Sunday, May 03, 2015

Decline of the Mall

The Great Mall of the Great Plains, one of the indoor malls in Kansas City, will be closing in October. Many of the remaining stores, including the Book Warehouse, a discount bookstore, are closing this month.  When my son was much younger, this mall offered a place for him to run around and to climb on the play equipment. Now he describes it as post-apocalyptic.

The opening of the Harundale Mall in Glen Burnie, Maryland was a major event when I was a child. My sister and I used to go there quite often on weekends. As I grew up, it offered a place to buy a record, pick up a book, or shop for jeans.

About twenty-five years ago, the common final for all of the composition classes where I was teaching required that the students respond to an essay about mall rats, those teens who hung out in malls. Teens apparently have found somewhere else to go.  Some students, now, when speaking of their high school years, tell me that they did whatever they could to make themselves appear attractive to scholarship committees or to college admissions. Other students tell me that they were forced to work during high school and often had little time to complete their homework when they got off work and barely got six hours of sleep each night during the week.

The mall, as a place to hang out, has become a victim of our failing economy and our limited amounts of time. It is much easier to shop from the comfort of one's home and to have that stuff delivered while spending time doing something other than driving to the mall and walking around among the crowds. Personally, during my free moments, I much prefer to get aside and to walk or meditate beside the river.