Love it or hate it: Malls

by Patty Templeton

Love ItI wish I could say that I hate malls, but I don’t. I really don’t. I f*cking love going to the mall.

The mall is where my 14-year-old self would commandeer a food court table with my bestie to people-watch and talk. It was the Big Wide Open World where everything was possible because nobody knew who you were.

There’s nostalgia to my adoration. The mall is where I tried on a thousand bras for the first time. It’s where I had my first calzone at Sbarro. It’s where I met my good pal Frankenmonster 10-plus years ago while working at a downtrodden Waldenbooks.

Maybe malls used to be a portrait of capitalist overspending, but these days, with the interwebs taking over our everything, the mall seems like one of the last bastions of people leaving their houses and finding physical community.

BONUS: “Dawn of the Dead” and “Chopping Mall” are both trashtastic horror movies that take place in malls and David Byrne’s movie, “True Stories,” has a brief mall setting. I love them all.

Patty TempletonHate itPerhaps it’s unfair to malls elsewhere, but after a maiden visit to the mall in Farmington over the weekend, my distaste for malls only grew (even though the Durango (s)mall makes its Farmington counterpart look like a Saudi palace).

Perhaps it was the entire wing of the mall that smelled like a garbage disposal that had eaten a head of cabbage two weeks earlier (that’s the danger with such enclosed spaces). Or the dime-a-dozen clothing stores with the over-eager sales crew there to meet you at the front because you’re the first person they’ve come into contact with all day. Or perhaps it’s the fact that malls are essentially museums to empty space, thanks both to the cavernously-high ceilings creating vast amounts of air to be heated and cooled, and the number of empty shops for lease.

No, my distaste for malls isn’t so much hatred as it is pity. While flagship stores usually pull off the bustling mall atmosphere of yore, there’s too much forgotten glory and modern-misery elsewhere: The empty video arcade; the bored, smartphone users working at the numerous phone, hair extension, and candy kiosks; the dingy rug shops, or Western-wear shops, or art studios.

It’s no wonder malls have gone out of fashion pretty much everywhere. And the ones still clinging on make me want to cry.

David Holub


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