DEATH OF MALLS
There are two types of articles you’ll read, assuming you are so inclined, on the death of malls. And by malls I’m speaking primarily of indoor malls, those mecca’s popularized in the Seventies and Eighties as training spots for future Yuppies where you were encouraged to window shop, shop til you dropped, consume vast quantities at the food court ( some peoples primary exposure to foreign-ish cuisine ) and socialize with your friends. Hell, even shuffle along pitifully if you were an old fart desperately trying to burn off enough artery plaque accumulated over a lifetime of eating food court type consumables to live just a little while longer so you could play another round of golf ( some old farts growing up in the heyday of riches assumed by some twisted Madison Ave propaganda and public school conditioning that the rest of society wanted them around forever ). Outdoor strip malls are not in the same category and shouldn’t be confused.
An outdoor mall is your regular suburbia types of stores grouped together with no other purpose in mind than since traffic anymore, anywhere, is of such biblical plague proportions that if you can park once and shop at three stores you are much better off than driving separately to each. It isn’t so much convenience as it is an almost required mental heath priority. I’ve actually known people who enjoy driving in this kind of traffic, and they are all, not to insult live performers, friggin circus freaks. You have to have a screw loose ( I’m sure that to these people, so divorced from reality that a bad acid trip on pure Owsley LSD would be a cinema and popcorn, think they are in a video game and enjoy the adrenaline rush. This is simple poor social skills, a lack of respect for everyone else. Also indicative of civilization collapse as there exists zero cultural cohesion anymore ). Indoor malls have no redeeming virtues other than pure unbridled luxury consumption. So, while the death of indoor malls are indicative of one problem, outdoor malls are a completely separate one. You should not confuse the two.
Your two types of articles are, generally, either excusable or excitable. The excusable are your twenty year old standard “the InterWeb will make all retail obsolete“. In other words, it isn’t the malls fault that everyone is now “cocooning” ( a term by Faith Popcorn-a name guaranteed to stick in your brain for life, as I haven’t read her in decades-one of those trend forecasters who became popular with the publication of “Megatrends”. Meaning, basically, staying cocooned up to avoid the chaos around you. Retreating to your safe place ). The excitable are from your Doomer Porn sites that only do headlines without facts or analysis. They are little more than Click Bait for preppers. Oh, malls are closing! We are all going to DIE!!! Never mind telling you why, other than “indicative of an economic collapse”, now go buy from one of my many sponsors. I’m sorry, but WHY is it indicative of an economic collapse other than it is on a checklist?
I don’t think either approach is very logical, and I’m of the mind that both types of malls are included together to give the wrong signal. Its like a part of the country that has larger than normal welfare roles. The lazy commentator, most of the writers out there that want to cash in on the collapse but don’t want to work too hard at it ( you know, like digging cellars by hand or pedaling to save gas-they just want a middle class income from advertising to pay for all the Oil Age convenience out in the boonies ), they don’t think about these things past how it effects marketing. A scary headline is sufficient. “Welfare costs will sink budget”. They don’t look into how all the jobs moved overseas and people had no choice but to go on the FedTit. If you blamed community wide welfare on the CEO’s you wouldn’t find yourself sucking at their advertising dollars. Easier to blame moral failure on the peasant class. The Death Of Malls headlines are similar. Blame the Internet. Never mind that if the Internet is to blame, that just means X dollars went from retail to mail order. The consumer activity stays at X. You have the same level of sales. Workers can go from the Sears counter to the Amazon fulfillment center. Yes, there would be less positions available, but if the velocity of money remains unchanged than other jobs would open.
It seems as if Excitable and Excusable are not very good types of articles. Excitable can easily be dismissed as Ad Whoring. While Crying Wolf isn’t always necessarily bad ( like, for instance, when I do it ), when you do it, and do without backing it with solutions or at least in depth commentary, incessantly as your only subject, it loses it luster. Excusable only works if your excuse is logical. I find the Internet Excuse illogical. Outdoor malls are selling items not Internet Replaceable. And, really, neither are Indoor Malls as they were originally executed, as social gathering places prompting entertainment and consumption. You can’t grab a bite with friends, yak it up waiting for the movie to start, then go clothing shopping with your gal pals looking at each other trying on fashions, not by shopping online. You can’t buy a hot ready made dinner online, but you can at the Korean place in the suburban strip mall, right next to the dry cleaners and the C-store that sells scratch off Lotto tickets and the beers nobody is going to mail to your house.
The fact that malls are dying must be analyzed a little bit more factually. And the types of malls need to be separated. There are obviously good reasons for malls economic failures, but they are long term trends and have nothing to do with the Internet. An industry might fail because of the Internet, such as bookstores, but far too many retail businesses are separate and secure from online. Which is JUST mail order with clickable catalogs, anyway. If it wasn’t for customer reviews, the only thing they would have going for them would be convenience. Continued tomorrow.
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