Wednesday, December 12, 2007

The Shopping Mall – The New Senior Center?

I’m not one to spend a lot of time at the local shopping mall. The extent of my mall visits usually take the form of stopping in one of the anchor stores (we have Dillards', Macy’s Sears, and JCPenney), and I usually enter and exit through the department store. But, on occasion, I’ll take a walk through the mall if I just feel like browsing.

After visiting the mall yesterday to do some Christmas shopping, I’ve come to the conclusion that senior citizens have overtaken the mall.

When I took a stroll past the food court, I counted 35 seniors – mostly men – sitting in the food court outside the mall coffee shop. In addition, there were at least 25 more seniors, power walking around the mall, a pair of them almost knocking me over as I walked out of a store. None of those people appeared to be shopping, as most were dressed in sweat pants and walking shoes.

My home city has a huge senior center, but considering how many of them are hanging out at the mall, many must not use it.

Our mall has very strict rules on people under the age of 18 being there without being accompanied by an adult. The implication is that unsupervised teens are rowdy, or can cause trouble when walking the mall in groups. My observation today was that the seniors in the food court were loud and disruptive, and the mall walkers seem to be under the impression that people who are there to shop are fair game to be run over.

I can understand why those under the age of 18 have their feather’s ruffled that they have restrictions placed on them, when the adults can be observed being guilty of similar behavior. I’m not saying we need to ban seniors from the mall, but maybe they should post rules for everyone there, that cover their behavior if they are using the mall for things other than shopping. For example, if they are going there to socialize, they should not be loud, they shouldn’t overtake huge sections of the food court for their gabfests, and they shouldn’t loiter. They should also use care when using the mall to exercise so as not to inconvenience shoppers.

One thing is for sure – the next time my city asks for a tax increase for the senior center, they won’t get support from me. In fact, maybe we should move the senior center to the mall? On thing I do know: in the not so distant future, I’ll be a senior citizen, and the mall is the last place I plan to hang out.

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1 comment:

Anonymous said...

Our local Simon Mall sponsors the "Mall Walkers". Monday thru Friday anywhere from 60 to 70 seniors arrive around 6:30 and they start walking, speed walking or simply strolling in the mall. It's a safe place, cool so they don't get overheated and there are two nurse practioners on hand to make sure they're ok. They also stamp the seniors card once they complete their walks. Some walk as much as 3 miles a day. Of course some of them negate the good exercise by going to Starbuck and loading up on those darn Fraps.