When I looked at the map online, I was stunned to see the list of stores. There were so many! There used to only be like 25 of them when I worked there, now there were almost 60 of them. When we got there, the parking lots were almost full! And yet... the mall was pretty dead, considering that it was a Saturday during holiday shopping season. A majority of the stores were boring as hell. Mostly upscale clothing, a few brand name fancy pants restaurants, 3-4 gourmet chocolate places, and very few interesting stores.
FAO Schwartz and their Barbie Doll shoes lava lamp? Gone.
Stardust by the Red Balloon Kaleidoscope store? Gone.
Food court? Gone.
Pottery Barn and their overpriced wicker? Gone.
Versace and their $200 jeans and armed guard? Gone.
Cargo, the Franklin Mint, and Circuit City Express? Gone.
Brookstone? G... no, in a smaller location, but closed.
Sun Tailoring and the funny dude who makes suits for football players? Still there!
I wandered into Waldenbooks, eventually, starved for something to do after wandering the entire mall in just 15 minutes. There I met a familiar sight: an author alone at a table doing a book signing. Oh, I have SO been there! We chatted for a while. He plugged his book, but I said I didn't care for mysteries. He mentioned famous names listed around his. I wanted to pat him on the head and go, "Oooh, look at yeeeew. Ooh, who's a good author, huh? WHO'S a good author? Gooshew gooshew! That's right, yeeew! Koothcie kootchie coo!" But I didn't. I don't know if I'll ever be a famous author; I don't want it bad enough to sit alone at a table in front of a book store in a dead mall. I really felt for the guy, and he was a nice person, really. Don't recall his name. Which was part of the problem with his delivery, I guess.
I spoke with the cashier, and she said the mall was still dead off season and doesn't know how anyone stays in business.
That makes two of us.
What used to be my store is now part of a huge "Piazza Del Gorgio" or something. It's like a mega-deli that replaced the food court that used to be next to Neiman Marcus. I paid $10 for some chicken and soda, and the cashier was very obviously drawer skimming: she told me my total, and when I started to pay I pay cash, she gave me change from a cup next to register, and rung up a $1 banana.
I sat next to some pre-tween rich brats. A bunch of rich 8-9 year old BRATZ models in training, wearing expensive clothing on their skinny little frames, giggled to some handsome crooner from a small PVR while their mothers in fur coats looked on. It was like a stereotype for a Nickelodeon sitcom. You know the spoiled rich girls everyone is supposed to hate?
There were a lot of rich people at that mall. I overheard an older couple complaining that "the dagoes working on the summer house" were lazy. Who uses the word "dago" anymore? "I can't believe Connecticut has an immigrant problem...!" How ghastly! Racist asshats. They were forced to stay at one of their kid's houses, and the woman was angry because she had to share the bathroom with "a second guest room, what if someone comes and stays in there? We won't have privacy!" Well, sor-ree, lady, that you're forced to share your hairy fanny with the in-laws. I bet you will be a positive JOY on Christmas morning. "Really? You gave the help the day off? I never! Do Spaniards even celebrate Christmas?"
I forgot about those people. If it's another 12 years before I set food in that mall again, I won't complain.