Saturday, December 18, 2010

The Mall: Trail of Destruction

Shopping then and now, part 8
Intercity Shopping Centre Thunder Bay, Ontario

Unlike the shops of the past or the few independently owned local businesses that are struggling to stay alive today, the corporate stores in the Intercity shopping centre area are less places to mingle, to talk to the owner or other shoppers, and to pick up what you need, but places to go and look. You don’t need anything, but you go shopping to look and see what you can find. With so few public places left, the mall becomes our destination.

Eaton's Centre, downtown Toronto.

The mall is a destination in itself. Shopping has become entertainment. Something to do to fill time. Consumerism replaces civic engagement.

The Mall is someplace to see and be seen – it’s about looking. You go to look at “stuff” and to look at others and to be looked at, which means you have to dress up to go to The Mall [since we have only one major mall in Thunder Bay, that is what we call it: "The Mall."]

Ennen lähdetiin kauppaan ostamaan ussi talvi takki tai kesä laukku, ja jutella omistajan kans tai kukka näit kaupassa tai kadulla, mutta nyt vain lahdetään “Maalille” [Finglish]. Shoppinki [Finglish] on kerta kaikkiaan jotain tekemistä. Se on paika missä mennän kattomaan mitä näkyy. Tänään naiset lähde ostoksille aikaavietamään.

Your closet is already full of clothes, komero on täynä vaateita ja kaappi kengiä, mutta siltikiin ostoksille lähdedän vaikka ei olis mitään mielessä ostaa. You can hardly close your underwear drawer, you have low-heeled shoes and high heels and open toes and slip-ons and runners and sandals and strappy shoes and dress shoes in black, in brown, in grey and white, and yesterday you saw a really cute pair of pink shoes in the new Sears catalogue. Even though you have more than one of everything and you don’t need anything, you go shopping.

Today, you don't walk around downtown; the place you most likely head off to is either the shopping mall or a box store like Winners or Walmart.You go and look and see what you will find. Mä meen katomaan mitä mä löydän.


Merche Pallarés said...

Interesting series on shopping. I HATE malls and I hate going shopping. When I need something I go right for it and that's it. In North America, shopping is ingrained in everyone's brains and it's becoming so in Europe... Unfortunately. Hugs, M.

Ari said...

It is a big shame that all local small businesses are also at malls so the streets of towns are getting empty. Many towns in Finland look like ghost towns because of the malls.
Rents are always very high at malls that is why many small boutiques have been declared bankrupt quite soon after getting in the "shopping paradise". It is getting easier and easier for big monopols and oligopols to raise prices. Consumers will always lose in these games.

northshorewoman said...

Yes, it seems that globalization has touched everyplace no matter where. Our downtown Port Arthur has some very sad looking areas where business has moved out, but there are some places that are trying really hard to keep some urban downtown spirit alive. Also, our Bay and ALgoma Street area is quite lively with shops lining the streets, not inside malls.