Monday, April 30, 2012

Re-malling that time

I went to a mall today.  Rae and I went to this particular mall as Delaware offers tax-free shopping, and this location is within minutes of the shelter at which we volunteer.  We had a short list, a mission to execute, and it was a little exciting to see the inside of a mall again. 

Oh, it was quite exciting.  Actually, it was over stimulating and brought out some mild agoraphobia.  I dealt with it well, though; highly sweetened caffeine and good company have a calming effect.  Alright: mostly the good company.

Let’s start with a basic observation: In our corner of the country, the weather was beautiful today.  I don’t think any combination of free candy, hamburgers, beer, strippers, and a marching band could have made this day better – and I’m a fan of most of the above.  Strippers deeply disturb me. 

I am amused by this concept of, “It’s a beautiful day outside – let’s hang out at the mall!”  Do people not realize that means being outside for a minute, in your car for twenty, outside for two minutes, in the mall for four hours, and then back outside when it’s too damnably dark to appreciate the gorgeous day?  I mean, excuse my language, but what the fuck is wrong with these people?

I worked in a mall for nearly four years.  Despite being a larger mall than the one we visited today, I was so intensely overwhelmed by the amount of noise in this mall.  I was bowled over by noise before the wafts of unclean children and Taco Bell took over my senses.  There was music, advertising, and conversations all being managed with outdoor-voices, despite being inside.  If I saw someone standing around not screaming, they were talking to their own reflection in the bathroom mirror, as they fiddled with the water knobs, not washing their own hands. 

The presence of this sales machine was as evident as the secret service around the president.  There was no where you could go, and no way to look where it could not assault you.  Even the people there to partake of the shopping were only contributing to the low-level hysteria being pumping out.  With all the noise and chaos, I was surprised there wasn’t more going on - some singer’s appearance, Santa Clause, eastern bunny, Mongolian orgy, etc.

I did my best to grab Rae’s hand and hold on for dear life.  I felt the future of this country, and I wanted out.  I was disgusted by how easily everyone ignored it.  Most of all, I was upset with myself for having been a part of it for so long.

Now, I don’t mean I had a hissy fit in the middle of the mall.  Nor did I waste a wonderful day dwelling on it.  It was a compartmentalized thought that was acknowledged and stored.  To think that I could have contributed to this chaotic cash-grabbing assault on every sense was sickening, though.

When my employment ended, I made a claim that it is the consumer’s responsibility to hold sellers accountable.  Yet, here thousands of people have been so indoctrinated to this concept of spending a beautiful day inside, with these merchandisers seeking to take the money and time of their customers.  It’s an exemplification of the cattle upon which the corporations remain well fed, friends.  The cow never questions what a cow is supposed to do, because it is never told that it can.

Which leads me to state again: the people selling these products to you? – They think you’re a moron.  They’ve trickled down, streamlined, and over-sexed everything in order to make it look like you want something you have no clue about.  A smarter consumer would stand up, and demand a smarter product, but from the advertising, assault, and inventory I saw today, I’d say a grade-school education only need apply.

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