Life in the Boomer Lane loves to shop. Anywhere, anytime, anyplace. (A digression here: LBL is not a shopaholic. Nor is she wealthy. Often, she buys nothing when she shops. When she does buy, it is mostly items on sale or on discount. And most of what she buys she returns anyway, which is the topic either for a future post or a behavioral psychologist).
Back to the topic-at-hand. But for all that LBL loves to shop, her mania for shopping does not include shopping malls. She avoids shopping malls at all cost, only venturing there when a specific item can be found nowhere else. There are many reasons why:
1. Shopping mall parking garages are not suitable for people with developmental topographagnosia (look it up). If LBL adds up all the time she has spent trying to find her car in shopping mall parking garages, she will have reduced her years lived by about 12. She could have used this time to earn multiple graduate degrees, write a bestselling novel, or get to the bottom of alien astronaut influence on all the great ancient civilizations of history.
2. LBL has a problem with how indoor malls are set up. They are like Las Vegas casinos. One has no sense of daytime/nighttime/actual life. Their purpose is to separate one from both reality and one’s money. One can only watch people scurrying from store to store, all buying the exact same merchandise, in an endless loop of Gap/Baby Gap/Toddler Gap/Boomer Gap/Toothless Gap. This scares LBL a lot.
3. Independent kiosks that line the center aisles of the larger malls are manned by people who, in past generations, sold magic elixirs to the uneducated masses. LBL has been sucked into trying on fake hair pieces, been cajoled into buying ridiculously expensive skin care products from the Dead Sea, and narrowly escaped purchasing a glow-in-the-dark Mickey Mouse tee-shirt.
4. Food courts in shopping malls always have an Asian emporium, in which someone stands out in the aisle, dispensing samples of food that have astronomical sodium content and are most likely made from nuclear animals. LBL samples it all. Sometimes, she buys it. But whatever LBL ultimately chooses to spend her money on (ethnic/American/Haagen Dazs), she will most surely regret having made the purchase.
5. Auntie Annies. LBL would like these removed from all malls. Whenever LBL spots an Aunties Annies, even if she is on her way to the food court, she will purchase one. An Auntie Annie bears as much relationship to an actual pretzel as a Dunkin’ Donuts Glazed Donut Breakfast Sandwich does to a donut, a breakfast sandwich, or to any food that should be consumed by living beings.
6. The bathroom situation in the mall is not conducive to post-menopausal female shoppers. Bathrooms in malls are usually located at the end of long corridors and are filled with teenage girls who are applying makeup and never seem to have the need to actually enter a bathroom stall, while LBL sits patiently, reading the graffiti that covers the door, and attempts to be completely silent (and failing) while she answers nature’s call.
7. LBL is disturbed by the shoppers themselves. Where do these people work? LBL is a realtor, so, according to Truly Beloved Daughter, she doesn’t work. Or rather, she has time during the day to flit off to a store when the need arises. Every time LBL is forced to be in a shopping mall during the day during the week, it is packed with women, men, and young school age children. It is unlikely that all of these people are realtors (especially the children). And, if they don’t work, where do they get the money to shop all day? And why don’t the children go to school? Do schools have mandatory shopping days?
8. And, speaking of school children, LBL often sees entire school systems, decked out in matching tee shirts and accompanied by adults, clumped near the exact mall escalator that LBL is trying to access. As a proud resident of the DC metropolitan area, LBL is used to seeing school groups at monuments and the Smithsonian. She cannot fathom why a trip to the local mall would be of value to these people.
9. Shopping malls are scary in the evening. Adolescents who would normally have the sense to hang out on dark street corners, instead troll the mall in rabid packs, in full sight of normal humans with fully developed brain matter. The girls are dressed in completely inappropriate manners, reminding LBL that her own body has seen better days.
10. If one (meaning LBL) is actually fortunate enough to come upon her car sheerly by accident after she is finished shopping, as well as to locate one of the hidden garage exits, she vows never to return again. That hasn’t worked yet.