Sunday, November 13

Let's Go To The Mall.

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We're all probably several weeks away from starting our Christmas shopping this year, but I'm fairly certain that I'm already sick of the mall.

This happens to me every year, without fail. I've never been a huge fan of the mall; not when I was a kid, not even when I was a teenager. To me, the mall is like High School with cash registers. Everyone is better looking than you, everyone has more money than you, everyone is more in tune to what's popular at the moment, and everyone's in your way.

This weekend, me and the Missus went to the mall in Madison so she could pick up some new clothes. I was in the mood for a bit of a buying frenzy myself, as I've had an awful week and spending hard-earned money always seems to cheer me up.

When we go shopping together, I can circumnavigate an entire store in about 15 seconds. It doesn't take me long to see that they have nothing that I want. This is due to the fact that women shop and men buy. This doesn't sit too well with the Missus, who now has to entertain me while I peer over her shoulder, bored and ready to go home. The remedy for this was simple; we split up and meet at a neutral location at a set time. I'm not allowed to bother her until this set time, no exceptions. This gives her plenty of time to look for important things that she needs, and it gives me plenty of time to drink an Orange Julius and fall asleep on a bench.

We gave each other a couple hours, entered the mall and went our separate ways. You should know that it's not wise to have me go shopping alone. I always end up buying things that I don't need, purely out of boredom. It's the equivalent of grocery shopping on an empty stomach. You get home, and you start to question why you purchased a metric ton of Gummi Worms and an entire bag of Carnation Instant Breakfast. Had you eaten before you shopped, you would have bought only what you needed, and if you hadn't gone to the mall in a bad mood, you might still have money in your checking account once you got home. It's a bad recipe.

So, the Missus ran off to get her clothes, and I stood in the main corridor of the bustling mall, already wanting to kill anyone within a foot of me. Allow me to break down a few specific things that put me in thy murderous mood:

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1. The Christmas Season Starts On November 1.

The very second that the last shopper leaves the mall on Halloween night, they lock the doors and transform the place into Christmas Towne. Every song over the PA becomes a carol, Santa poses for pictures in front of non-denominational slogans (Happy Holidays! Merry Winter!), and fake snow covers the isles, although we won't get snow until late December. The Mall Christmas Season is almost 60 days long now, which is almost the length of an actual season. Weather I like it or not, the mall has violently thrust me into a holiday buying frenzy. Apparently, Thanksgiving isn't much of a spending holiday, so malls are in the habit of pretending that it doesn't exist.

2. When I Walk Into The Arcade, I'm The Only Person Who Speaks English.

Now, I know for a fact that Caucasians like video games. I'm absolutely sure of it. However, every single time I step into a local arcade, I'm instantly surrounded by men of all ethnicities but mine, sporting shaved heads, impossibly baggy clothing and 8 year old girlfriends. Even though I know for a fact that I won't play anything at the arcade, I always seem to find myself in one every time I go to the mall.

I consider it a carry-over from my childhood. Something always tells me that I'll find something fun to do in there, even though I never, EVER do. It always ends with me playing a game of Tekken with some Hmong kid that destroys me in a 4 second barrage of button mashing. Well, that was a blast. I specifically don't carry change on me anymore just so I don't feel tempted to enter arcades at the age of 23. Especially after I found out that I enjoy Dance Dance Revolution.

3. XXXL or XXXXL?

Women complain because there's nothing at the mall that's big enough for them. Most men complain that there's nothing at the mall small enough for them. Who gets the shorter end of the stick? Men do. In a mall that has 89% of their apparel geared towards women, they can always find at least something they'll be happy with. Me, I've seen 3 stores that carry small shirts for men. If you're not a 7 foot 9 male that weighs 1400 pounds, you won't find a shirt that fits unless you ask someone to dig around in the back for you.

When it comes to men's shirts, I'm a size small. On a bet, go looking for a shirt in a size small that's not the gayest thing you've ever seen. I dare you. People wonder why I wear nothing but black t-shirts and goofy sweaters. It's all I can find! Believe me, if I could put on 80 pounds, I would. Until then, please put some small-sized shirts on the rack. Small-chested American boys thank you.

The only places I can get small shirts that don't outright suck are Target, Express and the Gap, and even that's a stretch. Sure, there are other stores that carry small shirts for men, but I'd prefer not to wear a shirt that advertises the store's logo in GIANT LETTERS ON THE FRONT OF MY SHIRT. If I wanted to be a billboard, I would have sold space on my forehead to Golden Palace.com long ago. Keep your logos off of my clothes, and I'll stop messing up your carefully folded garments.

4. Kiosks Ahoy!

Don't buy stuff from kiosks. They are of poor quality and they are being sold by pushy foreigners who are on the run from the law. They stand in your way when you try to walk into actual stores, and they spray you with horrid fragrances and splort body lotion into your palms. 'Nuff said.

Kiosks are much like those little shops that you see in airports. Like Jerry Seinfeld says, "Do these people have any idea what the prices are everywhere else in the world? Tuna sandwich? Eighteen dollars. Tuna is very rare here." I once saw a board game for sale at a kiosk that was twice as expensive as the same game in the store right across from it. That's stunningly arrogant, and just bad business.

5. Don't Buy Books Or Music From Barnes & Noble.

Barnes & Noble is a cool place, seriously. They have a huge selection of books, a decent CD collection that rivals most chain stores, and a Starbucks in the lobby. The atmosphere makes you feel smarter and more sophisticated almost instantly. Problem is, you shouldn't ever buy anything there.

First off, the books are overpriced. Chances are, if you can find a book at Barnes & Noble, you can find it at Waldenbooks for cheaper. Remember Waldenbooks? That's the smaller book store at the other end of the mall that's going out of business because of Barnes & Noble. Give them a try someday, their employees are very friendly and lonely. They could use the company.

The music is INSANELY overpriced. They're one of the few stores on the planet that still sells albums for $19.99. I was looking at the new Fischerspooner album there, and it was $17.99 for 10 tracks. No, thank you. If shopping for albums at chain stores is in your wheelhouse, you'd be much better suited looking at Best Buy. There's always a Best Buy within 5 minutes of a Barnes & Noble, the prices are cheaper and they have a better selection. Besides, you should be supporting your local independent record store anyways.

Starbucks? Are you serious? What year is this? When at the mall, go to Gloria Jeans. They're the coffee shoppe on the other side of the mall that's going out of business because of Starbucks. They have a better selection, they are cheaper and the store smells really good. Besides, caffeine is no longer hip. Meth is making a huge comeback, so hop on that train while you still can.

6. Wing Stores Suck.

JC Penney, Macys, Bloomingdales, Boston Store, Younkers, Sears. For all the floor space they gobble up, you'd think they'd have something there you'd want. I could count up all the things I've purchased at wing stores on a one-fingered guy's hand. Too much variety is a bad thing, because then you miss out on the specialty stuff that sets you apart from other stores. When you lose variety, you become stale and people go elsewhere. If you think I'm full of it, there's plenty of unemployed Sam Goody salespeople who would like to have a word with you.

7. The Food Court Is The Most Depressing Place On Earth.

My God. If you've ever felt suicidal, but needed that one last push to justify your actions, look no further than your local food court. There, you will find society in various stages of mental, physical and social decay. Allow me to flashback you to a line from my last rant about the mall:

I don't like the crowds of kids that congregate at the Food Court and never buy anything. I'm just trying to get my Julius Smoothie and hit the road, and some kid who's barely visible through his massive sea of giant, baggy clothes is in my way and not moving. Hey kid, 1997 called and they want their raver pants back.

Whenever I find myself watching people at the food court, I get quite philosophical. I start to wonder if I'll be sitting in this same uncomfortable chair when I'm 80, sucking on the same hot chocolate and becoming part of the sorry mob I see before me. I begin to wonder if this is all there is to life. Showing up at the mall, spending money on things that don't matter and listening to Christmas carols in early November. It's usually at this time that the Missus shows up with a bag of clothes and a big smile, and things start to make sense again.

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We can't leave fast enough, but you can bet we'll be there again next weekend. Merry Holidays.

Comments:
shut up, you love the mall. You're the one who always wants to go there, and I'm the one who always has to say "why???"

P.S. I'm wearing my new sweater set today!
 
That's what I'm talking about. For some reason, I'm drawn there, thinking that I'll enjoy it. It never ends well, but I keep thinking that next time will be better.

I just love goods so much! I can't control myself!

That sweater set is slamming. You look beautiful.
 
As a person of more generous proportions... The mall has nothing for me either. Neither do rock bands. On the rare occasion a band does have XXL T's, it's that American Apparel brand that are actually one size smaller than the label indicates. On the rare chance I'll wear a logo, it'll be for a band noone's heard of or a record company noone's heard of. (Incidentally, Burnt Toast Vinyl sells their shirts for $6, decent quality shirts, too, available from S to XXL).

I think in thirty years we'll all be wearing black t-shirts. It's the only way. My problem is I can't find a decent non-pocket black T. I once found a 2-pack at Target of Hanes black t-shirts, no pocket. It was the last one they had, and they haven't had any since. I like the Hanes tagless ones, but now you have to buy a two pack of a black one and a grey one, and they have pockets.

I think at the end of this century, people will look back and have to admit that the most important advancement we achieved this century was the tagless t-shirt.

I always dread going to the mall, but once I'm there I always end up marveling at the accuracy of my intuition.
 
Yeah, don't doubt yourself about the mall, you're always right.

Bands have the worst sizes. If it's not too small, it's too big. Period.

Tagless t-shirts are a Godsend. The first time I saw Michael Jordan peddling them on television, I knew they would change my life for the better.

I have found much luck with the non-pocket black T at the Gap. They have many sizes, the material is comfortable and durable, and they run about $10 a shirt, or buy 2 get one free.

See, this is what I was talking about when I meant that women shop and men buy. I mean nothing sexist or mean about it whatsoever. It's just that when it comes to buying clothes for men, we only do so to survive. We look at clothes as a necessary means, and we stick to things that work for us.

The Missus was concerned about my well-being when I told her that I was buying the exact same black t-shirt that I already had. I tried to explain to her that I like to have a spare, and black t-shirts are something I should stock up on. She just kind of cocked her head to the side.

I bought a book instead. It was "Bat Boy Lives! The Weekly World News Anthology."
 
I don't think I've been to the mall in well over a year. I think the last time I went there was April (or maybe briefly last Christmas...). Pretty much the only reason I ever went in there was to get a Cool Mocha smoothie from the Orange Julius, which I hear isn't even there anymore.

I'm not planning on going to the mall anytime soon. F the mall.
 
Ideally I could buy black t-shirts by the dozen. I wear one probably 3 or 4 days every week. It's about time to restock. I've got at least a half-dozen, they're starting to look a little ratty. I'll have to check out the Gap, I haven't been in one for years.

Barnes and Noble is okay as long as you buy the cd the week it's released, and they tend to stock some stuff that Best Buy doesn't stock, plus the listening stations are pretty dang cool. But yeah, their regular prices border on comedy. Especially the ones that are like old back catalog releases from 1993 that you can get from BMG, and they want $19.99.
 
"F The Mall." Sounds like a good t-shirt design. Fall into the Gap.

The Mocha Smoothie is discontinued, so you really have no reason to go to the food court whatsoever.

The listening stations at Barnes and Noble are cool, but once you find something you want, you should head on over to Best Buy to pick it up. You're right about the "day of release" things, though. Best Buy does this too. You can get an album on the release date for about $10.
 
Pfffft. Atlanta Bread Company has a way better coffee-related smoothie anyway. A "Cappuccino Chiller," I believe. The caramel one is delightful.

I guess I'm never going to the mall again. Boy, would I have been pissed off if I went there for a Cool Mocha and they didn't even have it anymore. I would have thrown a fit right there in the food court.
 
"The caramel one is delightful."

See, this is why guys like us get mugged. Nice adjective use, though.

Boy, the food court is depressing. I feel very fortunate that I never had a job that required me to stay there against my will.
 
I forgot to compliment you on the malls are like high school bit... That's good stuff, I'm going to work that into a conversation at the earliest opportunity. It'll be delightful.
 
I forgot to compliment you on the malls are like high school bit... That's good stuff, I'm going to work that into a conversation at the earliest opportunity. It'll be delightful.
 
dangit.
 
I didn't get mugged for my adjective use, that's for sure. But that would have been funnier.

"Hey...he's describing things. Let's get his wallet!"
 
Thanks for the compliment. It's true, though. It's like stepping back into a sea of cliques and circles that you can't stand, yet always seem to find your way into.

"You think you're bad with your fancy action words? GET 'IM!"
 
I don't INTENTIONALLY shop, it just takes me forever to find something that fits on my strangely-shaped body. I think if you counted the Ryan vs. Celia clothes purchasing ratio, it would be 10:1.

I've been wearing the same clothes for the last 5 years, even though they don't fit. That's how much I loathe clothes shopping.
 
I go to the mall just for the thrill of looking for a good pair of jeans. All I want are a pair of jeans that fit my butt and upper thighs, but flare out towards the buttom, and they MUST look nice with my shoes. I hate getting home with like four new pairs of pants, only to find out that only one of them fits me the way I want them to, despite trying them on at the store.
 
The new clothes that the Missus got are smoking hot.

I think there's a laser beam in the security thing that hits the pants when you leave; making them twice as ill-fitting as when they were in the changing room. That always happens to me.

Sherry, you just described my perfect pair of pants.
 
I'm thankful that flares are coming back into style again (not that straight-cut or boot-cut crap). Looks like boy-style wastes are in, too, so no more bending over and having my entire can exposed!
 
Sounds like you guys missed out on the age of the tapered jeans (and then you can fold and roll the ends to tighten the taper). It was pretty great. Actually, for bmx bandits like myself it was pretty sweet. I don't know how kids getting rad do it these days.

Just say no to crack! Bwahahahaha, oh man. [sigh]
 
That's always funny. You're the queen of accidental exposures. It's a good thing the paparazzi doesn't follow you around.
 
I don't know how kids these days can even consider getting rad without tapered pants.
 
I don't think they do consider it, and that's the problem.
 
Have you tried going to bazaars or garage sales? I actually go to those to buy stuff instead of the mall (except maybe if there's a Christmas sale). Thanks for the malling tips anyway.


Danny Riddell
 

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