Wanna Buy a Mall?

The sun is rising and the full moon lingers.

The little mall that is closest to us, is up for sale. Not just on the market, heading to the auction block. It was never much of a mall, but we always liked going there. Also, going there made going to the big mall in Holyoke, MA a special event. I will age myself mightily when I list the stores I liked. There was a Walden Books – remember them? A tiny, by comparison to the mega-bookstores that put them out of business, bookstore with a layout you could browse from the doorway. I used to get calendars there, and we almost always bought our daughter a book. Faith was/is a voracious reader and there was something special about seeing a book, flipping through it, buying it and reading it on the way home. At least it appeared that there was.

Not quite in the mall, but just outside the entrance we always used, was a Radio Shack. Rows and rows of possibilities. Owning a British car required access to a Radio Shack. One Radio Shack moment still gets tossed around here at certain times. I had bought my wife a Weather Radio one year for Christmas – yes, I am just that romantic. She loved that thing, but one day it broke. We bought a new one, but it was bigger and had more fancy features, and she didn’t like it as much. I took the old one apart. Then I went to Radio Shack and bought a new antenna and a roll of solder. I fixed it! Nobody does that anymore. Apparently, given the chuckles that story brought when told, nobody spent three dollars to fix a nine-dollar radio back then. Still, I’m sad that Radio Shack is gone.

Just inside that entrance, was a pet store. It was a typical mall pet store, and I’m sure I don’t want to know where the animals came from, except for the free kittens. If you had kittens to give away, and if the store had room, they would take them. They were offered, “Free with a $15 Purchase” – your first of many such purchases because there’s no such thing as a free kitten. We always stopped to look at the kittens. One time, we were looking at a gray kitten, to join Oreo, so then Oreo and our first Irish Setter, Mitzi would stop fighting. Suddenly, this little black and white kitten in the next cage started banging on the cage door. He was standing up, smacking the door and screaming. “Take me, me, me, take me!” The Editor took the kitten and waited in the car while Faith and I did a minimal amount of shopping. By the time we got to the car, Cookie had been named because the Editor needed to be able to say “Cookie no” about a thousand times.

The mall had a G-Fox, which became Filenes, which became Macy’s. (It also had a Sage-Allen local Hartford), or maybe that was a J.C. Penny’s and a Steiger’s. Steiger’s, a Springfield, MA based department store, is wrapped in two funny and expensive memories. One was when Faith and I bought the Editor a dress to wear to a company Christmas party. A bold move, for sure, but we agreed that “mommy would like that dress.” The sales woman asked if she could help us make up our mind. We also agreed that the sales woman was the same size as the Editor. She volunteered to try it on and model it for us. We accepted her offer, bought the dress and it worked out very well.

The second Steiger’s moment followed an amazing act of physics. We were at lunch at a local chain restaurant when Faith spilled a gigantic glass of chocolate milk. Instead of spreading out and covering everything, it ran in a river-like stream straight into the Editor’s pocketbook which was on the seat next to her. Ruined, for sure – leather and chocolate milk can never fully be parted. Off to the big mall. We searched all the usual suspects. Entering Steiger’s I spotted a pocketbook that I thought was perfect. I didn’t look at the price tag. It was perfect, and it was expensive.

The stores are gone. Soon, the mall will be gone. Along with it, many happy shopping memories. Shopping today is a transaction – only! Getting nearly naked in front of your laptop’s camera so a cloud-based algorithm can “measure” you will never take the place of the sales woman at Steiger’s. Browsing a website will never equal walking through the mall, or the shopping center that preceded the mall but required walking outside, or the little store on Main St, where the owner wouldn’t sell you what he knew your mother wouldn’t let you wear, read, or play with – “BBs, you don’t have a BB-gun, why do you want BBs? Put those back.

In answer to a question posed by Ritu on Saturday, I buy fewer gifts these days, partly because we adults have most of what we need, and partly because shopping isn’t fun anymore.


96 thoughts on “Wanna Buy a Mall?

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  1. I too loved Waldenbooks, and miss it quite often. We had a small bookstore in a local strip mall where you could exchange gently read books for new ones. Pure heaven for me! Of course Birders came to town, drove it under and out…. and then went bankrupt which left us with nothing. I have to drive 45 minutes to find a decent bookstore which is why Amazon is now my virtual pen pal. Sad.

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    1. There was a tiny Waldenbooks in a group of stores in Hartford when I worked downtown. I would go there at lunch and buy a story book when our daughter was little.I probably bought evert Dr Seuss book they had, over time. It was so nice to get out, walk to a store and browse the shelves.

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  2. Sadly, they are a memory, at least as we knew them. My first real memory of the mall was from when I was around 8 or 9 and the newest strip shopping center-they are returning to those a lot now-had just converted to Baton Rouge’s very first mall. Bon Marche would be an icon for a very long while. My parents took us there to see Santa arrive in a helicopter with local kids’ show host Buckskin Bill. We were so awed, amazed and just knew Santa would have a magical gift for us. Turned out we could barely see him through the crowd and we got a penny candy cane. My Mom was a switchboard operator at the Sears for a long time and we loved when Daddy took us with him to pick her up on those occasions when she didn’t have her car. We always got to go to the candy counter and pick out a small bag of candy. I either got chocolate stars or the round chocolate discs with the tiny white nonpareils on top. Or chocolate covered peanuts! Wow. Of course in high school we got dropped off on a Daturday to shop with friends at Christmas time or to go to the movie. Thatmall is now the central headquarters for the local cable company and is like a business Ta Majal. That was back when we women with size five feet still ‘existed’. There were actually two stores that carried shoes just for us. The 5-7-9 shup and Baker’s shoes. Now I’m reduced to shopping in the kids section of Payless. Try finding pumps or sneakers without glitter and lights-or velcro. Going to a mall now is such a nightmare. People aren’t there to shop as much as mill around, hang out and just window shop. I loved Walden Books. Hubby is just like you about fixing things, i had three of my favorite ornaments have fractures while decorating my tree. I wanted to chunk them but no, he glued their little parts back together. Macy’s is still a go to but they are fading into the internet as well. That is where a Florida clerk told me people their age or younger were waiting for all the old paper folks to die off so the system could go completely paperless. 😡🤔Thanks for the memories, Dan. Hope you have a great week.

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    1. Thanks Cheryl.I remember Great Southern Shopping Center. Maybe 35 stores, and a big overhang so you could walk outside without getting wet, except at one corner where you had to run to Grants. My mother was a switchboard operator at Kaufmans. I remember going to work with her (on the trolley) when she would be scheduled for a short shift in the busy period. I’d hang out in the toy department and then she and I would have lunch. I never saw a Bon Marche until we moved to Seattle. It was part of the May Company group of stores (as was Kaufman’s in Pittsburgh and G-Fox here in Hartford) so it felt like home. Those days are long gone, and today’s generation will never understand a world like that. Now I’m hungry for candy ;-)

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      1. The malls got too expensive too fast and let the staple stores go under. Sadly, many people who shop for expensive, exclusive items would much prefer to not have to go to a mall. Home shopping works for them. And the internet outprices the mall. I remember the first thing I saw fade was hair stylists. There were some nice ones in our malls back home. Once Fantastic Sams hit the market they soon went out of fashion. I have alot of good memories in the mall. It kept us from having to drive all over town.

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  3. For those of us who like to shop, the death of the bricks-and-mortar stores is sad. While online shopping is convenient, it’s just not the same experience.
    … and then there are the Big Box stores that are the same everywhere you go. For the lover of browsing, it’s become boring. Sigh.

    Great memories of your local mall, Dan. I loved the sales woman trying a dress on for you. I had a salesman do something similar for me when I bought Gilles a winter jacket for Christmas many years ago. In today’s stores, you’re lucky if you actually find a sales person to help you.

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    1. It is sad, Joanne, and eventually, the “stores” lose. Today, I only buy what I know I need. There’s no impulse buying, no surprise gifts, it’s just a transaction. I used to wander around the Women’s section, locking for a blouse I could buy for my wife. I remember sales people telling me things like “if this is her normal size, you want to go up/down because of the way this is cut.” Now, business wants to remove people from the process. Even catalogs were better than websites.

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  4. I used to go to Walden Books, I remember when they closed in my own mall. I’ve bought many a Christmas present and too many to count batteries from Radio Shack and who can resist walking past the pet store without looking in the window?
    Poor Maddie!!

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    1. We never went to the mall without stopping at those three stores. I bought my wife her first cell phone at Radio Shack. I used to get annoyed when they always wanted your address with every purchase, but I don’t even know where to buy half that stuff now.

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    1. I mis the adventure, Judy. And yes, Maddie does not get along with the cats. It’s sad, because our previous Setter did, and the cats would lay next to her (Mollie) on the couch. The cats keep trying to cuddle up to Maddie. Sometimes they all get along, but then Maddie snaps and all hell breaks loose. It’s not a playful chase. The overhang is coming in handy, even if the “deck” isn’t there yet.

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  5. Two stories. As you know, I live in the UK and used to work in the banking industry (I was a currency trader in the City of London and then got involved writing software for banks). When working for a big software company, we had an office in NYC at the bottom of Broadway, near to Battery Park. Next door was a Walden Books. I was in and out of that office so often, I had a frequent visitor card for the bookshop as I could never resist popping in and buying some more books on banking and finance. Second story. Years ago (back in the 1980s) I was in Cupertino for a business meeting. I needed some super glue – don’t ask why – so I went to the Radio Shack in the nearby shopping mall. You must remember how they always wanted your name and address and wouldn’t sell you anything without it. Well, I guess that my hotel in Santa Clara got mail shots from Radio Shack for years until they closed down!

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    1. I just added to a comment above about that annoying habit of asking for your name and address. Then again, I still get mail for you here from the computer shows in New York that required a US address for free registration. For a small bookstore, I was always amazed at the number of technical and business books Walden Books had. I remember buying a “The Microsoft C Bible” back in the early 1990s. That book lived on my desk for years.

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  6. You’re right, shopping isn’t fun anymore. It used to be an adventure, now you are constantly being assaulted by ads and sales people. The malls are blaring music and smell of over-used perfume. Sigh . . . I used to love a trip to the mall.

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    1. I don’t even bother to go to the mall, Pam. I have three to choose from, but they are each 45 minutes away. It used to be a fun family thing, but as they struggle to survive, the stores have cut back on the things that made them special. People today only seem to care about price.

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  7. The book stores hold such wonderful memories. Borders was around here, and they were open late. What a great way to browse books and CD’s on a Saturday night after going out for dinner! There will be a whole generation coming up that won’t have experience of smaller malls. Expansion and contraction of living.

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    1. It’s true, Val, and maybe they won’t miss what they never had. I remember taking my daughter shopping for gifts for wife/mom. It was a fun time, and we’d stop for ice cream or a fast food meal. We always managed to get something nice.

      Browsing a bookstore was a special kind of feeling. The Internet will never be able to match that.

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  8. They closed an enclosed mall here and reopened it as a ‘lifestyle center’….whatever that means. Sears and Toys R Us have closed, so, I guess, will this mall. Again. Not a mall shopper. Must be some mistake, Dan. I cannot imagine Maddie being mean to MiMi or anyone….look at that face!

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    1. “Lifestyle center?” Not sure I want to know.

      Sorry to break it to her fans, but Maddie is frequently mean to the kitty girls. It’s one of the issues we deal with with this pup. We have a routine, as well as a series of gates that normally helps avoid problems, but not always.

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  9. Our local mall had Walden’s and Borders, and there was a very small bookstore in a nearby town. All gone now. 😢 Even some of the big box stores are closing. I have never shopped on line, and never will. But shopping used to be so much fun, even if it was just “window” shopping. There’s not enough sales people in stores any more, and they are sorely out of touch with the merchandise they’re selling. I miss those wonderful men and women who knew our names, sizes, and preferences. They always made me feel like I was special. All the fun has gone out of shopping. It’s just a chore now.

    Love those early morning shots, especially the reflection. How cute is MuMu looking for some scratching from you? And Maddie looking for forgiveness!! C’mon Maddie, tell your sisters you’re sorry.
    🔹 Ginger 🔹

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    1. Thansk Ginger – “Chore” That’s a good word for what shopping has become. I remember once wanting to buy a sweater or a jacket that was on display in the window of a downtown store. They didn’t have the size I wanted, but the saleswoman checked the mannequin and sold me that one!

      The big box stores are the worst for being understaffed and for that staff being useless. The standard answer at our local Home Depot is “have you tried to find it in the app?” I will not feel sorry when the app puts them out of a job, but I will miss the service I get when they finally force my local lumber yard out of business.

      MuMu is obnoxious with her demands to be scratched. Maddie doesn’t seem to understand the need to be forgiven. She knows she was bad (put herself in her crate) but she doesn’t let that alter her behavior. It’s hard to stay mad at her for very long, though (well, I’m sure it;s not hard for MiMi),

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  10. This was a little bit depressing, as the mall in my town is practically empty, and in the process of converting to a strip mall — though I’m not sure what will ever be in it considering they kicked out all the stores and the stores opted to just leave town instead of relocating. :(

    I have a hard time watching people making bad decisions, giving zero thought to what the later consequences will be. I remember when Walmart first opened in my town, and all the business owners were against it. It took 25 years, but here we are finally, Walmart has put all the small little shops out of business, and now that they have no competition, their store selection is less than it’s ever been, and prices are higher than ever before. And now we have less cashiers and stupid “serve yourself” lanes, and no one is thinking about the consequences.

    Technology is good, advancement is good, BUT I just wish people would stop with this “all or nothing” attitude. Just because you CAN have a robot replace a human doing a job doesn’t mean it should. Thanks to this idea that everything old is bad and must be “updated”, we now have children not being taught how to write in school. Or learning how to do basic math without a calculator. Everyone is pushing for a cashless society, and so banks are closing in small towns, leaving people, mostly elderly and poor, having to drive 100 miles round trip just to pay some bills. “Do your banking online!,” they say. Yeah, most places here in the north still don’t have any semblance of high speed internet, a lot of places don’t have internet access, period, no cell service, and I’m sorry, but I still say that online banking is incredibly dangerous and not worth the risk. The bank spends MILLIONS of dollars to keep their network secure to do THEIR online banking, but I’m supposed to just go home and use my plain old password protected router to do the same thing? Lol, I don’t think so.

    I appreciate online shopping, but….. well, for me it will just never replace going in a store, trying on clothes before you buy them, finding the perfect gift on sale, you don’t have to wait a week to get what you bought, etc. I want to know why we can’t cultivate a society where we can do BOTH. It’s always trending towards all or nothing. Makes me sad. :(

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    1. Thanks for a very well-reasoned response, Wendy. I remember when Staples put all the small stationary stores out of business. Once the last one closed, there was a huge number of items that just could no longer be purchased. I think I miss those stores most of all. I try veryhard to support smaller, local stores, but it gets harder to find them each year. What really bothers me is when store staff directs me to online options and self-checkouts. I actually had a girl at a checkout – where I was the only customer – remind me that the self checkout was open. These positions used to be a good source of entry-level employment. Soon, they will be gone.

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  11. Most cities had a mall like the one you describe, Dan. It is sad to see them go in favor of box stores and online shopping. I remember the smell of popcorn in the mall in Indiana. Why popcorn? I really couldn’t tell you. I can’t recall a popcorn machine. Maybe it was a scent they circulated throughout the place. Radio Shack was one of my favorite stops. Kept all kinds of things running from there. Enjoyed your post.

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    1. Thanks John. Our mall did have a popcorn machine. My wife reminded me that it once had a beautiful fountain that people really liked. Then, they “modernized” the mall, jazzed up the interior and removed the fountain. For us, that took a big piece of the appeal away. I guess we’ve moved beyond “repair things that break” in this country. Toss it and buy a new one that will break in less time.

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      1. So true. My last repair was our refridgerator. It is a built in and cost way more than it is worth to replace. I had a factory repair guy come out. “Mother board is dead,” was the analysis.” “How much for a new one.” “They don’t make it anymore. (DCed after only ten years) Need a new refridgerator.” ($8200.00) I looked up a motherboard repair service. Pulled the motherboard. Mailed it off. It came back repaired. I reinstalled it and the refriderator works like new. Total cost. $99.00 plus postage.

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  12. In the old neighborhood, we had three grocery stores on the same block. One was a supermarket which was not much larger than a modern gas station store. Another offered credit and the third opened at 5:00 AM and closed at 11:00 PM. In addition, there was a bakery, a butcher shop, a hardware store and a drug store.

    Malls put them all out of business.

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    1. I remember when shopping centers put local stores out of business, and then malls put them under. Then mega-malls put little malls out of business. Now, though, it isn’t even a thing. We don’t care about brands, or people, or service. We care about price and speed. I don’t want to start a series of “the good old days” but remember buying gas, having the oil checked, the windshield cleaned and getting a glass AND Green Stamps! Yes, I am old, but…

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  13. Your Steiger’s story reminded me off this: I was in Bogota, Colombia a number of years ago, and was in a small boutique looking for a sweater for Mary. I was holding one up, trying to see if it looked about Mary’s size, when a salesgirl came up and asked (in broken English) if she could help. She was about Mary’s size, so I asked (in broken Spanish) if the sweater would fit her. She said “I try on,” took off her own sweater (right there, in the middle of the store, under which she was wearing nothing but a bra) and donned the sweater I was thinking of buying Mary. “Is look OK?” she asked. I was speechless, but I nodded. I figured, after a performance like that, I was honor-bound to buy it. (Mary hated it, by the way, and no, I didn’t share the story with her.)

    After almost 41 years of owning cats, I can tell you that there is no such thing as a “free kitten.”

    I miss Radio Shack, too.

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    1. That’s a funny story, John. Our sales woman retreated to the dressing room. Otherwise I would have had one more “don’t tell mommy” memory.

      “Free kitten” has to be the number one marketing lie – ever!

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  14. Hi Dan – if you’d lend me the money I’d happily buy it … otherwise – sorry but no!! I agree shopping used to be fun … every town was different – not any more. Lots of interesting areas around here – also many as one would expect … cheers Hilary

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  15. You captioned the top image ” The sun is rising and the full moon lingers”. That’s a wonderful line and I thought Poetry!

    My first experience with a Mall was when I was 10 and we moved to Silicon Valley. It was wonderful and there was an
    I. Magnin store. It was a high-fashion department store. Sort like Bloomingdales today. I LOVED the ladies room. It was huge. It was Gold and Pink. Gold faucets, gold trim everywhere. There were little vanity seats in front of the mirror for ladies to retouch their hair and makeup, and an attendant to hand you a paper guest towel to dry your hands. I felt like a princess for a few moments in there. I always stopped to visit the ladies room when at the mall to sit in the little seat and imagine for a moment me all grown up retouching my hair, and makeup after shopping for wonderful clothes. I can only imagine what the attendant thought of me! 😋

    If I remember correctly I think Macy’s ended up buying it, but it’s long gone now.

    The other store I miss the most is the little record shop. I spent a huge part of my allowance in that shop and spent many hours listening to music. There were little private rooms on one side of the store-not much bigger than a telephone booth where one could take their record selections then don a pair of headphones and put your record on a turntable and listen to the record to decide if you wanted to purchase it or not.

    The mall was bought and sold a couple of times and now is totally revamped and owed by Westfield.
    It’s always crowded, and parking can be a pain. It’s not much fun to shop anymore so, I rarely go to the mall anymore.

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    1. Thank you so much for the thought about that caption. It struck me as a very special moment (while waiting for the dog to find the right spot).

      I remember driving to Oakland (the area outside of Pittsburgh where the university is) to visit Brother George’s Records, as soon as one of my friends got his license. Racks of albums, walls full of posters and an ongoing sale of 3 albums for $10. It was a hole-in-the-wall shop, but we were regulars.

      Not quite the same “princess” feeling, but the bowling alley my dad managed had a ladies room that had a small separate sitting room when you first entered. Two chairs, a little table and a lamp. I always wondered about that, but I guess it made sense as there was only one stall. The Men’s room was setup for a volume business.

      I remember going shopping with my mother (who loved to shop until her dying day) and it being a real treat. We would have lunch at some store’s lunch counter, and they were all good (at least that’s how I remember it). My dad was more transnational. Even at the mall, he would park near the store that had what he wanted – get that thing – and come home.

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      1. Whenever I’m in a “get in and out” kind of shopping mood I find the check out line with the most guys in it cause they’re usually/mostly the “get in and get out” type. On the whole that strategy is working for me, so your Dad’s line would have been one I would be looking for. 😉

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  16. I need the Editor to tell “Cookie no!” at me during the holidays…without involving a kitten.

    We had a mall in Appleton, Valley Fair, that opened in 1955 and billed itself as the first enclosed mall in the U.S. It was demolished about 8 years ago an a grocery store stands in its place. When I lived near the mall, the anchors were two different grocery stores, a cinema, and Kohl’s Dept store. There as also a restaurant, Pedro’s, that made the best Mexican pizza and where I got “plotched” on margaritas for my 30th birthday. Good times!

    I do remember Waldenbooks and the smaller bookstores. They have a certain feel that Barnes and Noble can’t match.

    The kids are adorable, as usual.

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    1. “plotched” – I like that word!

      This mall grew a couple of times and received more than one facelift, but it couldn’t hold onto the anchors. The only store of any size left is a Target that isn’t actually in the mall, but is attached. It was close enough that when Faith was younger, we could drop her and a few friends off at the movie theater there. They would shop, see the movie and end up at Ruby Tuesdays. They sounded like little adults when describing their plans.

      The small bookstores do have a wonderful feel to them. Not many left.

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  17. I haven’t been to a mall in years, and quite a few people have become like me. It’s just so much easier to buy online or to run to the big box store like Walmart or Target. But even the big box stores are failing – like Sears. The Sears near my house closed and left a huge empty building. I thought the location would have been perfect for an indoor dog park – nicely heated in winter, AC in summer, and I envisioned a track along the walls with the middle areas being broken into big- and little- fenced in “parks”, and maybe an area where vendors could sell doggie products. I couldn’t think of anyone to pitch the idea to, so instead of becoming an indoor dog arena, the store became another human fitness center. Darn, don’t dogs need exercise, too? (BTW, if anyone reading this decides to act on the doggie arena idea, I expect a percentage of the profits. You heard it here first.)

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    1. Thanks CM. Online shopping is easy, but not fun. The big boxes are getting to the point where they are neither easy nor fun. Ours keep changing the layout, crowding the aisles and expecting the customer to do more of the work they used to pay people to do.

      An indoor dog park would be a good use for our Sears, too. Unfortunately, it’s attached to the nearly vacant mall heading to the auction block.

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  18. We used to go to Walden’s too. Our mall is small and stores disappear monthly. Soon it will be gone. The nearest other is 45 minutes away but I rarely shop anymore. It’s bad enough going to the grocery where prices increase weekly, shopping is a disappointing chore. We have a few storefronts in downtown Cheyenne but mostly for tourists.

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    1. Sigh – I think that’s the only fitting response. We have a few shopping centers and big box stores close by (10-15 minutes) but the nearest mall is now 45 minutes away. Let’s not start on grocery shopping – it won’t help my mood ;-)

      Thanks for adding your perspective from the high plains.

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  19. So why do I like this post so much? Really like. It’s more than the stores – I loved shopping at Walden Books and Radio Shack. It’s the whole experience of a store, customer service, neighborhoods, handling merchandise, and of course the memories that you penned so well.

    When we moved to Groton, the drug store (nobody says that anymore) was just as it had been since the 40’s, with a soda fountain to boot. We could send our son on his bike to the hardware store when he was 7 or 8 to get nails or whatever hubby needed, and the owner sent us the bill.

    I dearly miss that. And I’m so sorry The younger generations will never get that.

    Sorry for the rambling, Dan. We’re on the highway driving back home from Thanksgiving. I waved to you as we went through Hartford. 🙂 Fabulous post!

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    1. Thanks Jennie. We did have better, perhaps even special relationships with shop owners. I was just thinking about how no one calls drugstores drugstores anymore. I remember riding my bike to pick up a prescription – try that today 🙂

      The impulse buys I made at the Walden Books near where I worked may have contributed to our daughter’s love of reading. I’d come home with a new book and we’d sit and read it as soon as I changed clothes.

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      1. You are absolutely right on all counts, Dan. At least we have those memories. I think all the face-to-face also helped to shape our character. Human contact will do that! I worry about children who don’t have that.

        Thanks for the Walden Books story. The best! ❤️

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  20. I’m not a big fan of malls, but I remember a number of the stores you mentioned. When we lived in Cleveland, there was a large and very nice mall about a mile from us and then another one was built almost across that street on a large parcel of land that had been an estate. It was an outdoor mall somewhat like you might find in a European town or like a European town, with a street winding through it. It was lovely and we used to go there sometimes, but as with the other mall, all the stores were quite upscale and we didn’t really do much shopping in either. When the girls were little and the weather was bad, we’d go to the first, indoor mall and walk there and people also walked there before the stores opened, a nice use of a mall, I think.

    We are also blessed to have everything we need and quite a lot the we just want, so shopping is harder these days. I have to be in the mood to shop. Where do I shop? Thrifts stores, Home Goods/Williams Sonoma/Sur la Table (very dangerous as there are so many great kitchen things), bookstores (although I mostly browse these days, but we’re fortunate to have both an excellent independent bookstore and a Half Price Books in our town.) Mostly I “shop” at the library, though. Art shows are fun, too. Anyway, I did my big Christmas shopping online this year (two items) and we’ll see where I get the smaller things. :-)

    janet

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    1. Thanks Janet. A Home Goods just opened in a nearby strip mall, next to Target. I haven’t been in it yet. We still have a few little book stores and a Barnes & Noble that remains open. We agreed not to buy much for Christmas, but we’ll find little necessary things and maybe a surprise or two.

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  21. Our local mall is still thriving. In fact, it’s packed all the time I go there :/ However, our Sears closed, which just makes the whole world seem strange now. Just inside the mall from Sears was the pet store and the Walden books. Yessir. Last I went no one had leased the pet store. I mean to tell you no one will lease the pet shop since 1990-whatever when it closed. The Walden is now some place with tables and clipboards. I don’t want to know, really.
    Those are a lot of great memories, you’re right. So much connection to being out and involved with people, doing people things. I’m glad your family got to enjoy it while it lasted.
    There’s a great toy/book/novelty shop in the mall downtown (also always packed) and I never remember what it is or where it is, but I always make it in there. Usually spend a chunk. They’ve got discount books and puzzles to say the least. It may be the one place we ALL enjoy. I usually find brainy games for Papa in there, too.
    Great reflection in the puddle :)

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Some malls are doing well. I’m glad to hear that yours is one. The “upscale” shopping malls around here seem to be doing well, but it’s not my kind of shopping. Our Sears is long gone. I’ve heard that the one in the “big mall” up the road from us (45 min) is also closing, although it may be open at the moment. We still have some good stores around here, but they are scattered, so shopping becomes a multi-stop road trip. I think something will fill the gap, because I don’t think peopleless online shopping will work for everything.

      Liked by 1 person

  22. I like what you did with the radio, repairing it like you did. Radio repair shops are just gone, even over here. The cell phones replaced the radios. I have a sizeable toolbox and when something breaks down in the house I fix it myself. I feel good about fixing them myself. You are also very right about internet shopping never being as awesome as visiting a store in person. The anxiety of shopping online as a result of possible acts of fraud that might target you, or your data ending up in places you will never know, can be too much. For people on these sides of the world, there is always a chance you might get what you didn’t buy, that because you are too far away someone might take advantage and replace your stuff. It has never happened to me, but I always consider it. Have a great week, Dan!

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Thanks Peter. I look to repair most things that break. I feel good when it’s possible. Repair services seem to be just a $75-$100 way to confirm that your appliance is dead. They aren’t built to be repaired, or, as John mentioned above, the parts are no longer made. Major appliances used to last 25-30 yeas, now, 7-10 is considered a good long life.

      We don’t have problems with getting what we didn’t order, but we do worry about our data, and our identity being compromised and we do have a problem with packages being stolen off of porches. Amazon’s answer is to let them open your Amazon Smart Lock and deliver inside your house. I don’t think that’s going to happen here.

      Liked by 1 person

  23. The loss of brick and mortar stores effects how I feel about buying presents. It is expensive and impersonal to shop online. I have little money and do not want to buy expensive Lego sets and other the commercial things. I want to hold the gift, wrap it, and mail it. The price of sending a parcel overseas now costs 5 times the gift. My grandson can’t buy presents the way I did as a little girl. I had a few dollars and went shopping in Woolworths to buy awful plaster ducks or cheep cologne for my family. it was the thought and the act of giving that counted.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. You just reminded me that I have a gift to get in the mail for overseas delivery. The shipping is awful, but we did find good gifts this year, so they need to be mailed. Retailers today want the price of the gift to be the thing that shows how much you care. Also, by the time I feel like the holiday season is here, they’ve been blaring about it for months. Some retailers started advertising pre-Black Friday sales on November 1st and Amazon now speaks of “Cyber-Week” instead of Monday. It’s one big long sale, and I’m not sure it’s a sale at all. One online store I shop at had an item I’ve been looking at priced at $94 with a 15% Cyber Monday discount. In July, the item was $79. Thanks for the comment and the reminder :-)

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  24. Maybe we do need to buy a mall and bring back the fun. I remember all the tiny specialty shops and Waldens was our favorite place (especially for the kids who always got a book).

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    1. Maybe we should head over to the auction, and start with this one. I doubt we (or anyone) could bring Sears back, they seem to be down for the count. Oh well, it was fun while it lasted. I think I miss Waldens most of all.

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  25. It’s been sad to see these stores and these malls one by one close down. I grew up store browsing in malls which was quite the treat for me. And when I actually bought something from a mall, OH that was a big deal. I remember Waldens. That used to be one of my favorite stores and I bought a huge quantity of books there. This digital age and shopping on line is I admit convenient yet the shopping experience itself is now 6 feet under. What a shame. IF those weather people are right we are in for a lot of snow. IF they are right you know who will be out and about in that snow. 😁

    Liked by 1 person

  26. Oh my, a free kitten with a purchase! :o For some reason I find this terribly irresponsible, thinking of the kids and how quickly their excitement wanes (not your kid, of course). And you’re getting semi-naked for an algorithm on the camera?? Don’t want to know where those images end up. ;)

    Liked by 1 person

  27. I don’t shop for gifts anymore because, as you said, Dan, it isn’t fun anymore. I go to the grocery store and buy gift cards of the stores I think my loved ones like the most that are displays at the end of the aisle that sits in the middle of the market. It’s also a sign I’m getting older because I don’t have a clue as to what the nephews, nieces, and grandchildren want these days.

    Liked by 1 person

  28. I feel so much ambivalence here, Dan. Like many others, I hate to see brick-and-mortar stores go away, but I also know that the convenience and selection found online (where I shop as well, of course!) is part of what’s driving this trend.

    Makes me think, not surprisingly, of a Twilight Zone episode that focused on a human-free workplace: “The Brain Center at Whipple’s” — which, as you know, I recently wrote about: https://thenightgallery.wordpress.com/2018/09/29/the-rise-of-the-machines-a-human-less-workplace/

    I did see one encouraging headline the other day: “Small bookstores are booming after nearly being wiped out.” So there is that!

    Liked by 1 person

    1. I did read about small bookstores and even a few attempts to turn malls into “cities” mixing residential, retail and professional spaces in one location. I do think of that episode when I think about a people less world.

      Liked by 1 person

  29. I believe shopping is more about offline experience, but there is a competition between online retailers and offline shops. Fortunately, in India, the trend of buying offline is still strong. Online buyers are more in the cities but small towns and villages still prefer offline shopping.

    Liked by 1 person

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