A time at the mall…

Even though I am fairly close to the city, it’s not often that I have the opportunity to get to the malls in the area. It used to be somewhat convenient to get to one of the malls here, but then constant problems with tenants not staying, along with being in an area of somewhat higher crime (though the mall itself was relatively safe), led to that mall being closed down. In its place now are a grocery store and a home improvement chain store. Another mall that we used to frequent was closed down in order to convert the property to an outdoor strip mall; so far that has proven to be a success.

Nevertheless, that doesn’t mean that we aren’t spoiled for choice, when you consider that there are still at least four of these “traditional” malls left in the area. It’s just that all of them are at least a 30 minute drive from where I am now, so we just don’t get there that often anymore. However, today, we had something else going on in the immediate vicinity of one of our major malls in the area. Arguably, it’s the most important mall in the area as it has most of the major chains around, including Macy’s, Boston Store and JC Penney, along with all of your mall favorites.

My trip to the mall started with a little adventure called waiting for the light to change at the intersection where the city can’t be bothered to put a crosswalk. Fortunately, I choose to cross at the side where there is hardly ever any traffic coming out of the mall, so it’s just the waiting for the main street’s light to change before I can proceed. 😉

Then, it’s a walk through the parking lot, and into one of the major anchors of the mall – Barnes & Noble. I usually peruse the selection of books they have; I might even pick up one or two, but I don’t buy (you’ll notice that this is a pattern here, I just look but don’t buy – most of the time I can find what I’m looking for on the Internet cheaper than I can in the mall ;)). It’s always nice to go by the little Starbucks nook that is there as they always have some good baked goods being made fresh throughout the day. Then I proceeded up the escalator to the second level of the store to check out some more of the books that were there, and to get into the main mall (I could have just gone straight through the first floor, but I felt like exploring a bit today).

Once in the mall, it’s your usual layout, with two aisles that go between large openings that let you see down into the first level. As you walk by some of the stores (particularly the young-adult-geared clothing stores like American Eagle and Aéropostale), you hear the music blaring from the speakers, and you get a chance to do some people watching. They also have couches and chairs in the connecting bridges between the sides of the mall – almost all of them were in use by patrons of the mall to relax, talk, or, in the case of one person, let her child cry and do a bit of pouting almost at the top of its lungs.

As I passed through the center court area (which isn’t all that busy I might mention), I picked up the scent of coffee. At first I thought it was one coffee purveyor (Gloria Jean’s), but as it turns out it was one of our more locally-based coffee houses, Alterra Coffee:

After walking a little further, I happened upon one of the most interesting kiosks in the whole mall, Nueske’s, whose main products are ham and sausage products. In fact, they’re somewhat known for their selection of bacon. I don’t know of many malls (other than the Mall of America [Rybicki’s Cheese]) where you can pick up this kind of product in. It just so happened that they also had some samples of beef sticks out for folks to try. I tried one, and it was pretty good. Here are a couple of pictures, clockwise from top left are: general overview of the kiosk, some of the meats, some more of the meats, and the sampling area.

I then went to look for what I had come to the mall to look for – aromatherapy products – peppermint oil in particular. After striking out last time (though I had found one place that sold it for $12 for a small bottle), I decided to not go by the guide and just go on instinct. The first place I went to didn’t seem to have any essential oils, though I hadn’t asked them if they did (and what’s really bad is that I can’t remember the name of that store now!). The second shop I went into, L’Occitane en Provence, had some essential oils, but they only had lavender for pure oils, everything else were combinations. After that, realizing that I didn’t have a lot of time left to explore, I decided to stop in a place I had seen last time but didn’t have a chance to go into then. However, there was a slight delay in that plan.

You see, how this mall is set up, they placed Lindt Chocolate right next to this store. I wouldn’t have gone into Lindt if it hadn’t been for a sign in their window which read – “Come in for a free sample”. Although I know I shouldn’t have, I did anyway, because who can resist a free sample? 😉

I went ahead and got the extra dark chocolate, and it was amazing. The taste just sticks in your mouth for so long, and it’s so pleasurable. I really should have gotten a packet of them, but I chose not to – it’s available at most stores anyway if I remember correctly.

So, anyway, after that nice diversion, I was back to “man on a mission” mode, and went into the next shop, called Soaps and Scents. Something about the folks in these stores, the ones where you find the body and health stuff, is that they’re all so nice. They don’t care who you are, what matters is that you’re there; unlike the cellphone people who just yell at you, which is a step up from the rumors of them throwing pens at people walking by a couple of years ago. So, I went in and asked the lady behind the counter if they had essential oils, and in particular the peppermint. As it turns out, they did! However, the price had something to be lacking – $8.95 for what appeared to be about 1/2 fluid ounce – I didn’t look at the bottle up close to see how much was in there, but the vial was relatively small. I decided that I wouldn’t get it today, since the prices online are more favorable (and for bigger quantities as well)

Normally, I would have just walked along and on my way, but I mentioned to her that they were only the second (or third, or possibly 4th, if you consider one that sells only combinations, and L’Occitane along with The Body Shop) store that I found in the mall that sold aromatherapy products. I then mentioned that in Australia, aromatherapy products are available at the supermarket. She was quite surprised by this, and asked what they did with it, to which I replied, a couple of drops in the shower. I then rambled on about maybe it’s just that it’s a country vs. city thing and that the supermarkets in the capitals mightn’t have aromatherapy products. I then mentioned that I hadn’t been able to find anything out where I am, which led to a discussion of how to get around some major construction that is going on in a nearby town.

All in all, it was a very pleasurable experience. I then went up the escalator to the general moshpit of societies – the food court. Here, you have just about anything from standard fast food fare (though McDonald’s was strangely missing from the mix) to the mall-only places such as Little Tokyo and Sbarro. At Little Tokyo, there was a bloke standing out front with some samples of chicken teriyaki, the $3.99 special. Even though I had the Lindt still resonating in my mouth, I decided to have a small sample (it was two little pieces of chicken on a toothpick, if you’re wondering), and it tasted great as well. I was seriously tempted to suggest that we get some for dinner, but then thought that the trip back out here would be too long and then it’d be cold. I snapped some more photos of the food court, clockwise are – Chinese Gourmet Express, Little Tokyo (you can see the sample guy at the left of the photo, in the red apron), the left side of the food court ({Cinnabon}, Steak Escape, sbarro, Subway, Cajun Big Easy), and the right side of the court (Cajun Big Easy again, Taco Bell, Little Tokyo, Burger King, {Arby’s – behind the column}, Rocky Rococo (regional pizza-by-the-slice chain)).

All in all, it was a good time, and a nice walk as well in the air conditioning. However, the trip back to the car was a little adventure, as a missed signal meant that I had to start back across the street after noticing that the car had not seen my signal and went towards the mall anyway. I’m sure the cars had fun watching that. 😉

3 thoughts on “A time at the mall…

  1. What’s the deal with those kiosks for Rosetta Stone in every mall now (at least around my parts)? On my way from the Gap to the Body Shop, should I also learn Farsi? Maybe they figured out that it’s like selling home gym equipment. It’s something people imagine that they’ll do so they buy it.


  2. Snos – Yep, one of these days, I’ll just say that I have it. You know how that goes 😉

    Cugat – There was one at the mall I was at as well. It was right by the Godiva chocolate store in the center court area. Maybe they figure the Victoria’s Secret shoppers are looking to learn a romance language?

    Thanks y’all 😉

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