Thursday, November 13, 2008

Is the Mall Dead?

There is an interesting article from Newsweek that would suggest that it is. The mall I worked at as a high school student (yes, I thought I was soooo cool!) is now 85% shuttered and slated for demolition to make way for a baseball park. A mere 15 years ago you couldn't get a parking spot and you might wait in line for a Cinnabon for 15 minutes. Today, the store I worked at is long closed, the restaurants are gone and a lone Kohls holds up one of the mall while a tired, old Macy's the other. Is this the end of the mall, or the end of consumerism, or just a by-product of a bad economy? Or, are the consumers hell-bent on the idea of buying "stuff" just looking to new venues to fill the void?

I am a big fan of Craigslist, the thrift stores and Freecycle and according to the article, the numbers are growing:

The Salvation Army has seen sales jump 15 percent at some locations, while The Freecycle Network, a clearing house for second-hand goods has grown from 40 people to around 6 million since its founding in 2003. Each day, the group says, it keeps 500 tons of stuff out of landfills and in use. Another second-hand movement, known as The Compact, where members commit to buying nothing new for an entire year (underwear excluded), has grown from 10 friends to 10,000 members since 2004. Even those who are still buying new are viewing shopping through a changed lens: almost 40 percent of people between the ages of 18 and 30 prefer to use brands that are "socially conscious"—environmentally safe and produced through fair labor.

I don't know about you, but I certainly don't want a lot of "consumers" driving up the prices at thrift stores or on Craigslist, only to throw away what they don't want or didn't need. I have looked to these places for years to find great reusable goods for Halloween costumes, back to school or holiday decorating. It's been great for the planet and good for the budget. It's a sustainable way of life, so "consumers" please think twice before you shop. Consider the planet, consider your budget and consider what you truly need. If you don't need it, don't buy it. Thank you.


Joyce said...

Ours still seems to be going strong here, but I wonder if buying on-line is changing the whole shopping thing?

Green Bean said...

R.I.P. the mall.

Or not. Ours is going strong still. Annoyingly so. I wonder if, as Joyce suggests, its the online thing that is taking more of a toll than people suddenly becoming enlightened on the consumer front. I will say that the pickings have been a bit slimmer at my thrift store. I'm suspecting it's the economy more than anything.

Crunchy Chicken said...

Joyce took the words right out of my mouth.

Alana said...

I hate the mall and haven't been for years, besides a rare movie. And those kiosks in the middle where people attack you so that you can't even walk by without being harassed keeps me from ever wanting to go back.

Rosa said...

We had the best strip mall ever here a few years ago - a laundromat, a hardware store, a JoAnn fabric, a big thrift store, two awesome local restaurants, a liquor store, and the ReUse Center, a nonprofit that sells reclaimed building supplies. Plus it was on two good bus lines, across the street from my YWCA, and near a Target/grocery store combo.

The hardware store owner retired and the fabric store closed and the ReUse Center moved down the block and my favorite restaurant went belly-up :( But they opened and Aldi and the big thrift store is still there, and now there's a light rail stop and some condos.

Mo said...

Our local Mall has pretty much died here as well and is being replaced by a new Costco. I also loath shopping malls. However, a mile or so the other way another HUGE upscale mall just opened this week on yet another area of what was pristine desert. Ridiculous to pretty much close one down only to build another. I am afraid that says so much about Phoenix and it's surrounding suburbs. :(