I was out and about yesterday and decided to hit the mall. It's something I usually don't do, because, as most of you who drop by here know, I don't like to pay retail if I can avoid it. But yesterday was a typical Sunday of late for me: rootless, without focus and with a bit jingle in my pocket. So I drove to Silverdale and took in their gigantic Goodwill, which was right across the street from the equally large and wildly busy Costco, and so, for the heck of it, I took in Costco, too. But it was the mall that thrilled me yesterday. What is it about brand new sparkly things that gets folks so excited? Is it something the manufacturers build into the packaging that draws us in? Is it some sort of slow release chemical that attracts customers in the way that exotic flowers draw in flies?
There is a sort of energy at the mall on busy Sunday that can't be matched anywhere else, well, maybe outside of a major factory production line or the Seattle Center on New Year's eve or during a key moment at a big sporting event. It was beyond busy, human running about like newly minted molecules, excited children bumping around like pinballs. The light, always kaleidescopic in a place like that, took on a carnival air. And it applied to almost all corners of the place. No shop or kiosk or big box store was immune. I cruised fast, skirting around customers like an old tin-can destroyer on a high seas cruise, getting in my walk for the day, and took in all the sights, big retailers like Penny's and Macy's, just to see the latest cookgear, as well as old favorites like Cost Plus World Bazaar (always liked their rug and wine assortment).
But in order to slip away from all the pre-holiday madness and catch my breath I snuck away to the cookbook aisles of Barnes and Noble. It was great having that store as an access point to the Mall. It was a sort of sylvan glen to rest in before I slipped out into the desert of retail madness, and a nice place to decompress before I headed off to my car. One thing for certain, if I am ever going to have a good thing going with my cookbook collection I must have readily accessible shelving like they do, and an equally large room to store them in. I was wowed, as I should have been, by the size and breadth and freshness of their collection, but being the after-retailer that I am, I couldn't bear to look at the prices after a few moments so I just took note of the most happening and nifty of their stock and left.
I do love going to the mall, no doubt about it. There was a time when I regularly exercised credit cards there, but those days are long gone. I think of those kinds of places as the new town squares. We dress the part and stroll about, like kings and queens and duchess in the gardens of Versailles. We get to show off our feathers, blow cash we don't have, eat cookies and bad Chinese and overly crusty pizza, smile loudly, bang about like loose cannons and yell after our children, but it's all in the name of commerce and patroiotism and retail therapy. I love that last part. That shop till you drop thing. And then, after we rest our feet, knock back a good cup of coffee and a heavily sugared treat, we jump back into shopping combat mode and go at it again, sort of like kids on Halloween night. They never seem to be satisfied until those sacks of theirs are embarassingly full. Watching the crowds yesterday, I saw no reason to believe that unemployment stood at 10 percent. Heck, all I saw was the full recovery of the nation being just around the corner, all stuffed into large department store sacks.
Yeah, I'll be back. See you in the cookbook aisle some Sunday, eh?
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