Wednesday, April 21, 2010
Stroll through Orland Park Mall prompts pessimism about the future
I made the mistake of going to the Woodfield Mall. I wanted to do something "different." It's not a trip that I make often, especially now that the Eisenhower/290 is under construction. But I thought, why not see something different. You know. The "grass is greener," thing. Oh the grass was greener. And lush. And fun. It's huge, it's mall stretches like a spider web that clings to your pocket book. Classy. Filled with shoppers. And not just average everyday shoppers, but shoppers who have that air and attitude of confidence. Confidence is not something you come across often these days in today's poor economy and polarized society where hate commentary dominates many of the increasingly right wing radio and news outlets. (I wish there was a "Media Woodfield Mall" I could go to in order to escape the media demagoguery.)
I say I "made a mistake" because I left the Woodfield Mall energized and confident, and a few hundred bucks short that I didn't mind spending on some clothes and gadgets for my computer and iPod. And it was with that excitement that the Woodfield Mall gave me that prompted me to make a rare trip to the Orland Park Mall, which isn't too far from where I live.
The place is depressing. It was like a bowling alley of mediocrity. Many of the clothing stores cater to the skateboard crowd and the "pants down to your butt" people who swagger around like showing their jockey shorts is something anyone wants to see.
The most exciting places were not the name-brand stores but rather the little huts in the center of the single Mall foyer, most of them sell cell phones, cheap jewelry and even cheaper shades, and pluck the wild hairs from your eyebrows with sewing string that's rolled, and pulled. Isn't that something you want to do in the privacy of your own bathroom with a tweezers. Remember tweezers? The Pagers of the "Who Cares?" Generation?
I made my way to Macy's where I thought I might find some impressive clothing and shoes. I badly need a pair of shoes. But the pickings were thin. It just didn't feel the same as it did many years ago when I would go to Fields to buy new suits for work. Who wears a suit, anyway, in these days of "anything goes?"
I felt like I was in a Middle East Souq -- not because of the people at the mall, but the flea market circus nature of the surroundings. But it wasn't a Souq because at least a Souq has mystery and powerful aromas of food an incense.
I left that place in a state of shock and I started to notice all the retail stores that are vacant in the village. And the depression just got worse.
What's going on, folks. Doesn't anyone care about quality and class any more? Orland Park was always the place to move to and shop. There isn't even a book store in the mall. There used to be two. The food court has a lot to be desired, although Orland Park has a lot of restaurants, though my judgment is still out on them. A few I haven't visited and I am not sure I ever will.
I realized I was ding what my parents did back in the 1960s. They moved in to a wonderful neighborhood that the economy turned in to mush. And soon we were always driving to far away locations to find better things. As soon as I walked out to the parking lot, I realized I'll have to wait until the weekend if I want to spend some cash and drive back up to Woodfield Mall where the grass looks even greener after my trip to the Orland Park Mall.
What's the world coming too anyway?
-- Ray Hanania