Friday, March 25, 2011

Mall Walkers

It hadn't been a good day. I had gotten the lawn raked, the garden shack organized, some minor repairs done around the perimeter of the house, swept out and organized the garage and unearthed the lawn mower for a pre-spring tune-up so it had started off nice. After getting all that accomplished, I decided a trip to town was in order. I got some lawn care supplies, some bathroom remodeling supplies to finish up that job which I started last fall and then swung by the mall to drop off my wife and daughter while I swung to another store to get some liquid dish detergent since we were completely out. I quickly dashed into the store, picked up two bottles and made my way back to the check out stands. They were swamped five deep so I made my way to the express lane and that is officially when my day started going down hill.

There was only one person in the express-ten-items-or-less lane and she had already been checking out for some time evidently when I arrived. I counted 47 items that she laid up on the counter after I arrived and then to my horror, 23 coupons that had to be scanned. Then she had some sort of store discount coupons that had to be scanned, then a credit card for another portion and finally a check. Fifteen minutes later, I finally got to lay my two bottle onto the checkout stand.

So there I was sitting on some benches in the mall waiting for my wife and daughter to finish up when I saw them. I have seen them numerous times but hadn't thought much about it but in my fowl mood, suddenly I was in the mood to ponder. Here it was, 72 degrees and sunny outside with a mild southwesterly breeze and these two people were weaving in and out of the people slowly shopping their savings away. Yep, they were mall walkers.

The two mall walkers were walking at a good clip but on a busy Saturday afternoon, they were having to check up behind others who weren't there for their health. They would brush around the offending knot of people occasionally dropping an evil eye and accelerate back up to full speed. This mall is a tiny mall by American standards, one that was in its prime in the early 80's but now barely even qualifies as a mall. It has perhaps two hundred yards of interior perimeter for the mall walkers to utilize. So it wasn't but fifteen minutes later when they were on their tenth(?) lap, that I saw a lady innocently stroll out of a shop only to be t-boned by one of the mall walkers hard enough that she dropped her bags. The mall walker huffed out an apology and took off again why the shopping lady picked up her bags and glared after them. Perhaps they had done their number of laps or perhaps the shame of taking someone out caused them to skedaddle but I never saw them again.

Why on a perfect day, would someone trade the tree lined sidewalks, for the most part deserted of people, for the fluorescent interior of a strip mall packed with slow moving people? Why give up ever changing scenery for counting how many times this time by J.C. Penney is? All I could think is what a shame?


R. Sherman said...

I think part of it is the "being seen doing something healthy" factor. If they were outside walking along a sidewalk, people would think they're going from point A to point B and don't have a car. In other words, walking for transportation is soooo prosaic.

But walking for one's health is good. Therefore, it must be done under circumstances where it has no utility whatsoever.

Sort of like our foreign policy, now that I think about it.


Ed said...

R. Sherman - That last two sentences are classic!

Ron said...

Yeah, I think Randall pretty well summed it up. It would just ruin the whole thing if there was any utility to it. :)


sage said...

The only thing worse than mall walking would be having to sit and wait for someone without a book! You're right Randall's comparison was classic!

Three Score and Ten or more said...

Been there, been one. After my bypass, I had to walk, rain or shine a certain distance every day. I had to do it with a walker and my good wife by my side. Side walks have bumps, stray dogs and when you get somewhere you have to return (which may be more than you can do, and it is hard to find a cab that wants to carry you four blocks. Mall has benches (which sometimes are crucial). A good mall walker tries to get there when there aren't so many people but sometimes you gotta do what you gotta do.

Ed said...

3 Score - Let me just say that a person as you describe would be easy to pick out and understand why they had chosen that particular location. Those two that I had witnessed had nothing wrong other than a muffin top and a beer gut. They were also walking much faster than the environment allowed, something that probably wasn't true in your case.

Bone said...

They are an interesting group, for sure. And they mean business, as in, move it or lose it. Though I will say most mall walkers I've ever seen are out fairly early in the morning.

PhilippinesPhil said...

Sounds like it would be fun to mess with em... Walk hand in hand with someone just as playfully stupid as me going against the flow pretending to be oblivious of their irritating endeavors. Nahhh, I hate the inside of all stores and malls. I get in I get out I don't mess about, yoho yoho yoHO! (from a Marine Corps marching chant)