Monday Night Flashback OT: the Mall

Like most girls in the eighties and nineties, I think I spent most of my babysitting money and allowance at Claire’s. Dangling earring, bracelets, jelly bracelets, barrettes, obnoxious socks, you name it, I bought it. 

I think I started going to the mall with my BFF in about the fifth grade. We’d go to Claire’s and then go down to the card store where we’d buy Jelly Bellys. We’d hit the record store (in the beginning, there were real records in such places) and buy cassette singles for $2.49. I honestly don’t remember what else we did there, just that we were there at least once a week for most of my youth.

Were you a mall rat? You can tell me. Or feel free to hijack this open thread with whatever business you want!

135 thoughts on “Monday Night Flashback OT: the Mall”

  1. I was a mall rat people watcher, and hung out at the record stores as a ‘barter employee,’ then later on started doing music promotions for clubs/bands/labels and was a regional manager for a music store chain for about five years. Lots of adventures in that job.

    As for Claire’s, I worked there for almost a day. I went for an interview and let them know that the next week I had a wedding to attend for my drama teacher (Robert Smith; had fun telling people I went to Robert Smith’s wedding, heh). They said ‘no problem!’ and said I’d begin on the next Wednesday. I reiterated I’d not be available Saturday for the wedding, and they assured me repeatedly that it was not an issue. Well, I went in on Wednesday, and wasn’t on the schedule for that day. They said ‘where were you on Monday?’ and I told them I was told I was scheduled for Wednesday. No one had called, so I had no idea they wanted me to work that Monday. I looked at the schedule and I was scheduled for Saturday. I reminded them that I couldn’t work that day and they said “well, if you don’t come in, don’t bother showing up again.” So I didn’t.

  2. I lived in an area of small towns so no real malls, though there was a fancy tourist building that sold old lady puffy paint clothing and candles.

    However, I did live downtown near one of the only coffee shops in the area (owned by the mob! run by ostensible satanists!) and the free bus to the college town a few miles away that had a much less interesting coffee shop, but with places where I could buy things.

  3. Ok, one more off topic, but it’s a call for help.

    An acquaintance/academic peer just came out on fb as a “Transsexual.” This person and I have had few conversations, but he has come to my house a few times for small parties with mutual friends. He’s an undergraduate at my school, but brilliant and sits in on my phd classes. I want to show him support, note my gratitude for his bravery, but, moreover, ask him what pronouns he wants to be called (I use he here based on his masculine name, but I’mnot sure if this is chosen or if this is something to be left behind as he transitions).

    Any tips on how I can go about doing this without forgetting my CIS woman privilege?

    1. I remember Autostraddle did a Q&A series with two trans people a few months ago – might be worth checking out, I think they covered a lot of questions cis people had about what is and isn’t ok to ask.

      (and it’s the open thread, all topics welcome:) )

      ETA: here’s the link: http://www.autostraddle.com/tag/sebastian-and-annika-answer-your-trans-questions/

  4. off topic:

    I love that the PM community is one in which I can share similar thought processes, ideas, and intuitions. But seriously, you lovely lovely writers you, I’ve had to check off THREE of my blog ideas in the last week and a half.

    Ex: I’ve really wanted to write about my ‘coming out’ as a beauty queen, especially being an academic who is noted for pushing back against precisely these things (yet is still comfortably ‘feminine’ … as in, men in my program still see me as approachable/I still look ‘conforming’)…

    I love you betches anyway, though.

      1. Awe, shucks, I’m sure you’re being too hard on yourself ;)

        And I could use some more Euro-centered stuff. When I’m writing philosophy/academically, I tend to be more aware of how U.S.-centric I am/the perspective that’s best represented by my writing. When I’m blogging, I still take it for granted.

  5. I just had the worst visit with a close friend of mine. I invited her up to spend the week with me and I’d hoped that we’d have a nice, relaxing time together watching a lot of tv. My motivation behind her visit was to have her help keep me distracted from my upcoming progress CT scan this week to see if the cancer is shrinking (it BETTER be!). Yeah no. She was grumpy and entitled the entire time she was here and a terrrrrrible houseguest. Endless complaints and rude behavoir towards me and my friends – no respect for my choices in medical treatment, lifestyle or career. It just didn’t stop.

    It was really quite difficult to be around that much negativity and bitterness for days on end – especially when I’m trying to maintain emotional and physical equilibrium right now. She left this afternoon to strained awkward hugs after a silent awkward morning and I was so. damned. relieved. I feel bad because we’ve been best friends for nearly a decade but she was just in an entirely different headspace than me. There were a lot of things about the visit that once would have made me truly angry but now it just leaves me sad.

    So I spent the rest of the day settling back into my own life away from the emotional vampire and mildly succeeded. I have a couple of fun projects on the horizon, the weather has been improving, my cats are adorable and I’m going to rock that CT scan like it has never been rocked before. And I can get back to my normal half-lurk here on p-mag! And I’ll leave you with the GIF that is my current inspiration in life (if I can get the editor to work). Keep on keeping on, cat. If you can do it so can I.

    1. I am so sorry that that had to happen when you are already dealing with so much! that is so unfair. I really hop your friend comes around so she can give you the care and the love the the appreciation you deserve.
      and you will rock that CT scan. I am sending all my positive thoughts and “shrinky-vibes” to you. good luck/good providence/best wishes on your journey with cancer, I know it is a difficult one and I hope you have way more support than you got from your friend.

      Persephone is here to be a haven! and if there is any way we can help you tread water we are ready and willing.

    2. It might be in large part of my own struggles with maintaining mental health, but I’m a strong proponent of not having a person in your life if they become burdensome. This is because, if they continually drag you down without really giving anything back, they can become a crimp on your own mental health.

      If this is how your friend is making you feel, as much as it sucks to lose a friend, you may wish to consider just not hanging out with her at all. You should never feel so relieved after a friend or loved one has left! And especially if this makes a pattern of itself.

      Whatever you do is up to you; it’s possible you could talk to her about this and see if it can be fixed.

      But you absolutely have every right to try to excise toxic behavior from your life.

  6. I would beg my mom to take me to the mall when I was a kid. Living in the sticks sucked. We’d only “go to town” (seriously, a commonly used phrase in my house) for necessities once or twice a month. Groceries and stuff were picked up coming home from work but otherwise, Yard Work. Ugh.

    But then, in high school, the mall got a tad bit unsafe when there were a few random shootings…

    Now the mall is just chaos. So.Many.People. More security too so that’s awesome. I pick two or three places I need to go and then it’s in-out faster than it takes to finish a coffee.

    (Are companies PURPOSELY making strollers the size of SUVs? Is that necessary? Can they be engineers to be smaller but still efficient? Is that possible?)

  7. I was a mall kid to an extent, mostly around the middle school age. By high school I had sort of figured out better things to do, but still frequented Sephora, Forever 21, and Hot Topic, because I was a tight-pantsed, crazy-haired scene kid with a ton of piercings. Actually, I’m still pierced and tight-pantsed…

  8. The best was when Claire’s had its 10 items for $5 sale of course finding those 10 items you’d actually want was difficult but I was always so proud when I did. Not gonna lie I still pop into Claire’s looking for that sale and actually I got some pretty sweet headbands a few months ago that way.

  9. mostly just want to say thanks, Perseph-friends. you brightened my day and calmed me so much yesterday when everything was so spectacularly sucky. I have much love for all of you.

    (PossibleMrPevensie and I have heard from a couple of other friends who heard what went down and they’re being very supportive and helping tear down some of the lies the Jerk Squad was spinning on Saturday night, so that is really wonderful too.)

    1. They screwed up my first hole piercing, after carding me first. They’re a little too high, and my earlobes were very angry with having things put through them…my second set I got at a tattoo shop/piercer, and they were less mad. I think it’s the gun.

      1. idk, I haven’t set foot inside of the malls near my house since December. I remember wanting to buy all the stuff in there when I was in school but then I (after a friend pointed it out) realized that it was a rather commercialized idea being sold to me and all of my friends who were mostly goths, punks, skaters, band dorks, etc. I think that last think that I bought in there was a discounted t-shirt, three years ago maybe. I’d feel  kinda silly going in there now. But I’ll never give away my chain wallet!

  10. not relevant things – I just got into a grad school and am freaking out and am not telling people I know because I haven’t gotten the physical letter yet, so I’m telling you guys.

    less relevant things – Obama’s speaking at my alma mater’s commencement! Our sibling school’s quite salty about it, and stupid rivalries are rearing their ugly heads.

    more relevant things – I’m a Jersey Girl: Queen of the Outlets; Lady and Mistress of all that is Suburbanly Fashionable.  My multi-mall domain is traversed not by steed, but by SUV or giant minivan. (I might have owned uggs at one point. My only consolation is that they were fake and from costco.)

      1. Well, I’ve been having difficulty deciding between like eleventy billion different things, but I applied for Historic Preservation programs…I didn’t expect to get in/thought the decisions came next week, so I opened up the email and was like…whaaaaat? So I’m still kind of in disbelief until I see that letter…what about you?

        1. That’s really great and it sounds like an interesting topic. It’s nice to have good news, and early too. I applied for an MA in Art History. I only applied to one place though because I can’t relocate at the moment, so I’m very nervous about it.

        1. Depending on your program, you get to take many more classes in your field of interest (some have more “breadth” requirements, some less). The classes tend to be more serious, but also more interesting. If you’re doing a PhD, you can get very involved with your professors and your advisor. A graduate program can be more intimate and close-knit than the average experience at a large university. It depends on the program. Mostly I was excited to finally take classes in the stuff that really interested me, with like-minded people. We had a great community and we went out to bars a lot, which was fun and made everyone closer. (Also, I am a super-dweeb and I had a lot of fun at my comprehensive exams).

          I hope you love your program and that you have a great experience!

    1. Congrats! Welcome to grad school! I want to tell you really awful, scary things about stress and workloads and schedule mix-ups, because those are the stories I heard. Then I got there and realized it isn’t nearly that bad, and I was quite relieved and grateful for all that buildup.

      Instead I’ll just tell you that it’s wonderful and wish you luck!

    2. Congrats on grad school!
      The level of difficulty will (IMO) depend on the professor and type of field you’re going into. I have felt like my classes now are less difficult than my undergrad classes. The papers are a lot longer, but you get used to writing 15-20 page papers and then become disturbed by how adjusted you are.

  11. There were only two malls in my area and they were both at least a town away. As such, I spent one particular summer being a strip-mall rat because it was only a block away. Biking from my house to the library to the convenience store for icecream, aww yeah!

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