The 9 People You Will Meet at the Mall

Credits: Photo - Anonymous, Styling - Sarah G. Schmidt, Location - Market Mall


Oh the mall. What a great thing. Gathering a whole schwack of stores in one location, paired with amenities such as services, restaurants, and entertainment is an easy way to attract many people. There’s something for everyone: shopping, movie theatres, kid play zones, comfy chairs, and maybe even your dentist.

There has been plenty of chatter and reports that malls are on the way out. What’s for sure in the Canadian landscape is that it’s hard to find Canadian brands filling up the tenant spots. Regardless of what happens in the future, when you stop by your favourite mall, there’s still a mini eco system of people who gather and shopping may not be their M.O. Here’s a smattering of a few types of people you’re likely to find.

Seniors getting their exercise on

I get it. We all need to get those thirty or more minutes of movement a day in. Calgary is a weather shit storm so the smooth, stable tiling of many malls in a safe option for those needing to stay mobile. I do also like the coordinated leisure suits many wear that channel more of a Royal Tenebaums vibe than LuLuLunatic. I hope to one day join them.

Parents displaying how real the struggle is

No matter what time of day or the day of the week there are always more parents with SUV sized strollers and young kids buzzing around them with one distraught parent then I would imagine. Sure, you have to go and get errands done, why not get as many done in one stop as possible. Maybe you just need to get out of the house. Perhaps it’s a 2 for 1 sleep aid: want to knock one kid out to sleepy town via continuous stroller walk while simultaneously wearing the older one out? Take ‘em to the mall!

Kids running their parent's show

Take your kid to the mall enough times though and they start to catch on. Watching small, young people have meltdowns as they plead their parents to take them to the toy store is hilarious to me. Part of me thinks that the parent deserves it for bringing them there in the first place. The other part of me gets terrified and pities the parent. Who need a birth control prescription when you can simply watch the next generation of zombie like consumers get into formation?

The not-so-inconspicuous intellect

Next up we have the person who is at the mall for the table or comfy chair. They may be reading a book or getting work done on a laptop but they are not shopping. Maybe this person is tired of always heading to the café to do the same thing. Maybe they really like that particular food court. Maybe they are occupying themselves while their loved one shops. We’ll never know as who wants to be the person to interrupt whatever they are doing and rudely ask, “Why are you reading at the mall?”

Trading time with tradespeople

We, the modern shoppers are fickle. We love the “new”. Like any happening thing there are periods of renovation and new construction to up the ante. The mall is no different. What I like about construction is that it brings tradespeople into my habitat and I’m in there’s. Well, safely outside of there’s but close, you know. Workers take breaks. I find it delightful when I can overhear a conversation about last night’s date or watch a few play a game of crib. I hope they make it past the skunk line before they head back to work.

Head-buried-phone retail staffers

The actual staffers of the stores get breaks too. Whoa. They are easy to spot because of two key identifiers. One being they are head down face into smartphone as they voraciously catch up on what they missed due to the “no phones on the store floor” policy. Second being they still have their nametags on. Watching them get their social fix before heading back is a strange yet satisfying experience for me.

Non-shopping shoppers

You’ve seen these folks too. Maybe you pop into a store, hold an item while you ponder, come back forty five minutes later and see the same guy sitting in the same chair. Only this time there are more bags around his feet. But he hasn’t moved an inch. He’s not on his phone, there’s no book in his hands, he’s simply sitting there, waiting it out until his companion comes back. He’s protecting a small village of shopping bags filled with goods that he had no part of selecting.

Need to be close to people without meaningful interaction

Some people are social beings. They too, may understand that not everyone wants to strike up a conversation with a random stranger. How does one get their fix while not being a in-your-face creep? Simply go to the mall. People-watching is an event all in itself. It may help the few who need it to get their fill of being around people without putting anyone out.

What brings you to the mall? Oh, you say the actual shopping? Huh, never heard of that.