mad anthony

Rants, politics, and thoughts on politics, technology, life,
and stuff from a generally politically conservative Baltimoron.

Sunday, May 24, 2009

The fall of the mall..

Via James Lileks comes an interesting article on the decline of the American mall.

As it points out, much of it is the economy - when the economy slows, small wounds often become fatal. Businesses that could have limped along for a while in better times go under. The other thing is that demographics change - neighborhoods that were once wealthy become less so, and businesses leave.

But the article includes one stat that suggest the death of the mall may be more than just the economy and urban living patterns - only one new enclosed mall has opened in the last 3 years in the whole country. And that's why I think the enclosed mall may become a thing of the past, or at least an oddity. Because malls are horrible places to actually buy stuff.

Sure, they are great as a place to hang out, to watch a movie, eat a cinnamon bun or some institutional Chinese food, drool over the MacBook Air at the Apple Store. But they aren't great for actually acquiring stuff. Carrying more than a bag or two around the mall is a hassle. Lots of small stores mean that it takes you longer to find stuff, and if you buy a couple things at each store, you spend lots of time waiting in line to pay.

Now I realize some people don't mind this - teens, some women, retirees. But for the busy shopper who wants to get the stuff they need and get on with their lives, shopping centers or lifestyle centers or big-box stores make more sense. You pull in near a big store that sells lots of stuff that you need, you go in, you get what you need, you leave. No wandering around browsing.

I shop at lifestyle centers pretty regularly, but not because of the goofy architecture, but rather because it's where the kind of stores I shop at - Old Navy, Target, Staples - tend to be. I can't remember the last time I set foot in a mall, and when I did it was probably to go to the Apple Store to buy equipment for work.

I don't mind shopping - I love deal shopping, and I don't mind going to say, Target, because I enjoy shopping there. But I don't enjoy mall shopping, and I suspect I'm not unique in that respect.


Post a Comment

<< Home