Malls Near and Far

A couple of friends are currently living in Bangkok. She’s Thai by birth, and he’s from various places in the USA, and somehow they ended up here in this town, where I met them. Now that she has end-stage cancer, she wanted to go home where she was most comfortable, so I haven’t seen them in months. I do hear from them periodically, however, partly because I am looking after their house and partly so he can touch base with his home country. At least that’s my theory.

She’s mostly housebound now, which works okay over there, since they have restaurants and food carts spread throughout the city, rather than clustered in specific areas as in this country. Even better, all those food outlets deliver.

What really caught my attention in the last email they sent were the photos of a mall they visited — a real treat for them since she hasn’t been able to get out except to doctors and hospitals.

The mall they went to is huge. Make that HUGE. The 26th largest mall in the world. 300+ stores. Parking for 5,000 vehicles. There are more people working in that mall than live in this entire town. And when you add in visitors, there are probably more people in that place on a given day than in the entire southeastern quadrant of Colorado.

When I stayed with my father, there was a mall I visited occasionally, and that only had 114 stores. Combine that with the mall closest to where Jeff and I lived in western Colorado, which had only 100 stores, and you’d still come up short.

I can no longer conceive of so many stores in one place. In this town, I’d bet there are only a couple of dozen stores all told, and that includes thrift stores, dollar stores, convenience stores, and pot shops.

The last time I was in a real mall was many years ago when I lived in Denver — Cinderella City. It was something special back then, the first mall west of the Mississippi and supposedly the biggest mall under one roof. With 250 stores, it still falls short of the mall in Bangkok. It’s gone now — it seems as if it made history again at its end because it was one of the first malls to go obsolete.

(I’d forgotten, but I once had a store in Cinderella City, not on the main floor, but in the “Alley” where there were a bunch of boutiques. A friend and I sold clothes we designed as well as various hand-crafted gifts. My main claim to fame was a macramé pinafore with a halter-style top that I made, envisioning it as something to slip on over other clothes to dress them up, but a stripper bought it to use in her act. How did I forget that? Maybe because even though it makes a great story, it was merely a blip in my life.)

I’m sure there are many malls within a couple of hours from here in the major cities along the front range, but I have no real desire to visit any of them. I don’t particularly like to window shop and I certainly don’t need — or want — to buy anything. (I look at the images of all those container ships off the coast of the USA waiting to be unloaded, and I wonder what they could possibly contain that people want in such quantities. Almost anything I need is in this country already. And if it’s not, I probably could do without it.)

Still, it’s interesting to think of such places and imagine a different world from the one in which I live.


What if God decided S/He didn’t like how the world turned out, and turned it over to a development company from the planet Xerxes for re-creation? Would you survive? Could you survive?

A fun book for not-so-fun times

7 Responses to “Malls Near and Far”

  1. rheashowalter Says:

    Awww Malls! I cannot even imagine wanting to go into one now. I upon occasion drive 15 miles to my little Safeway store and if feeling adventurous I might go into the Family Dollar. I wonder what I found appealing in the past about malls. I do remember in the last years of going to a mall it was to go into one store only and I could park outside that store and pretend it was not connected to others in a mall situation. Oh, how we change.

  2. Estragon Says:

    Those two mall pics look like they could be of almost any mall anywhere in the world. I suppose that says something. Maybe that we all tend to buy the same stuff for the same reasons, and we all respond to whatever the flavor of the week incentive there is to make us buy it. Malls might be yesterday’s news, but we still want to buy stuff, and the people wanting to sell it to us will figure out how to make us feel good about it.

  3. Uthayanan Says:

    In Paris as a centralized city you can buy anything in specialized shops, supermarkets, department stores. When I have visited the first biggest mall 25 years ago I was shocked to see cheap Chinese toys and goods in quantities but not quality’s. I never went back again.
    By wife and me by nature not materialized people. Never need internet to buy products. You can find everything in a specialized shops if you absolutely need to buy a present. In some exceptions cases I have managed to order to get with the help of shop owners or with my friends.
    The last four years I never visited even a department store with my grief.
    Again 10-15 years I have visited a small and famous mall in Paris (Louvre) by accident with my wife when I asked a beautiful art product where did it come from the vendor has proudly replied it was designed in France and fabricated in China !.
    Once I have visited a specialized shop in the famous The Avenue des Champs-Élysées. The vendor and the the owner of the shop with a friendly conversation explained me the same Chinese factory fabricate original and copy sometimes the copy better than original.
    I have no chance to check but his reply was fascinating. Life is like that.
    More than forty years ago I was pretty sure I am not going to bring anything with my coffin. But I am afraid of all plastics, electronics, and nuclear inventions without any knowledge how to recycle it.
    The television commercials incite people to visit these malls.

    • Pat Bertram Says:

      That’s an interesting idea of how to get rid of things that aren’t recyclable — bury them with the person who owns them. Surround the deceased with all the things they couldn’t live without.

      This is a scary world because of the very things you mention. I’m glad I don’t partake in the shopping culture except for necessary items.

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