By Thomas Garcia
This past weekend I spent hours walking in circles, surrounded by strangers — all while avoiding temptation to indulge in extravagance.
That’s right. I was at the mall.
I used to like the mall, back when they had an arcade; I just dated myself with that statement.
Don’t get me wrong. The mall can be fun, in moderation; I can visit the stores and be on my way.
Having all of those retailers under one roof is very convenient and trendy. They still use “trendy,” right?
Where else could I go and get a battery for a drone, buy shoes and look at high-priced electronics? Oh, right, Wally World.
It took my friend, two teenage boys and I about an hour to make all the rounds to the stores we found interesting. So that breaks down to about 20 minutes of looking at hats, shot glasses and novelties, 20 minutes looking at games and 20 minutes gazing at electronics.
The rest of the time we sat down and waited on those oh-so-comfortable benches and chairs. Waiting for those sweat words of release, “OK, it’s time to go.”
I began to count the number of times I saw the same people make the circle. Each time I could see in their eyes they were beginning to lose hope of ever leaving.
To make things even better, there was a toy about four kiosks over that was stuck in a loop of screeching. It sounded like Godzilla’s mother was yelling at him to stop breaking Japan.
Now this all would not have bothered me as much if my phone’s Internet hadn’t suddenly decided to die. I could not escape to social media; no cute kitten videos, no fights gone wrong, no re-run romantic drama and no morally bankrupt and statistically questionable memes.
When you are sitting there long enough, you begin to feel the power of impulse spending seep into your body.
Why yes, I do need that Samurai sword, it would come in handy around the house. Why not buy that $400 gaming system?
Buy, spend, feel the joy of indulgence. That’s it. Give in to the mall, the deluxe gaming package includes a reservation of the next title and half off any three titles in the bin. It’ll all look good with that Samurai sword hanging above.
Needing to shake the commerce demons, the party and I retreated to the food court.
There the savory flavors of chicken nuggets satisfied the need to spend on an indulgence.
It’s days like that when I really miss the arcades in malls, nothing like spending hard-earned money on digital violence in an attempt to earn tickets to buy an eraser.
No wasteful spending there. “Hey, my quarter is on deck, I’ve got next.”
Thomas Garcia is a senior writer at the Quay County Sun. He can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org