Long ago there were a lot of little stores that sold various things and were owned and run by people. Sure, there were larger stores that sold various things under one roof and they were not run by individuals. These were called “department” stores, presumably because they had “departments” for different things; a housewares department, women’s clothes department, and so on.
Then one day, huge behemoths showed up and they contained department stores and smaller stores that were run by, I dunno, corporations, I guess. They were chain stores, you see.
These were called shopping malls. They did a pretty good job of doing in the small mom & pop stores because they were numerous and close by and it was more convenient for people to go to one location to blow their paychecks on music, videogames, and trendy clothes.
In addition, most malls also had ‘food courts’ where a lot of chain food places were set up so people could eat and shop at the same time.
I miss malls. To me, they are totally 80s things because I spent so much time in them. It was a place that you could (in theory) go for free, spend hours hanging out with friends and going to the arcade or looking at toys in toy stores. Or checking out the latest computer games in the stores that had computers set up for demos and stuff.
It was fun, in its own way. Malls influenced a generation, what with malls showing up in movies, a sneaker company making sneakers specifically design for walking around a mall and who knows what else.
Then, one day, the mall conglomerates were sitting around a big table chortling at how they were making a bunch of money and putting smaller stores out of business and, while they were chortling, Amazon was on the rise.
The last time I was in a mall about half the storefronts were empty. The big building, once bustling with people and noise, was now quiet with only a few people walking around. The glory days far behind. One day these building will be completely empty and I wonder what the hell will become of them. Will they be torn down? Re-purposed for something else? Giant roller skating rinks?
Skating rinks were fun, too, if you liked loud disco type music and arcade games. I don’t miss those quite as much, but they were pretty interesting.