Let’s Go to the Mall! 

Grand+Cities+Mall+in+Grand+Forks

Victoria Ledum

Grand Cities Mall in Grand Forks, ND.

Claire Arneson, Section Editor

Picture you and your friends riding in the back seat of a white minivan. Your friend’s mom pulls to the curb outside a mall that took thirty minutes to get to. You pile out of the car and overhear the promise of pickup in an hour or two. You take the cash you saved up from holidays, birthdays, and the recent shakedown you gave your parents before leaving and enter that mall feeling like hot stuff. Going to the mall when I was younger, was less of a jog than it was a sprint. You had a certain amount of time at each store, a certain amount of time at the mall, and you had to figure out how much you then could spend. Malls today seem to have lost their pizazz. We could blame it on age, but malls themselves seem to have lost their glow, not to mention stores. So what is happening to our beloved malls?   

Malls are dying. There is no question about that. Many malls across the U.S. are shutting down due to vacant stores and no profit. My first thought after hearing about the “death of malls” was that it had something to do with the pandemic. It is easy to blame most things on that. It would make sense that since people were not allowed to leave their houses to shop for fun things, people would turn away from malls and instead shop online. However, malls started to become less popular when the recession hit a month before the pandemic “officially” started in the U.S. Business Insider filmed a video called, “here’s why malls across the U.S. are dying” by Sam Rega back in 2017, but many of their points can apply to mall closures today. They talk about how many people turn to online stores because of cheaper prices and online reviews. Thanks to Tik Tok, many people have started buying “dupes” for clothing and makeup brands from Amazon, which is increasing their sales but decreasing the profit of the original retailers.   

Another reason the Business Insider video talked about was that nowadays people are looking to buy an experience rather than a product. That is why many malls now have movie theaters, arcades, and other interactive activities. The Mall of America for example has everything from VR labs to a full-on amusement park. Other malls now have escape rooms that lure people to them. When stores leave the mall leaving many empty spots, the buildings are hard to sell. They become abandoned because no one will buy a building with a bunch of smaller empty buildings inside of it.   

It makes me very sad that malls seem to be going out of style. My high school friends and I still do our yearly Mall of America trip. Malls are a part of our childhood and a part of our history. They are the place to get 10 shopping bags that line both your arms, digging into your skin as you trudge around floor after floor. They are a great place to grab a pretzel to refuel or a piercing for some spontaneous fun, so if you have a free day with nothing to do, why not go get your steps in at our local mall? Columbia Mall in Grand Forks has some wonderful shops like American Eagle, Scheels, Hot Topic, and much more. If you want to take a drive to West Acres Mall down in Fargo, this is another fun place to go. As the wise Regina George once said, “get in loser! We’re going shopping.”   

 

Claire Arneson is a Dakota Student Editor. She can be reached at [email protected]