Mar 15 2010

A Whole New Mall Experience

Published by at 1:10 am under Uncategorized

So I must confess that up until last year I was very much a mall rat, the Spotsylvania Towne Center Mall is my old stomping ground and I figured since it was home turf it would be easy to do fieldwork there. However, I had never been to the mall before noon and the environment at 9:30 in the morning (March 11th) was very different from the active hustle and bustle of the evening crowd. It was overcast and cool outside and most people were bundled up in at least a light jacket. Many more people were at the mall than I expected upon entering.
My first thought on entering the mall was that if any place were opened it would be Stabucks, so I headed there first. Sure enough the place was booming, there were two women sipping coffee while their children played in their strollers, a middle-aged women was eating a bagel and reading the paper. Everyone was drinking coffee and most had either a bagel or croissant. Most people appeared to be meeting up here to socialize. Most people coming in and out appeared to be working class and middle aged or elderly. The other hot spot was Chick-fill-a; here was where I found most of my classmates and many others purchasing their breakfast to go along with their cup of Starbucks. Both of these places had large sitting areas that allowed people to linger as long as they wanted.
As time went on the area that became very busy was the B101.5 Buzzy’s Play Park. There were at least twenty kids romping and tumbling about, while their mother’s all sat around the edges chatting and sipping their morning coffee (each women in their had a cup of Starbucks). I found the most interesting thing on my visit to the mall was how people utilized the mall in nontraditional ways.
While observing the play area all the lights in the mall burst on, signifying that the mall was now officially open for business. Most of the stores knew who their clientele was and acted accordingly. The guy in Hot Topic was shocked that we were walking in there right after the cage over the door opened up. I found him social and he joined in the conversation we had as we walked around browsing. This store was laid out in a way to suggest you walk around and look quickly (this is due to the large amounts of people that crowd into the area at once). It was enjoyable to be able to have the store empty for a change. The visit really perked up when our friendly cashier who was joining in our discussion about the HBO show TrueBlood showed us that they were carrying TrueBlood in a four case for $24.99. The price was crazy but the excitement of seeing the drink was awesome. He also pointed out the dried cheddar cheese and bacon crickets being sold, I would have never spotted out this oddity had the store been filled.
Many older couples were lounging on the couch sitting area reading various newspapers enjoying the peacefulness the early mall had to give. In Spencer’s the lady attempted to sell my boyfriend a St. Patty’s belt buckle saying they were only five dollars and had been knocked down from fifteen, she kept up her sales pitch until a fifty year old man came browsing in and she turned her attention to him. The mall was very different at such an early hour, in both how the shoppers used the mall and how the employees themselves acted. On nearing the end of my hour at the mall more and more people were filing in and the atmosphere had started to shift back to what I was more accustomed and with that I left to rush back to UMW for my next class.

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