It’s fairly difficult to avoid going to shopping centres at least occasionally.
I’m one of those people who gets a limited amount of pleasure out of the shopping centre experience. I do enjoy parts of it, but I also like to leave again after a few hours, at most.
In my view the worst things about shopping centres are:
At the moment women’s clothing outlets are full of clothes that have been made in a surprisingly wide variety of bright and bold tablecloth prints. Apparently someone decided that tablecloths were actually cutting edge fashion and all of us are now supposed to be wearing the very same prints that caught stray blobs of tomato sauce on my parent’s kitchen table in the eighties.
One really needs to be wearing sunglasses to enter such stores, whose walls are literally covered in various items of clothing all made in large, bright mismatching garish prints. There also seems to be a fascination with bare shoulders, holes cut out of shirts, shirts that are cut four times longer on their left side than on their right side or tops that have to be crossed over one’s chest in some sort of weird geisha arrangement and then secured with large belts, ties or buttons. I don’t know about you but I seriously don’t have the time or patience for this shit.
All I want is something easy to wear that actually covers my skin (without getting caught in the doors of lifts or dragging on the ground), and that doesn’t make me feel like I’m wearing the latest modernist painting.
Adults who Still Haven’t Realised That Other Human Beings Exist
Some adults who have already spent many more than 18 years living on this planet have still not realised that other human beings exist. These people unfortunately seem to love shopping centres. They will go to the ATM and spend five minutes re-organising their wallet and its contents after they have tucked away their money, before they finally break off to once again meander down the aisle, still oblivious to the fact that anyone at all was behind them, let alone a queue of six people. At some point they will then arm themselves with a shopping trolley and spend another three hours in the supermarket, taking up the whole aisle at all times by positioning it and themselves in a way that obstructs everyone else. Sometimes they will also bring along a spouse who is also as yet unaware that anyone other than their significant other exists, and they help with blocking aisles and causing bottlenecks whenever they can.
Unfortunately some adults in this category actually work for the supermarket, and as they are armed with additional boxes and trolleys, they are able to quickly clog the whole aisle. It has never occurred to them that supermarket’s customers actually pay their wages.
Personally I find the fact that some people do not have the ability to sense the presence of other human beings extraordinary. I automatically detect if someone else is behind me at the ATM, or near me in a supermarket aisle. This is part of my general awareness of self and others, it is definitely not a special skill. I most certainly don’t need anyone to bore holes into my back with their death stare eyes in order to start prickling with the recognition that someone is behind me (though I’m happy to do this to someone else if they haven’t detected that I’m waiting). I know that someone else is present as soon as they materialise.
The Public Toilets
What more can one say? Public toilets are just like all other services that have the word public in front of them: always a dreary, unpleasant, limited and smelly experience. I only use any of these services if I’m desperate.
While public toilets are the kind of experience that makes one desperate for soap of any kind to cleanse one’s hands with, unfortunately soap seems to be a precious commodity that can only be made sparingly available, according to shopping centre management. There always has to be at least two soap dispensers that are completely empty, and don’t expect them to be refilled anytime soon.
At one shopping centre I visit they have a private seating/rest area with comfortable seating right in front of the doors that open into the men’s and ladies toilets. This is presumably so that people can wait for their friend or family member who is conducting their private business. Now I don’t know about you, but there is no way in hell that I would wait right in front of the smelly public toilets if I needed to wait for someone. There are so many other places to wait inside the shopping centre itself.
On the other hand there are some parts of the shopping centre experience that are on the opposite end of the positive/negative scale.
I think the best things about shopping centres are:
The Cafés and Food Outlets
There has been many a time when I’ve been close to ripping my partner’s head off and a café has completely saved the day. Mind you caffeine and/or food quite regularly help prevent me from being charged with murder or grievous bodily harm. Cafes are always a revitalising haven and also allow me to get away from the drain of the constant commercial push to buy for a while.
I seriously don’t think I’d go to shopping centres at all if they didn’t provide food.
And yes, I am a little fatty who believes that food is one of life’s delights.
I love observing the glorious diversity that is the human species, and there is no place better to do it than at a shopping centre. I love to check out the different ways other human beings choose to adorn themselves, to read the stories they tell about themselves through what they wear and the way they hold themselves, and to realise the diversity in spouse/family arrangements that exists.
Finding Good Stuff
Let’s face it, even the most non-materialistic person amongst us loves finding something in a shop that is exactly what they were looking for. I’m always delighted when I find something at the right price that will serve a particular purpose perfectly.
All of us have our own individual identity, complete with our own tastes, goals and preferences, so I don’t feel any need to apologise for the fact that I enjoy a satisfying purchase.
The awesome images in this article are taken from the amazing website pexels.com, except for the first two images which were taken from the awesome website pixabay.com.
© Annemaree Jensen 2019