This was discussed in another thread but it is something that has been on my mind a lot lately. That is to say how shopping malls are not where people shop anymore and how our societal changes are affecting this.
I used to shop at a shopping mall that is now the most famous dead mall in the country, probably the world. They are finally tearing it down after standing over 30 years vacant. This mall stands as a symbol of everything that has happened in the last 30 years or so, from societal changes, to the economy, to demographic changes, to even pop culture. Going by this mall reminds me quite clearly of my childhood.
This mall started with good intentions. It was constructed in the mid 60’s after having been the land of a golf course. My parents grew up down the street from there. My dad being the troublemaker he was then rode all through the golf course with his friends trying to destroy it. However it didn’t work and the construction started, and ended with a nice opening. For a few years it did quite well and was always busy. I would shop there often with my parents and many of my childhood memories were of shopping there and buying toys and clothes. However a few years later it was forced to close because the area changed from a working and middle class area to low income. The crime too expanded and the mall had its share of murders, rapes, and most especially burglaries. Around the time of its closing Hollywood came a calling. They were filming a now classic movie and wanted a mall to have a chase through. The mall scene is now one of the most famous car chases in movie history. My parents were asked to be extras in the movie and regret they turned this down. It was supposed to reopen but never did and housed a variety of things, from schools to offices.
Around the time of this iconic mall’s closing my parents, brother and I moved to a better area and we started shopping at another mall. For those who haven’t experienced this, being a middle class suburban girl during the 1980s meant mall shopping. I would spend hours with my friends buying, going to the movies (oddly the first mall never had a movie theatre)and eating at the McDonalds at the mall. This mall had two record stores and one was an independent record store where I found a lot of obscure New Wave/Punk records. A few years later this record store would become part of a chain, records would be replaced by CDs and New Wave/Punk would be collectively known as Alternative. In the 90s when I started making money as a model and in radio (though being honest being a model paid a lot more than radio)I would buy lots of CDs then. I also bought concert tickets at the local Carsons. Several years later I would get into the Beanie Baby craze and buy at the one store that sold them. I stopped shopping here when I noticed the demographics changing from a mixed crowd to a much younger troublemaker one. This mall is now listed as a dead mall because the anchors have moved out and the few stores left are now hip hop clothing or record stores. I now shop at a mall not far from where I live currently but I wonder how long before that too will close. The area is nice, but everyone shops elsewhere.
Why did malls change? Many reasons. In the 80s there was a mall culture because there wasn’t as much to do. Now there are more options. Also, in these two malls and their situation is both went from higher income to lower income and quite frankly lower income just doesn’t have money to spend on useless items. Now, even the middle and upper middle class shops at Wal-Mart and Target. With this economy even formerly well off are doing poorly. Others are just practical about what they buy.