This past weekend I had the opportunity to visit our local shopping mall. The Valley Plaza Mall. The Valley Plaza or the Mall as I will refer to it from here on out is pretty big, about 1,100,000 square feet with over 140 stores, the anchor stores being Sears, Macy’s, J.C. Penney's and Target.
I'm not a big fan of the Mall, I can count on one hand the number of times I've been there in the past few years to do actual shopping. I do love a restaurant there named Que Pasa and I go there often to eat because they have the best street tacos! You get one of each, Pork Carnitas, Carne Asada, and Chicken plus a bit of guacamole and green salsa. The price is reasonable and I like that it doesn't come with rice and beans as I've never cared for rice and beans that much anyway, just not worth the carbs.
|Photo Credit - Que Pasa|
But my sister Lisa was looking for a dress for a wedding. She'll be in the bridal party so she needed something formal. We hit the bridal stores but decided to try J.C. Penney's and Macy's as well. Penney's and Macy's are pretty close to each other but Que Pasa is way over on the other side of the Mall and we decided to just walk over there and get some exercise in as an excuse to eat more carbs and calories!
A LOT has changed at the Mall from when I used to go there all the time before I got married and when my kids were smaller. It's a circus now! I could not believe how stressful a trip to the Mall was.
We both could not believe the atmosphere. The mall now caters heavily to youth and children. I don't know how people have money to spend inside the actual stores considering all the attractions in the mall area itself. They had a train ride.
And they even had this sling shot ride where parents and kids were lined up for miles so their kids could ride a contraption similar to this. I can only imagine how much it cost to ride this! And the kids in the sling riding it, they all look bored and entitled to me, but maybe that's because I'm old?
And there were several of these placed strategically near all the other attractions.
So kids are running around, whining, yelling, chasing each other. Parents are oblivious as they are used to the noise and chaos of children. Dad's are supposed to be watching the kids, but you can see the dad's sitting staring at their phones and the mom's in the stores shopping. Mean while, Lisa and I are dodging kids to keep from being run over!
When we did venture into a store the music blaring was enough to strike us deaf! Outside of Macy's they even had a Dee-Jay! A Dee-Jay blaring out hip-hop music!!You couldn't hear yourself think, let alone be able to talk to each other. Kids running in and out, under clothing racks and climbing on chairs. It was ridiculous!
Finding someone that works in a store to help you was a challenge as well. No one wears "work appropriate clothing" anymore. I worked at Montgomery Wards all through college and men were required to wear a shirt and tie and women to wear a skirt, dress or dress slacks. We all work name tags, it was easy to distinguish who worked there.
Finally we found a boy working there that looked like he was a homeless teenager on his way to the beach. he was dirty and disheveled, long hair greasy. He was wearing a super-faded Hawaiian shirt and long shorts that were riding low, almost showing his butt crack and flip flops. Now granted this was at a store named Forever 21 and Lisa and I are older even than Forever 50...but still! I may make some enemies here, but there just doesn't seem to be much pride in youth today in themselves or their jobs.
Oh...for instance, if you will allow me to rant here, there is a Jack in the Box commercial that really irritates me. Jack and his lovely wife are at the movie theater and they order popcorn and sodas and the total comes to $22.50. Jack freaks out and his wife is suitably embarrassed and this is the look on the face of the young man serving them. You can see that he just doesn't give a damn! He's bored and doesn't care about selling himself, the theater or their food. And I see the look on the faces of employees all the time, at stores, restaurants, doctors offices, there is no pride in the job itself.
I know you may not agree with me, but I would love to go back to the days when stores had that quiet, sappy elevator music playing softly in the background, and stores had pleasant polite employees that would come up to ask if you needed help. Cashiers that spoke to you instead of to each other and a mall was for shopping, not an amusement park!
Ok, so there I am done ranting, thanks for listening (or reading). I would like to believe that it's just my age, but I honestly don't think so. Have you had similar experiences? Do you go to your local mall often? Do you find that customer service has deteriorated and that it's almost non-existent? Or do you think I'm just a grumpy older lady?