You know I’ve never minded getting older. My go-to has always been as long as I stay young in spirit and have a certain cheerful zest about life I’m OK with the aging process. Well, let me now share that ship has sailed and I’ve entered the full blown cranky person phase of my existence.
I blame the mall.
I know some of you maybe thinking, “Dear God, she’s going to rant about the mall again? Here’s a tip: Quit going.”
If only I could, my friends, if only I could. But alas, I’m the mother of a teenage daughter and going mall-free is not a viable option. Granted, I did not have to go to the mall the day after Christmas, but some grandma money was calling my daughter’s name and after spending 48 hours in what I would refer to as a forcible lockdown with her family, my 15-year-old was fixated on getting to Abercrombie.
Stay with me: Don’t go over to the Hy-Vee coupons just yet (trust me, that 2-for-1 mayo isn’t going anywhere). I promise I’m not going to linger on Abercrombie. I’m aware that I’ve beaten that horse to death, column-wise. Instead I will be discussing the mall in a larger context, starting with addressing a pressing social issue that I think is being egregiously ignored: the 14-to-24 demographic being totally bereft of having any spatial self-awareness.
These poor young people, raised on iPhones, have zero idea of how to walk or stand in any sort of group setting. In fact, I would go as far to suggest that they all might be suffering from some sort of delusional depth perception where they perceive themselves of being invisible or even ghostly apparitions where people are able to just walk through their human form. In the interest of science, I have labeled this disorder the Casper Syndrome (as in Casper the Friendly Ghost).
This generation of Caspers will come to a dead stop in the middle of a surging crowd to look at their phones, blissfully unaware that they are impeding the flow of mankind and even causing other fellow carbon life forms to stop short and wipe out by a ridiculous store for girls called Garage. (I’m sure aptly named because that’s about the only place I would let my daughter wear that collection of tramp-a-doodle-do.)
These Caspers also have the innate ability to place their bodies in the most well-traveled place in any store and basically camp out on their phones while they block the forward movement of any other bipedal mammal. Even when another person says a very polite “pardon me” or a more aggressive, “you and your phone need to move out of the way,” the Caspers are unable to grasp the dual concept that they are making people feel stabby and that they have created a human barricade.
You know the Casper Syndrome is widespread when you witness a mall cop spending his day telling teens to keep walking and explaining the fundamental concept of moving their bodies to the side of a walkway or aisle instead of parking themselves in the center.
Another thing that catapulted me into the extreme crank zone is the age-old question of not why did the chicken cross the road, but how long does a line have to be for a store to open up another cash register? I even felt compelled to assist one retail establishment with basic math.
Here’s the word problem. There are four registers and only two cashiers working. Meanwhile, there are two “managers” sashaying down a line so long customers have nicknamed it I-35 and asking people if they had “found everything they needed.” What is the best way to improve the speed of this line?
The correct answer is telling the sashayers, “Hey, how about if the two of you stop with the chit-chat and get on a register because four working checkout stations equal four times the customer service.”
I got the stink eye, but I’m proud to report that an additional register was opened. Not all the registers of course, because that would have made sense. Then, when it was FINALLY my turn to check out, I was told they couldn’t take cash! WTH? That’s spitting on the very foundation of the American economy. I’m sure it’s even considered a treasonable offense. I’m not going to sugarcoat it. I had a breakdown.
Finally, the manager confessed that the problem was they couldn’t open the cash drawers of the registers. (Hello, have your tried a nail file?) That was my cue to storm out in a very dramatic fashion until my exit was abruptly stopped/blocked by (what else?) two Casper Syndrome teens. God help us all.