Essay on Shopping Malls
1307 Words6 Pages
Since industrialization pulled off the farm into the factory, department stores were invented and advertisement emerged. This caused consumerism to become a fundamental base of our culture. If consumerism had become a religion, well its temple would probably be shopping malls. Malls turned out to be the central institution of our modern consumer culture. Its environment is full of advertisement and lures which takes the consumer¡¦s soul into the ¡§temptation to buy¡¨ world. The following essay will analyze the techniques that malls use in order to keep customers inside, the reason why different malls appeal to different people and the influence they have on the landscape of their community.
Shopping malls use many…show more content…
An area reserved for Santa Claus and his elves will often be installed in the center of the mall where children would be invited to take pictures with Santa, and where free samples of candies and Christmas gift are given out to attract as many children as possible. During this time of the year, the business hours of the mall change in order to facilitate people who work all day and permit them to shop for their Christmas gift. "Christmas Sales" and "Annual Sidewalk Sales" are very popular and everyone waits for that period of the year to get the best deal ever. In Canada, a special shopping day was introduced and is called "Boxing Day", which is the day after Christmas. The purpose of this day is to allow shop owners to liquidate all of their Christmas items in order to renew their merchandise. Setting different atmosphere on different period of the year is a very good attempt to draw in more customers.
The malls hallways are set up strategically in a sort of maze which forms a communal space controlling the flow of "traffic." It is done in a certain way that permits shoppers to pass through every store and can then compare their thoughts and ideas with those presented in the store¡¦s windows. It has actually been proven that many people go to malls just to window shop rather than having the actual intent to buy.
When most people travel, they open their guidebook and visit the major tourist spots listed. In Paris, we go to the Louvre and the Eiffel tower. In Amsterdam, we see the Van Gogh museum. In New York, Times Square. In Sydney, the Opera House. In Peru, Machu Picchu. In Bangkok, the Grand Palace. You get the idea. Now, big destinations are big for a reason. They are fantastic. They are beautiful. They inspire. They may be touristy and expensive, but they are worth the visit.
Whenever I visit someplace new, I tend to walk around a lot. A real lot. I wander streets and alleys and turn myself all around because you never know what you will find just around the next corner. One recent walking adventure brought me little girls singing Abba on the streets of Stockholm. Aimless wandering is a wonderful way to see locals and their daily lives away from all those tourist destinations.
Two often overlooked places that tell us about the lives of locals are supermarkets and malls. These are where the locals go to shop, spend an afternoon, relax, and do errands. In short, it’s everyday life. And sadly, most travelers rarely go there. Yet I think they are two of the best places to get a real look at the lives of the locals.
It may be hard to think of a mall as a cultural place, but let’s think outside the box for a moment. For starters, there are no tourists. In malls I go to, I still never see them, especially if I visit a mall outside the city center. The only reason I usually end up there is because I accompany my local friends on their errands.
Roaming malls can tell you a lot about the place you are visiting. What type of stores do they like? What fashions? What kind of fast food do they prefer? Do they like big box stores or small boutiques? Malls also give you an idea of cost of living because you can see how much goods cost. Once in Italy, I saw a sign that read “XXL Available- American size.” That told me two things about Italy: there was a clear perception that Americans were very fat, and that in Italy, fat wasn’t considered an Italian thing. Go shopping in Stockholm, and you’ll see a lot of trendy, high-end fashion. In Paris, you don’t see big Gaps and Abecrombies- you see top of the line fashion like Hermes, Prada, Gucci, and small boutique shops.
Malls give you a window into material lives of people and the material stuff they value. What value people place on “stuff” is as cultural as seeing the type of architecture in their buildings they enjoy.
Supermarkets are another amazing place to spot culture. How people eat, what they eat, and what they don’t eat tells much about how they view food, life, and health. In America, our emphasis on big, quick, and easy shows that we aren’t foodies as a culture. Food isn’t as important as speed. We eat a lot of fast food, prepared meals, and on the go food. In France, however, food quality is important. French citizens living in Brussels drive back to France to get good French food. Every other street has small food shops – little stores for fish, pastries, fruits, and bread. Food is consumed for taste not convenience.
Going to the supermarket answers a lot of questions. What kind of food do people like? What are the local delicacies? You see a lot of fish in Scandinavia, lots of different meats in Austria, packed shelves of wine in France, and a wide vegetable and cured meat section in Italy. In Bangkok, you see a lot of prepared meals. All around the world, the emphasis on food is different.
Food is such an integral part of culture that no visit to any country should be without a visit to a supermarket. I’m always blown away when I go to them because I learn more about how people live their lives and what they value than I learn from any trip to a monument.
Travelers always hit the obvious destinations, but malls and supermarkets offer you something different, unique, and local. If travel is about getting to know the places you go to and peering into the lives of its citizens, then watching people go about their daily lives at malls and supermarkets is a great way to do just that.