July 20, 2007

The Mall of America

Living in the Twin Cities we have easy access to the Mall of America and we go there several times a year, very rarely to shop. Recently I spent an entire day with Rhia and a friend there mostly riding the roller coasters and the various other rides. Correction: the girls rode and I sat on a nearby space of floor or when I could find it a bench and knit as I waited for them on the long lines. I was quite thankful for the knitting as it would have been tedious for me had I not had it. I got a very good star on my newest sock pattern, a sock knit sideways so not in the round (so far it is interesting but I still prefer the other way as I really am not a fan of purling).

The girls had a great time and their stomachs are amazing - only got queasy once after they rode the Screaming Eagle five times in a row. As for me well I did not go on a single ride. My limit is the Hot Air Balloon ride I go on with Sirah. I just am not built for amusement park rides and never have been. I am a great person to go with though because I don't mind waiting with the young children, being the human shopping cart and coat rack and vicariously enjoying it through everyone else. I stretched myself on our Walt Disney World vacation but still drew the line at the rides I knew would push me over. Thankfully the girls had each other and did not mind me sitting on the sidelines holding all their stuff.

Cotton candy, ice cream, pop, crepes for dinner. Our day was filled with sugar, fast rides and fun. We spent 8 hours at the mall and the girls could have kept going but mom was ready to leave much to their disappointment. I honestly enjoy the mall as long as I don't have to spend any time in the stores. Walking the hallways, riding the rides, even the Underwater Adventures is fine with me. For the past several years we have had an annual scavenger hunt throughout the mall that is loads of fun. People watching is always an interesting thing to do there as well. For all the good I can see in the mall I honestly can not understand why it is a tourist attraction. Perhaps it is because in a lot of ways I am the anti-shopper, spending as little time in as few stores as I can (unless of course it is a book store).

Yesterday was a new experience for Rhiannon and me as we went into some of the "little girly" stores neither of us have ever been in. I literally felt like the skin was going to crawl off my body when I was inside stores like Limited Too, Claires and just walking past Libby Lu. I wanted to scream at the marketing toward this young group of girls and the consumerism being pushed at them, the horrible choices they are offered and the way it is all made so appealing to them. Rhia was overwhelmed and I could not move us through them fast enough. It started because we went past one and our little friend shared it was her favorite store could we please go in. I relented and regretted it. Okay maybe I don't regret it because I have a pretty good idea what they are about now and what I don't like about them and to steer my girls clear of them. Of course I had that gut instinct before and thus we never went in before. Anyway I digress - just confirmed for me that I can't stand shopping and I am thankful for that gift I have been given - if only it had carried over to books, homeschool curriculum, and new tech gadgets!

Still I am trying to get my head around why people want to travel to see the Mall of America? A bunch of stores all together and an amusement park in the middle. Okay the indoor full size amusement park is kind of cool during the winter in Minnesota but would I travel to see it? I don't think so. I just don't get it. I guess it is a shrine to our consumerism and a conveinant place for a marathon shopper to go. So why do we spend any time there? As a Minnesotan it is conveinant for me sometimes and so we go. We go to walk miles when it is lousy weather (hot, cold, snowy, etc) we go their to people watch, to take the kids to the amusement park or visit underwater adventures and we are often found their on Father's Day (perhaps one of their emptiest days). We typically avoid it like the plague around Thanksgiving, Christmas and Easter as well as rainy or super hot days in the summer because the crowds are ridiculous. I guess I am glad we have it nearby for what we use it for and from time to time I have made purchases there usually at the book store or the Disney store but I just don't get the hype.


  1. We have family in the Cities area and go to the Mall of Unusual Size as part of our visit.

    We want to see the aquarium, but the lines thus far always put us off.

    We like the rides of Camp Not-Longer-Snoopy.

    We aim for certain stores that carry stuff we can't get here. With the great melting pot of franchising, that doesn't leave a lot.

    We like the board games store, the Discovery Channel store, Air Traffic for juggling supplies, Lake Woebegone stuff, and Legos. And Hanna Anderson. And there are some scrap book supplies I can't get here.

    We aren't gung-ho consumers, but there is enough off our beaten track shopping that it is something we look forward to and can splurge every 12 to 24 months. Which wouldn't happen if we lived there.

    There is little food suitable for a vegetarian, but it was at MoUS that we discovered that Burger King sells veggie burgers. Joy.

    During our last visit, we came across a demonstration of Tribal Dances and sat by the railing for 30 minutes, just watching.

  2. I'm with you on the "don't get it" about the MOA. I've lived in MN for 19 years and I can count the number of times I've been there on one hand. You nailed the consumerism issue on the head!

    As John Gatto says: "Just as the Amish small business, small farm economy requires intelligence, competence, thoughtfulness and compassion, ours needs a well managed mass -- level, anxious, spiritless families, godless and conforming; people who believe that the difference between Coke and Pepsi is matter worth arguing about."