Seniors: The Changing Nature of Malls in our Lives

Sep 2nd, 2009 | By Dr Jerry D Elrod | Category: Senior Moments Blog

One of the dramatic effects of the economic maelstrom today is that Malls, once the center of American public energy and activity, are quickly becoming the new ghost towns.  It just doesn’t evoke the excitement that was formerly true to stroll through a mall, window shop, occasionally drop in to see if a bargain is available.  Malls are victims of their own gluttony for the American dollar.  Once large and imposing major chains are fading into the past. The mall resembles more and more the decline of downtown city centers who lost out to the malls some years ago.

This says a great deal about the American consumer.   We have learned that we don’t have to “shop til we drop” to gain satisfaction for ourselves.  Shoppers have learned, at least some, that there are perfectly legitimate ways to find meaning in life without spending to the credit card limit.   The regeneration of American spending may come with some surprises.  We may find ourselves with less need to have and want and spend.  We may find that we can do quite well without a lot of “things” previously craved.  Even advertisers are pulling back.  The Reader’s Digest, for lack of the advertising dollar, is in bankruptcy. Why, the Reader’s Digest is like apple pie!

Americans may revert, at least some of us, to old and worn habits of “keeping up with the latest fad.”  That has been driven by adolescents who succumb to advertisers and their wiles .  Maybe this imposed need to be more prudent will come out like Swine Flu, maybe we will avoid spending like the plague. The habit of many seniors who have chosen malls for their comfortable walking paths, may find themselves going back outside to rediscover the lure of nature.

Now, to be sure, for recovery to occur, some spending is good and necessary.  But mindless, post-Thanksgiving type spending, grabbing and rushing the doors of major department stores is not good nor necessary.  Discipline of desire is worth consideration. 

So, as we head into the holiday season (oh, yes the trees and trimming are already going up) maybe this season is one in which we examine real worth of our spending forays.   Maybe, this season, we need to recognize the value of our kept and saved dollar as much as we have thrown our money at “stuff.”  Perhaps, this year the trip to the mall will be more about looking at the decor and enjoying the holiday music than in stuffing the stockings. 

Of course, retailers won’t care for this message and attitude.  But, maybe they will begin to treat us more respectfully, more graciously, more essentially.  After all, the consumer is the one who drives the machine.  Without us, the whole system may go down.  We do not wish that, but a silent wish for clerks who show courtesy, for stores who meet real needs, for businesses that take into account the struggles affecting the consumer  and their employees would be a nice indication that some sensitivity has entered the retail world.



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  1. I found your blog on google and read a few of your other posts. I just added you to my Google News Reader. Keep up the good work. Look forward to reading more from you in the future.

  2. Thank you, Aaron. Readers like you help make it worthwhile to write. I hope you find us helpful and can comfortably recommend us to others.

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