Why The Mall Gives Me Hives

Stephen and I got an unexpected Sunday afternoon without our kids because they want to Grandma and Grandpa’s house. Did I mention that grandparents rock? So, what to do, what to do.

Catching Fire – that’s what we did. And it was an awesome movie. I totally geeked out. But, I also started itching. Because the movie theater was in a shopping mall.

And after spending six months purging my house of extraneous crap, I no longer love the mall. I don’t love the crowds. I don’t love the noise. Or fighting to walk through hundreds of people loaded down with a billion shopping bags. Listening and watching children demand more. Nor do I love Christmas decorations and songs before Thanksgiving. But mostly, I have grown to loathe the advertising. Lots and lots of advertising.

Buy One, Get One Free! Spend $100, Get $50 In-Store Bucks! Up to 50% Off!

Buy, Buy, Buy! Accumulate, Accumulate, Accumulate!

I’m over it. Because it’s meaningless. I actually walked through the mall and wanted nothing. Okay, I lied. I got a latte. And it was delicious. Overpriced, but delicious. I left the mall emptyhanded, but having enjoyed an amazing movie and rare time alone with Stephen. We actually talked. About the fact that the Texas legislature approved the removal of Algebra II from the state high school graduation requirements. And about healthcare decisions for next year. And about the kids.¬†We talked about the fact that the mall had no bookstore in it.

Because the 2:15 showing was sold out and we had to wait for the 3 p.m. we had time to kill. And so we walked the loop of the entire mall.

And I got itchy. Twitchy, in fact.

To get out. Out of the stores filled with stuff that would be long forgotten come the end of January. Or purchased by people who would end up paying double because they put it on a credit card and didn’t pay it off in full and paid 25% interest, wiping out any possible savings they could have enjoyed in November.

And we talked about how poor financial decision making seems to go hand in hand with the accumulation of the disposable, which is designed not to last, keeping you coming back for more. The concept of planned obsolescence. And how we’d fallen for it, hook, line and sinker.

But we never once talked about buying stuff. About how we want this or that. Or where can we get the best deal on this gadget or on that pair of shoes. Or how much we can get for “free” from wherever.

And that’s the best gift of all, I think. The awareness. Of how the system works. Of how stuff can own you. And making a conscious decision to not play into it. To embrace the concept of enough. We have enough. So the advertising fails. It doesn’t entice us to buy. We don’t fall for it.

Will you?