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Order Online And Avoid Getting Malled

Order Online And Avoid Getting Malled

From time to time I hear folks - mostly older women - lament the demise of brick and mortar stores. 

Online shopping is no fun, they say.

They recall how much they once enjoyed wandering the aisles of department stores, taking in the bounty and enjoying the splendid service of solicitous store clerks. They sniff that Amazon shopping isn’t shopping at all.

They are insane.

This past week I found myself at Lynnhaven Mall, not once but twice. Hey, I waited till the last minute to get shoes and a dress for a wedding this weekend. I couldn’t risk a frock arriving on my doorstep and not fitting. I couldn’t get shoes until I had a dress. And I needed a purse to go with both.

So how was it? 


First, there is the gauntlet that must be run to escape the kiosk crazies who patrol the open space inside the mall. They attack you with free samples, block your passage with offers of eyebrow “threading,” whatever that is, and try to sell you potions from their carts. Avoiding eye contact with these vultures does not work. Neither does a polite shake of the head. Even a firm “No!” or “Leave me alone!” doesn’t work.

Pepper spray. It’s the only answer.

Worse, on your return trip, the same insistent kiosk creatures chase you, either forgetting that you rebuffed them 30 minutes ago or not caring.

Once in a department store it’s the opposite. Clerks are scarce. Who knows, maybe they’re all getting their eyebrows threaded. 

On Wednesday I found a small purse in one department store. The one that rhymes with Stacy’s. And I had to trudge the entire first floor to locate someone to take my money.

I couldn’t find shoes in that store so I fought my way past the kiosk pests to the store that rhymes with Billard’s where I saw the perfect black patent leather pumps.

Yes, I know what the nuns said about patent leather. I didn’t care. 

It was a miracle when, after circling the shoe department for only about five minutes with the shiny sample pump in hand, a cheerful clerk of about 12 appeared and offered to help.

“Can you please see if you have this in a 9 1/2 or a 10?” I asked.

Yes, I know. Call me Sasquatch.

She stared at my feet and disappeared. And quickly reappeared. 

“I forgot,” she chirped. “What size did you say?”

I told her. Then sat down, got out my phone and began answering emails. Eventually she came  back. Big smile.

“We don’t have that shoe in a 9 1/2 or a 10,” she began, offering me a shoe box. “But we do have it in a 7 1/2.”

I stared at her in disbelief. 

“And what should I do with a 7 1/2?” I asked. “Cut off the toes?”

She laughed.

“I thought I’d try,” she shrugged.

Yeah, well, I tried too. I went home, found an even prettier shoe online. Ordered it on Amazon and it landed on my porch the next day.

No delivery fee.

Goodbye mall. I will not miss you.

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