While they may now be viewed as the dying relics of ’90s consumerism, for a certain group of people, malls were once the end all and be all of cool. Nay, LIFE. There was just something special about wandering the oh-so-shiny hallways, with endless possibilities for cheap food and silver-plated jewelry at your fingertips. Whether you were there with your mom (when window shopping could turn into actual purchases) or frolicking with your friends with an air of misguided grandeur (and maybe a little mischievousness), going to the mall was a highlight for a solid decade of your young life.
By now, you’ve probably left your mall obsession behind. You wander in when Sephora is having a particularly good sale or there aren’t any good movies playing, but it isn’t as magical. Still, once a mall kid, always a mall kid. As you’ve matured beyond your Cinnabon-eating years, you still cling to a few choice truths and comforts when it comes to the mall.
You Will Never Resist The Pull Of The Cookie
As soon as you walk into the mall, you are hit by a wall of familiar smells — perfumes from the free sample spritzer gauntlet, BO from the herd of shoppers pushed into close contact with one another, and the sweet, sweet scent of hot cinnamon flavored garbage that you have a deep need to shove in your face hole. Remember when icing covered cookie flavored pretzel buns were a guiltless treat? Remember when you didn’t need to show caution because of the cold realization that mall clothing stores are anti-plus-size zones and life is a swirl of cruel irony?
You Still Feel Weird Going Into Spencer’s Gifts
I know. You’re an adult now. You’ve done, said, or seen worse things than whatever nonsense fills those shelves. However, every time you walk past, you can’t help but feel a little uneasy. Your mom treated it like a portal to hell with a threshold that should never be crossed, and for some reason, that was one of those life lessons that stuck around. If Spencer’s is the forbidden garden, then fake poop, beefcake birthday cards, and finger massagers line the trees.
You Just Can’t Hate Hot Topic
Hot Topic has become a punchline meaning “uncool” in recent years, but you just can’t turn your back on it. After all, it welcomed you with open arms after you realized that you were never going to be a Claire’s girl and were going through your Avril Lavigne phase. Plus, Hot Topic has since become a bastion for some pretty rad geeky memorabilia and clothing, so it’s there for you as a grown-up when you need to buy a bunch of toys.
What? No you’re lame.
You Still Have Your Squad Meetings There
When you were a teen (in a time before Netflix and Skype) it was a place to meet that had easily flouted rules about loitering, abundant central air, and the aforementioned snacks. Now, it’s more about time management. You and your squad can grab a bite, hit a movie, buy some sensible slacks, and drool over the goods in the Apple store (basically the adult arcade) without having to fight to find parking in some hipster district.