Sunday, June 3, 2018

Trinkets and Baubles.

 I remember a few years ago, one of my friends had to travel to China for work as many of us did from time to time. He noticed the workers in the factory all had cell phones and they obsessed over them. Buying new jackets, sleeves and cases every few days, putting on stickers, changing the styles and buying little accessories to go with them. One day he asked a guy he had become close with, why there seemed to be this obsession with the phones. The guy told him that most of them will never own a car, they will never own their home and they won't be able to afford a family, he then went on to say that the phone was the one thing that belonged to them, it was the only thing they could express their personality through. I felt really sad when I heard that, it's like some bad futuristic movie only it's real, I remember thinking to myself that I hoped it never happened here.

 Fast forward to today, I was in a mall last week that I have gone to since I was about eight years old. I had noticed the decline of the mall over the last few years and last week was startling. I think it has to do with the way today's youth shop for things and also the cost of goods. Gone are all the stores that sold quality goods and practical goods. Even the anchor store Sears is gone now. I wanted a pair of pants, I was shocked to learn not one store catered to men, they were all for women only and mostly boutique stores. The other thing I noticed was the kiosks in the center iles that used to sell practical items like cookware, leather belts and special accessories were replaced by people selling new and used guady costume jewelry and used items like old china sets, lamps or coins that had no value. It looked like the people bought the items from an estate sale or garage sale and brought them to the mall to sell.

 The thing that I found most unsettling was that the stores were replaced by companies selling mobile phone contracts, row upon row of them. The only other stores and kiosks that were still in business were selling accessories, sleeves and jackets for cell phones. Basically the entire mall was cheap jewelry, ladies panties and cell phone paraphernalia. I call that junk, it's not useful. Where are the clothing stores, speciality shops for food, real shoe stores etc. Cat and dog posters are useless to me. Frightening really, is this what our economy is becoming. It reminds me of when the Europeans first came over and gave the native people trinkets for their land. The natives paid a heavy price for basically junk. As I was leaving I heard one friend say to another, "didn't you just buy a new case for your phone", and the friend said, "well I can't afford a car and I live with my parents, this is the only thing that's mine... dude".


rjjs8878 said...

It looks like you'll have to shop for jeans in the city or online.

Michael said...

I think many malls are in a general decline unless they reinvent themselves. The mall closest to me is a place I haven't been to in at least three years. There is still a Sears store there, but I think it is only a matter of time before that goes.

Ur-spo said...

well said/fun read.

Mike said...

That last paragraph takes my breath away. How far will we sink? Was the middle class dream ever real?

Reminds me of my experience with the Soviet track team in 1975. When they came here for a US-Soviet track me, we grad students were hired as interpreters. In their free time the athletes wanted to go shopping. Not the fancy stores, they wanted Woolworths. They scooped up cheap, little household items they couldn't find at home. There was one funny incident. The women's shot put star wanted to buy a wig. Thinking a bribe was required, she surreptitiously passed to the clerk a bottle of vodka!

Deedles said...

Interesting post, Steven. I think what's happening, at least in my case, is that people shop online more. I stopped frequenting malls, for the most part, when they got rid of all of the book stores. That was the main reason I'd go there.
I just have one teensy weensy bone of contention here. Ladies' panties are NOT useless! You never know when you may develop a leak, and it's good to have that layer protecting your outerwear. It's the little things that matter sometimes. Of course, I'm not talking about those things they sell at Victoria Secret and such. Those make usefulish hankies though.

Agnes Goldberg-DeWoofs said...

I haven't stepped foot in a mall is years, except for one department store in the King of Prussia Mall not far from here. Most malls are empty.....with raging rents, and not to mention, the teens scurrying around like mice make me nervous. My husband William and I go to NYC to do my shopping. I like a store with good service and quality goods.