Thursday, February 08, 2007

Retail-i-ation


The earnest young man in Detroit is never one to disappoint me these days in burrs. As in, he is under my saddle. The latest case comes where he frets over retail and our humanity.

I am loathe to reminisce over the kinder, gentler days of business. I believe the phenomenon of old men who sell suits and support their families that way was what got me most. The store where we got my brother's first suit made sure to pay women 35% less because they shouldn't be working. The store where p-man bought his last suit has the faux associates who send us endless friendly junk mail in their interest to serve.

The problem is connecting ourselves in this secular way... at all ... through spending. Stores have become our meeting places? Please no... should I go on the diatribe of class...? Ah, no, too tired...

Let me stick to the true basis of the blog personal experience...

In my maternity leave I feel especially driven to defend myself from this reality. Among the reasons I chose to keep living in this neighbourhood is because I am walking distance to 30 green grocers, a bakery, deli, Pakistani video store, etc. You can't go too wrong aimlessly shopping in those places. But the mall... the mall. So many folks constantly take their kids in there. I tried to suggest to a few people recently they go to the library and they so did not get it. I had to explain that there were playspaces and food and books and fun at the library, just like the mall! Still no signs of comprehension.

It is hopeless. Is the notion of "public space" dead? ...more to come.

6 Comments:

Blogger Crunchy Carpets said...

Now wait a sec. I got to the mall. We got to the mall with our kids.

There is no Main street where we live.
Kingsway holds NOTHING for me.

The mall is 10 minutes away.
We run our errands there.

But guess what? We got to the library too. We get books there. We bring em home. We read em. I actually HATE people who spend hours at the library or the mall or anywhere else you see rather aimless looking folks. And rather aimless looking moms. I honestly don't get the drive to be OUT there all the time.

I like my house!

Sure we do activities...we hit different parks, check out any kid events or kid friendly places.

But for the most part we stick close to home.

So we do our errands AT THE MALL and then we come home and play.

And yes, the mall is turning into the public space. You see more and more 'community' type things centred around them.

And that dam choo choo.



I

7:22 PM  
Blogger Mamacita Tina said...

I take my kids to the park, hoping there will be other kids to play with. I've gone on different days, at different times, and too often no one else is there. I rarely go to the mall, but when I do, it's full of moms and their kids. Sad.

5:07 AM  
Blogger Mad Hatter said...

Funny, Mo-Wo, my next "Capitalism" series post was going to be a lament for public spaces. I look forward to what you have to say on the matter.

7:36 AM  
Blogger metro mama said...

We're lucky to live in a neighbourhood where there are lots of other kids at the park and the library. I loathe the mall-I can't imagine going there for fun.

8:56 AM  
Blogger NotSoSage said...

I have often lamented that Canadian weather means that we can have plazas and squares like they do in Europe. I think place can be so central to how a community is formed and its members feel about it.

Unfortunately, in most Canadian seasons, we are forced to find indoor places and more and more those indoor places are having rules and restrictions ("No Loitering, Please") placed on their use. Community centres, libraries and malls are all we seem to have left.

I think it's probably a common misconception that libraries are not places that you take kids when you can't control their fits of running, yelling and throwing tantrums. This is expected, and cheap food and window shopping are available at malls...it may not be ideal, but I would wager that the vast majority of the moms I see hanging out in the mall in our neighbourhood are teen moms. But then, that might just be the demographic in my 'hood.

8:44 PM  
Blogger nonlineargirl said...

Wait, I thought your part of Canada was the nirvana of socially conscious living. So sad to be disappointed by the reality like that.

I imagine you get the same phenomenon we do, in which we see our neighbors (and friends even) more in the warm, dry months. Come wintertime everyone hides in their houses. (Or malls, as the case may be.) I do remember reading a blog of an acquaintance (before I had kids) who wrote about going to malls for entertainment. I was confused, and still am, that this is the first and best choice for (some) people. Count me in the library-lovers and even cold-but-sunny-day park-goers. Also museums, zoo...

11:34 AM  

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