>>> The Rollercoaster of Drama
By staff writer Simonne Cullen
December 11, 2005

Deck the malls with crowds of folly

Fa la la la la la la la la
Tis the season to be shopping
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Long lines filled with crying babies
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Fitting rooms packed with overweight ladies
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So much fun. I'd like a gun.
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So did everyone decide that the mall is the coolest place to be on Monday afternoon and I didn't get the message? It's Monday afternoon! A time when I believed that the only people at the mall could be stay-at-home moms taking their pre-schoolers to see Santa, and senior citizens mall walking. But three weeks before Christmas on a Monday afternoon (luckily as an intern I get to run there all the time) I had to park on the rooftop of a ten-story parking garage. The roof! Thank god this parking lot wasn't spread out over a huge chunk of land. I hate going to a mall where you have to park in a completely different area code and hail a cab to bring you to back to the mall entrance.

“No, I would not enjoy having my hair straightened by a one-of-a-kind amazing hair straightener made with titanium used on the space shuttle.”

Inside the mall, if the ladies aren't buying a plethora of gifts, then they're trying on clothes. And if it's not the overweight ladies hanging out in the fitting room, it’s high school girls. LIKE, OMIGOD! I hate them. I hate every single one of them. We get it: you're tan with manicured nails and hair extensions, fuzzy boots with jeans tucked in, and plenty of your parent’s money. You're SOOO cool! So cool that you organized a fashion show of prom dresses in the fitting room of Macy's during the most hectic time of the day. It wouldn't be so bad if they would just have three in the fitting room at a time, but NOOO! Then they wouldn't be able to throw dresses over the fitting room walls and all plan to exit at the exact same time so they can all scream with glee in unison at their sequin and feather clad polyester ball gown that they have no intention of wearing.

The crowd of high schoolers is the biggest drawback of winter break. Their new home is the mall. What sucks even more is that you can't even tell how old anyone is anymore. I was standing in a really long line at J. Crew last Thursday and started chatting with the guy behind me. He was attractive, funny, had that hot dimple cheek thing going on. I'm thinking he's going to ask for my number when he says, “My school is just across the street. Where do YOU go to school?” Wait, across the street? As in Niles North HIGH SCHOOL?!! That's when some obscure suburb of Indiana fell out of my mouth and then I claimed that I forgot socks. “HAHAHAHAHA! Can you believe I forgot socks! I'm going to go get some. No! No! Don't hold my place in line! Nice talking to you.” Then I dropped a pile of unpaid presents in the corner of the store and made a run to my car. Now every time I go to the mall I have blinders on, like one of those Central Park horses pulling a carriage. I can only see people right in front of me because no way am I going to be entangled in a potential statutory flirtation ever again.

Why don't you ever see anyone cool at the mall? Why do you always run into people from your high school whose names you can't remember and didn't really like back then, andcertainly don't like now. But they see you, and know you, and waste precious minutes of your life playing a game of catch up, because you really don't care how Kelly McBitchFace’s life has turned out thus far. I'll admit though, it is nice to see people who didn't treat you very well in high school working the meet and greet area at Old Navy, attempting to look dignified in their massive walkie talkie microphone system. It’s really those kind of random gifts that keep on giving.

I really shouldn't be saying anything about Old Navy headsets though. I worked there in high school and had to wear it once too. And working at the mall during Christmas time sucked buffalo butt. But be grateful for the places that make you wear their store’s clothes. Because my old roommate Olia loved the color pink. She loved pink so much that chances are if you wanted to make a pink item purchase, chances were, she probably already owned it. The other day I saw a girl who worked at Woodfield Mall whose love of pink blew me away. I first noticed her stepping out of a pink car, in the parking lot and immediately forgot all about her. Until I saw her again at the cash register, she had (I kid you not) pink hair, pink sunglasses, shirt, skirt and boots all pink, and a pink matching purse. It looked the Pepto-Bismol mascot was trying to sell shoppers hair clips and belly button rings.

If you know my history, you know how I feel about waiting in line. I don't like it. I begin to think evil thoughts, and/or classify men into clothing categories (the newest one being J. Crew guy—mature for his age, but still considered illegal by the reigning government). Have you ever been in line and a kid is staring directly at you while being held by his parent? And suddenly you go from the Grinch to Santa's Elf. Playing peek-a-boo. Making funny faces. Anything to make the kid laugh,
bonus points if the kid gets so giggly he spits up. But this can go wrong very quickly. Especially if braver kids come up and ask you to entertain then. That's when you realize you're a one woman show whose only saving grace is screaming, “Isn't that Santa over there by the China and Waterford Crystal?!” and letting someone else deal with them.

Don't you love those little carts hanging out in the center of aisle of the mall? Dude, working on commission sucks. I'll be the first to admit I feel nothing but pity for you guys, but on the other hand you're f-ing pissing me off. No, I would not like to sample your herbal lotion. No, I would not like to physically examine your purse with the retractable shoulder strap. Sorry sir, I don't believe that I am your target audience on that remote control car that can drive upside down AND right side up. Perhaps you should be consulting 5-year-olds. And finally, no, I would not enjoy having my hair straightened by a one-of-a-kind amazing hair straightener made with titanium used on the space shuttle. I stick to purchasing items from companies who can afford to pay rent in actual stores in the mall, not from gypsies with moveable carts who have “All purchases final, NO REFUNDS” signs plastered all over the place.

I have to admit though, if you have some time to kill and find a nice comfy bench to sit on, then you may want to check out the cart that sells clip-on hair extensions. I don't know who invented these clips (perhaps it was Cher's understudy), but the ladies just flock to these clip-on pony tails! The only woman who can pull that fake hair look off is Eva Longoria, and that's because they are professionally installed into her head, not purchased off the Extension Gypsy cart. Older mom's love trying out the hair though, and they stop every other person that walks by to get their opinion on whether it looks real or not. Ever feel like saying, “Lady, you've got on a hair extension that looks like a horse's tail from Britney Spears placed on the head of Alanis Morrisette. So I'm going to have to go ahead and say no, the color doesn't match so much.”

The most annoying of these cart stands are the phone freaks. Sure they may dress in suits, but don't let them fool you. On the inside lies the devil. The devil who calls out to you with over-enthusiasm. “Excuse me miss! Would you like a free cell phone?!” Normally I can just ignore these demon spawns of Satan just as easily as I ignore the enchanting smell from Cinnabon, but when shopping with my grandmother she cannot run to these salesmen fast enough. Now I love my grandma, but she doesn't even know what a cell phone is. She just wants to get something for free. It doesn't matter what it is—a beeper, a make-up bag, a cannonball, karate lessons, tickets to a Death Cab for Cutie concert—as long as it's free she wants it and will sign up for anything to get it. So these spawns of Satan have a contract drawn up by the time I get back from Cinnabon (I'm telling you, them and the cell phone industry are in cahoots) and she’s ready to sign. With the speed of a cheetah I slap it out of her hand, scream “Shame on you!” to the guys behind the counter and usher her away. I don't know what was weirder: that my grandma didn't even question the incident, or that I received a round of applause from passersby.

Don’t dads and husbands look so put out while shopping? They're not even in the store, they're sitting on benches or parking their asses on the massaging chairs at The Sharper Image for three hours at a time. You'd think someone at the mall would get smart and put in a Men's Only Bar. No kids, no wives, no teenagers to bug them. Just men and a bunch of wide screen televisions playing the game. It's really a win-win situation. The men get to watch the game and meet new friends in the same predicament, and the women leave them there happily with their VISA cards in tow. As long as no one gets too out of control and takes a leak on Santa, it'd be a great long term business investment. True, some mall restaurants have bars, but they're the same ones who have waitresses who wear flair, and not one of them looks like Jennifer Aniston.

What the fuck is with these Abercombie employees? We get it! You're a size zero. You get 70% off clothes that have Abercombie scrawled all over it. You get to wear flip-flops and leg warmers to work. I get it. My mom gets it. Everyone gets it. The store only hires attractive looking people. You don't get asked if you need help unless you're a size ten, in which case they ask you if you're lost. The clothes are ridiculously expensive and have moose all over them. And until I'm a hundred percent sure that the tall, dark, muscular, handsome meet and greeter is a high schooler, I'll be there every Saturday and Monday afternoon until the New Year.

Deck the malls with boughs of money
Fa la la la la la la la la
Tis the season to be shopping
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High school boys looking hot
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Avoid the malls at all costs
Fa la la la la la la la fuck.