'Malling' it out

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The latest trend in our cities seem to be the mushrooming of malls. Malls, malls and more malls. “Have you been to the mall?”, “There is a sale in the mall”, “It is available in the mall” or “Let’s meet in the mall”. These lines are uttered so often that malls seem to be the be all end and all to a happily ever after story.

I agree there is plenty to see in a mall. Stores well-laid out, endless window shopping due to the abundance of choices, the ‘all-important’ food court where every taste bud is suitably satisfied, theatres that show the latest movies and fun city and scary house for kids, the works. Before I forget, cars get their cosy parking spot too, a plus point I must say.

Life surely is happening in the mall! But what perturbs me is the stores shifting from one mall to another. They do up their shops so well to begin with, but are next seen moving to the new upcoming mall even before celebrating their first anniversary! For instance, we were frequent visitors to a certain mall which housed a real good apparel store. During emergency, a dash was made and an attire picked up. Boy, was that convenient!

Just the other day, I realised that there was a party in the evening and all the clothes I had were well worn and that I badly needed something. I ran to our store to be greeted by only walls and glass. “Maybe these guys have moved to the top floor,” I hoped. But unfortunately there was no sign of them.

I went to a store outside the mall. “Where are they?” I asked of the manager. “You don’t know?” he asked surprised. “They shifted to the new mall.” Oh my! I thought. “Why, this is a mall too”, I burst out. “New place, new people,” he philo-sophised. Getting to the new mall would mean travelling through a maze of busy traffic right to the opposite end of the city. A big no-no at this part of the day.

So, instead, I popped into this man’s store and to my delight found something really nice. As I left, I realised maybe this was meant to be. At least, I gave the man some business and knew there was an alternative after all. Also, isn’t survival of the fittest the call of the day? After all, the “Pop and Mom” stores served us so well – with free door delivery and all – till the mall culture came in.

Why don’t these stores that move bases realise that they are needed by those living around them. The grass always seems greener on the other side. But what of the regular customers living in the vicinity? Aren’t they to be catered to as well? Well, maybe the prayers of the “Pop and Mom” stores are being answered after all. Weren’t they our saviours before “Big Daddy” came in?

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