almost identical outfits and roam in pairs or a pack. Teenage boys like to hang out in groups of three and wear complimentary outfits. Adult women dress with a bit more individuality but tend to have nearly matching handbags as their friends. Adult men didn’t seem to go the mall unless they were with a female. I guess that they are afraid.

What surprised me the most was the amusement park, Nickelodeon World. It was a beautiful summer day and the park was packed. Why would people want to be inside? I was disturbed by the constant roar and screaming. I like the skylights but the recreational area does get darker at sunset. Not the place to bring excitable kids because they would go wild.

The MOA was lacking any outward efforts to recycle. Nary a bin did I see. It would really be a good thing if all malls would implement a “green” prerogative. The St. Paul River Center offers the best example and the Minneapolis Convention Center is close behind. So much food is tossed that should be composted. All retailers should focus on reducing waste and recycling. It makes more sense to be “green” because it helps the proverbial bottom line to increase profit and gosh darn it, its better for the world.

See ya at the mall, perhaps next year!
© 2012 Ima B. Musing

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