I have clearly become so local I can’t remember what it is like to venture into a shopping mall or superstore. Sure I’ve been dragged around by friends and supplemented my shopping sometimes at the odd chain. But nothing could prepare me for being slung into an American shopping mall for the first in a year.
Every Christmas I visit my in-laws in a little town south of San Francisco. Without wishing to offend my lovely family there this little town is sort of what spurs me on when the going gets tough at Wedge. The town is spread out with probably six big malls with shops that look like they suffer from elephantiasis, so large are they. No-one walks on the pavements and there is no atmosphere to the town, nothing special that says this is me, this is why my town is great. The shopping and the products are all exactly the same from this town to the next, and all across that vast nation.
The mall was full of pre-Christmas buyers and my sister-in-law and I went to buy some rain boots for my son. I used to go to malls all the time. I spent my early teenage years festering in one just like this. I should feel fine here. Except I didn’t. I felt overwhelmed. I started oozing want from every pore; my eyes went fuzzy as I zoomed from store to store thinking how wonderful I would feel if I bought this sparkly top / those shoes / that necklace. It all got a bit overheated and soon I was in meltdown. I found it hard to concentrate on the goal, one pair of rain boots. When I found some they seemed imperfect, not quite right. I had this nagging feeling that just around the corner there was something better, more thoroughly perfect. This is odd coming from a woman who is always happy with the imperfect, so long as we can just leave the shop right now!
After careful examinations of all the rain boots in the 300,000 sq foot space I left empty handed. Both my sister-in-law (who is used to such ventures) and I were happy to leave. We sought the fresh air like gratefully saved drowning rats. I asked her if I was just plain nuts, didn’t it seem that there was both everything to buy and nothing? All was perfect yet just around the corner was something better. Did she feel as drugged as I? Fortunately she said yes, actually she did. And I felt relieved that this shock to the system happened so rarely now that I could actually feel it coming on – the Mall Meltdown I think I shall name the disease. Cause – too much stuff to buy, too bright lights, too many big shops. Solution – try bite sized buying, much better for the mind and the spirit.