For 50 years Americans have been shopping at malls, but in these troubled times many are re-thinking their relationship to spending centers, says a story in the Sunday NY Times business section.
“Fiscal health isn’t possible until money is again sloshing into cash registers,” the story says. “In other words, shopping was part of the problem and now it’s part of the cure. And once we’re cured, economists report, we really need to learn how to save, which suggests that we will need to quit shopping again.”
Reporter David Segal, who wrote the story, goes to the behemoth Mall of America in Bloomington, Minn. to meet a young couple that gets married in the mall’s chapel, to talk to shoppers who brag about the prices they paid, and hear stories from retailers burdened by waves of returns and stingy customers.
The story is told through Americans’ love-hate relationship with the mall. “If we were actually in couples therapy with the mall, we’d have to confess to something: We have changed, not the mall. The economic crisis has caused shoppers to go into an essentials-only mode. But the mall has never trafficked in essentials.”
How does a mall survive when its bread and butter is vanilla-scented candles, buttered lobster bites, and virtual submarine rides? Read the whole story.