If you lived in a rural area, going to the mall, especially in a bigger city, was reason enough for a trip in and of itself. I remember about once a year our family would load up in the 1988 Chevy Astro van and take a 3 hour drive to Wichita just to make a weekend out of going to the mall.
In the 90’s, malls were the pinnacle of the consumerism experience. Climate controlled self contained eco systems, with something for everybody, and for every emotional or biological need. From clothes, to electronics, food courts, and jewelry. I would venture a guess that if you were a girl growing up in the 90’s you got your ears pierced at the mall.
So as were were walking around the Hays mall this weekend, it was an all too obvious reminder that those days are all but gone. Most malls now are seen as dated, weathered old places that’s hardly “cool” any more.
If it weren’t for the few workers in the stores that were open staggered between the long closed and forgotten shops, you could have mistaken this place for abandoned. As far as shoppers, Andrea and I may have possibly brought the total mall patronage up to 20. It was eerie, and weird.
A few stores remained much as you would have remembered them 20 or so years ago. And I suppose that really says the whole story about the mall doesn’t it? We get bored. Tired of the same old thing. Eager for a new experience even if it’s not better it’s different. Today malls have been replaced by mega outdoor shopping centers and Amazon.
Dotted between the legacy stores like JC Penny or Hallmark, what were once slick shops like GameStops, or Hot Topic. Now either vacant, or replaced by flea markets, card shops or sad empty arcades.
The experience just left me feeling old. That society had really moved on from a world that was was once for me second nature. This is why old people are so grumpy. Life is just a steady stream of things you’re familiar and comfortable with being forgotten and taken away.