Confession time, friends.
I LOVE THE MALL OF AMERICA.
The “MOA” as it’s affectionately referred to around here.
Yes, I know. I shouldn’t. I should despise it and all the big-business, consumerism, and materialism that it represents. I’m typically an avid supporter of small business and shopping local campaigns (I’d argue that the MOA, in some ways, IS local for me), and the dear mall is anything but small business. But I just can’t hate her.
I know it’s just not cool to love the mall these days either. Hipsters, millennials, conscious consumers (am I any of those? Maybe!) would tell me to take my business to the trendy, one-of-a-kind, handmade, sustainably-sourced, living-wage-paying, brick and mortar in the North Loop. Or in my own south Minneapolis neighborhood. Or on Grand Avenue in St. Paul. And I do! Some of the time.
And some of the time I go to the mall.
To shop. It’s so convenient! Pretty much everything you’d ever need is all in one place! And when you’re schlepping a baby around – only having to park once and wrestle the car seat once and engage in the coat-hat-mittens circus once – the mall suddenly seems like the Smartest Decision You’ve Ever Made.
To walk. Have I shared this before? I’ve become a Mall Walker. I’m certainly no black belt, but ever since my winter maternity leave last year, I’ve appreciated and participated in the Recreational Art of Mall Walking with my head held high. Need to burn some energy but it’s zero degrees out? Need to see some other humans so you don’t go crazy all by yourself with a baby? Need to smell that Auntie Anne’s to provide nostalgic comfort? Become a Mall Walker! Pro tip: try to draft from other, more experienced Mall Walkers. They will part the crowds for you and your stroller, so you don’t risk injury by bobbing and weaving around wayward children, kitschy kiosks, and (the biggest peril to Mall Walkers if there ever was one) slow walkers. Don’t let those meanderers trip you up, let the experienced Mall Walkers do the hard work of clearing the path. You’ll be able to easily identify the Experienced Mall Walkers by their footwear (clean, supportive tennis shoes, dedicated to indoor activities only), their accessories (very few! No shopping bags – they are here to WALK, not shop. Potentially a fanny pack, and likely headphones.), and their stride (Fast-paced! Confident! Get outta my way, my arms are swinging!).
To ingest my latte, or bubble tea, or Coldstone Creamery ice cream. Because these things bring me life.
Thanks for being a safe place to share my true, MOA-loving self. And if you ever want to join me on a Mall Walking loop – let’s do it! Just don’t walk slow.