A few days ago, I posted a sign that has gone up at a nearby mall, and asked for your thoughts.
Amazingly, I agreed with all of you, but before responding myself, I wanted to do a little research. So between DSL line problems, and life in general, I was able to find out that this is a growing trend across the country, primarily in smaller malls, and that these rules surprisingly aren't some of the strictest.
Take a look at these!
I understand the health issues involved. The "no shirt, no shoes, no service" has been around for what seems like forever. Living in a resort area, with dozens of beaches, this is a long and re-occuring problem, along with the swimsuit issue, for the businesses in this area.
You may not want to sit on a chair that has been previously occupied by someone with a "plumber's crack", but what about someone that has a string bikini bottom, on? Not such a pleasant thought either, is it? The droopy drawers actually have more coverage.
And I chuckle at the "no shoes" portion, because with the increased popularity of flip-flops, and sandals that have cardboard thin soles, that line is only as fine as that foam or piece of leather. And I've seen teens with some pretty questionably hygenic feet, propping said digits up on those same chairs in mall food courts.
And let's not rule out those toddlers that sit in those chairs with leaky diapers, or on the other end of the spectrum, seniors with bladder control problems. You think I jest, but as the population is getting older, this is a fact, and can be a problem.
So for those of us who want our properly jean clad tooshies to sit on a clean seat, there are those handy dandy individual germ killing wipes that are becoming a staple in most women's purses. We use them on shopping cart handles, door handles and toilet seats. We might as well use them on restaurant chairs and booths too.
I chuckle when I see kids walking around with super size shoes, untied or unlaced, jeans gathered around the hightops, and a belt around the vacinity of their knees. I wonder how on earth they can even walk. But that is their problem, not mine. And the extremes that kid will go through, no matter how uncomfortable it might be, to fit in. (says someone who used to stuff herself into a body shaper back when she didn't really need one).
I know that jackets, and baseball caps of certain colors designate gangs, and that caps worn at an angle can signify gang membership, or is looking for a challenge, but not only has this generation figured out ways of being "anti-establishment", since rules were set up eons ago about not wearing leather jackets with gang emblems blazing, but there are a lot more kids that aren't gang members, emulating what they think is "cool" or "bad", or whatever the current word is that means the same thing.
And this is what concerns me about these mall rules. Yes, they are all private properties, and can set up whatever rules they desire. But when you start setting up not guidelines, but rules beyond the health issues where food is concerned (malls have food courts), they are stepping off the sandbar, and will soon be in over their heads.
I recently saw a sign at a bank that asked everyone to remove their hats and sunglasses when they entered the bank, for everyone's safety. Now that, I can understand.
But to not wear hoods in the mall? I know. .there are jewelry stores in the malls. Robbers have been wearing hoods ever since they were tacked onto sweatshirts, along with masked stocking caps and panty hose smashed down over their faces. This is nothing new. So why wait until it is a fad among a lot of teens, to smack down the rule. .no hoods. And what happens when I have a bad hair day, and decide to wear my new terry hoodie when I'm going to Jo-Ann's to pick up some paint brushes. .technically, I can't go into the mall, and if I do, and they make an exception because I'm not the profile that they are focusing on, then they are discriminating. Plain and simple.
And I had to laugh when I read their wording of all skirts must be up around the waist at all times. .I can remember when conscientious parents were telling their daughters to keep their skirts Down! The mall managers might want to rethink that part. It might be taken too literally by p*ssed off teens.
Which leads me to my final point. Ironically, this local mall is nearly empty of stores. Being in Michigan, the economy has really taken a hit, combined with chains that open smaller versions of their full merchandise stores, with the larger selection, in huge multiple malls a little over an hour away, in two opposite directions, sets up a formula for failure. The only people that shop at the local mall are there when they need something in a pinch, and don't have time to drive that far. And in my neighboring town, there is still a thriving downtown of individually owned shops for those special gifts or artsy things for yourself, which diverts even more general mall traffic away.
The majority of the stores that are left open at the mall, cater to the kids that they are trying to curtail, selling the merchandise that is banned. So far, there hadn't be any trouble. They were doing this as a preventative, following other small mall's trends. (the manager probably went to some seminar). But knowing the rebellious teen hormones that are in hypermode, this is an invitation for trouble. One mall security person who is a little too power crazy is all that it will take.
The strange thing is too, like I already mentioned, it is the small malls that are posting all of these restrictions. What are the larger ones doing? Besides the standard food safety regulations, and some like not wearing shirts with racial slurs, or get this. .bullet proof vests! (never thought of THAT one!) they are posting a major, but simple one. All teens must be accompanied by a parent. Period. In what I read, since the Mall of America, and other large shopping meccas have made this rule, not only aren't they having fewer complaints about personal expression of dress, but robberies are down, shop lifting is down, and there isn't any gang activity.
So why can't the small, nearly empty mall make that one simple rule instead of all of the ones that are so easily challenged? Is this truly to establish a benign shopping atmosphere, or more of an attempt by small town conservative adults to curtail the harmless expression of identity from their youth, simply because they don't like the way that they look?
Knowing and growing up in this area, I fear that this is going to be a long, hot summer.
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