The sad truth is this: I’d rather be at a mall than almost anywhere.
As a teen, I logged more hours at the Sherman Oaks Galleria than I did in trigonometry class. Later, as a new mom, I’d schlep my infant to the Pacific View Mall in Ventura — through wretched rain — just to have somewhere dry to stroll.
Malls are the 3-D version of thumbing through your favorite magazine: At best, you find something delightful inside. At worst, you learn what’s current, what other people are interested in. And if you’re crazy-lucky, there’s a Hot Dog on a Stick in the food court.
On sunny days, I used to take my son to La Cumbre Plaza and amble. We’d buy a Mrs. Fields cookie, toss pennies in the fountain, pick up cards at Hallmark, and happily sniff the incense wafting from The Body Shop. It was our mall.
But we don’t go there much anymore. Ever since the recent “enhancement” project — which sent no-frills staples like KB Toys packing and welcomed high-end boutiques like Tiffany & Co. and BCBGMAXAZRIA — it feels like we’re trespassing on someone else’s mall now. Someone with far nicer shoes and a standing facial appointment.
“I don’t think it’s improved at all, just more overpriced stores that squeeze out us regular folks and cater to Hope Ranch,” says a friend of mine. “I’m just waiting for Sears to be replaced by Neiman Marcus.”
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