Marshall has a Mall? Oh man, Does it Ever


Katie Stromme

You can't imagine the adventures that await you...

Katie Stromme, Head Copy Editor

I’ve never been to the Mall of America. The idea of it scares me. I grew up in a town that didn’t have a multi-story shopping complex within at least a hundred-mile radius. The malls in my hometown were (and still are) poorly-lit and single-story. Apparently, it wasn’t uncommon for kids from my generation to spend an afternoon loitering there. I wouldn’t know; malls kinda creep me out. Big or small, they just aren’t my scene. They are the physical manifestation of unending American consumerism: strips of chain stores all linked in one building with more vending machines than exit doors. I know that sounds stupid—especially because I’m not anti-consumerism by any means; I am an expert at spending money—but it’s true. The advent of the mall coincided nicely with other such symbols of American economic viability as automobiles and suburban sprawl.
Also, I tend to get lost in malls. The mall rats, mall walkers, and mall cops (see? They breed their own species of people. It just ain’t right.) make me anxious. My mind really boggles to think that anyone would enjoy spending their time there. Especially if they weren’t shopping or eating—I’ll concede on that point: food courts are alright. Especially those pretzel stands. But that’s where I draw the line: get in, stuff your face, and get out.
When I had heard the rumors that, yes, indeed, there was a mall within the city limits of Marshall, I had to investigate. Convinced that I’d already experienced some of the most sad, decrepit shopping structures the country had to offer, I found my way to Market street, which is off of East College, just past that really tall radio tower thing.
I’ll not drag it out for you: my afternoon at Marshall’s mall wasn’t the best of my life. I was a little disappointed that there wasn’t a single food stand inside. But you know what, I’ll give it this: that mall has integrity. There is absolutely nothing about it that begs for patrons. The mall sits slumped in all its gloomy glory as if to say “Yeah, sure, come in, look around. Or don’t, I couldn’t really care less.” And there’s a certain dignity in that, if you ask me. No arcades, no blaring pop music, and no unsupervised toddlers running wild. It was calming: most of the people walking around were about 150 years old. Time seemed to slow down.
Other pros included no lines to the (relatively) clean restrooms, a pharmacy that sells potato chips, and on my way out, I saw a little gopher groundhog thing. Super cute!