Saturday, November 16, 2013

Going to the mall -- ack!

I think I get to Ross Park Mall about once a year to actually purchase anything. Some of this is by default -- I just don't go shopping much -- but some is by choice, as well -- I don't like malls, Simon Properties malls in particular. Yet here I was, on a small family celebration dinner. I am pretty sure it was the first time in calendar 2013 I was at the mall to spend money. I got there maybe once each in 2012, 2011 and 2010, as well. Entire years go by and I do not get to that mall at all.

I previously wrote about my irritation with Simon Properties. For all the snarling we did about transit access in 2007, Simon won that argument, at this mall and the other two it owns in the Pittsburgh area. Beyond that, I'm just not that fond of food courts. They have not the ambience of a coffee shop, and all seem to be variations on overpriced food that isn't all that interesting or different from one another. We ended up dropping $30 for what amounted to three hamburgers, three drinks, and an order of fries. I think we would have spent as much at a real restaurant, for much better food.

What really got to me, though, wasn't the food or even the food court, but that there seemed to be nothing *to* do there but spend money. I foolishly forgot to bring pen and paper on which to compose a blog post, so walked around the mall, solo, the better part of a half hour trying to find a pen or pencil dropped on the floor. I did eventually find one, but it took much longer that I thought it would.

Once found, I discovered I could not get it to write on the receipt from the food court, as it was of that shiny thermographic paper that does not play nicely with ball-point pens. I spent another 10 minutes trying to find a piece of paper. This too proved fruitless. No flyers, no discarded shopping bags, nothing. Nothing on sales floors, nothing in trash cans, no odd scraps of writable paper under random furniture.

Even if I had had pen and paper, the place is not set up to do any writing. There are plenty of chairs dispersed at random locations throughout the mall, but I don't fancy doing any actual writing while seated on any of them. They are places to sit down for a bit before you get up to spend more money.

Eventually, time was up, family found me and we went home. Dinner with the family was nice, but I could have done without the subsequent 45 minutes.

Malls. You can have them.


  1. Malls are pointless, useless, soulless places. I don't go to them if I can help it. Tonight was no different.

  2. More on the 2007 fiasco, reposted from a Facebook comment of mine a bit earlier this morning:

    The 2007 blog post was linked in yesterday's post. Here's the story: In 2007, the bus stops at South Hills Village, Century III and RPM were moved from the front door of the malls to distant locations on the property, requiring patrons arriving by transit to traverse their large parking lots, and in the case of C3 and RPM, cross the busy ring road circling the mall, with no more than plastic "slow--ped xing" signs near the likely crossing points. Transit riders raised serious hell, going up through PAT management to the point where the CEO (I think it was Steve Bland, new at the time) and 10 to 20 bus riders took a special bus out to the three malls to walk them themselves. Top management at PAT, including Bland, each mall, and Simon itself tried to settle matters, but Simon remained firm, and to this day, you still have to cross the ring road and 150 yards of traffic to get to the front door of the malls. My source (I have a name) tells me the decision was made in 2005 to do this, above the level of mere mall management, up in Simon's management, to move transit stops away from the entrances, because they (Simon) didn't want "those people" hanging around, as it made the mall look bad. Those people being brown, black, lower class. Simultaneously, several STORES were kicked out of the mall (Radio Shack, to name one) because their products didn't fit the profile the mall wanted to put across.