With the calendar winding closer and closer to the official birthday of the Baby Jesus, I took to the streets for that most American of traditions — buying stupid shit that no one needs or wants. Parking my car, I sauntered through the pockmarked asphalt lot of my local mall, which is filled with holes that look ideal for taking cover from mortar fire. Passing the gout-ridden woman exiting the Chinese buffet on her fat-scooter, I slinked into the double-doors that hold, in their depths, pure materialistic hell and small town-misery. From the face of the first passing shopper that I saw, the message was clear: fuck this place. Fuck the holiday season, fuck spending money you don’t have, fuck malls, and definitely fuck working in retail.
It has been nearly ten years since a new enclosed mall was built in America, and for a good reason. We have long since passed the days when our own narcissism and addictive desire to possess consumer junk was charming or endearing. Somehow a book like: Confessions of a Shopaholic does not have the same mass appeal when over half of the country is stuck working for a soul-sucking corporation that struggles to supply toilet paper to its employees, let alone health care. When your president’s biggest gaffe is getting caught sticking a cigar into a fat intern’s twat, Old Navy could almost be considered a nice place to be. But when your tax dollars are being used so a “liberal” president can play a constant game of bomb the brown people, and the world is spiraling into financial chaos, the mall is just pure depression.
I saw it all ring clear on the face of the corporatized mall-Santa, who was plainly another out-of work millennial who had been forced to blow a few lines of Adderall so that he could muster up the courage to sit in the middle of a concrete hell wearing a fat suit for eight dollars an hour. Entering a cooking store I witnessed more unfortunate souls who looked like they had been driven from their homes with cattle prods after being implored to keep the country’s economy running.
Two elderly gentleman, nodding off into space while staring at three different iterations of juice mixers, each second trying not to grab a bottle of tabasco sauce and rub it in their eyes for some excitement.
Staring off across the road as I left, I witnessed another semi-fast semi-cultured restaurant chain that I didn’t even know had existed. Maybe it had simply exploded out of the surrounding environment’s desire for something just a few degrees classier than McDonalds, or maybe it didn’t need to be there at all.
If there is one thing to be said about my mall-going experience, it’s that the real tragedy of the day hit me with no small sense of irony. The newest fast food joint to sink its claws into our decaying mall had yet to open. Fucking stupid… all I wanted after my Dante-esque descent into hell was a standardized frozen-to-grill greasy cheeseburger.