Thursday, April 2, 2009

is there a term for "fear of malls"?

I think this phobia I have of malls is only getting worse, the older I get.  With the weather warming up, I recently realized that I need a new swimsuit.  I saw some online that I kind of liked, but wanted to try them on before ordering any.  So, after going on a beautiful 4-mile walk around Town Lake and then reading a book at Mozart's (a coffee shop by the lake), I bravely ventured to Barton Creek Mall, determined to get in and out before the afternoon crowds.  

I found the swimsuit and tried it on pretty quickly.  It didn't fit, so it's a good thing I hadn't ordered one.  Then, since the mall really wasn't crowded at all, I thought I'd look for a pair of sandals while I was there.  I eventually found a directory and figured out that one of the many shoe stores to choose from wasn't far away.  I just had to find a way to get downstairs, and find "N1," in the orange section.  Or maybe it was "G3," in the green section.  By the time I found the stairs I'd forgotten what section the shoe store was in, and decided that if I wandered around for a little while I'd be sure to find it, since it would take me just as long to find another directory.  Mistake.  I think I went in the exact opposite direction of where I wanted to go.  

By this time I was getting what I call "The Mall Headache."  This particular ailment is brought on by bright lights, loud music, and ten million different colognes, not to mention the stress of dodging the kiosk vendors.  These people are Vultures of American Consumerism, on a mission to convince you that you can't live without the newest grapefruit-scented lotion, electronic gadget, or robotic toy.  Thankfully, I have mastered the art of avoiding eye contact, and successfully passed by unscathed.  However, I was completely fed up with the whole mall atmosphere, and frustrated at being lost, so when I finally did find the shoe store, I was in no mood to try anything on.  I convinced myself that I didn't need any sandals, that the $2.50 Old Navy flip-flops I recently got would do just fine for now.  And it's only the beginning of April, there's plenty of time to get a new swimsuit.  

Within 20 or 30 minutes of going into the mall, I made my escape and found my car.  I drove home, reflecting on how pathetic I really am, and decided that the next time I need to go to the mall, I'd better bring someone along for moral support.


  1. Aw! I'll go with you next time I'm there. Hm, I'm trying to remember the name of the sandals that are really comfortable... I wanted to get a pair... I'll let you know when I remember. You could order them online.

  2. I totally relate to these feelings, Ruth! You had me laughing with this post. VERY interesting writing!

  3. Ruth, that is so sad... We'll get through this. By the end of summer, your fear of malls may not be quite so bad. Have you ever tried actually talking to the vendors? They ease off if you just say "No thank you, I like my plan with Verizon, I don't wear cologne/perfume" (You can lie a little) "I'm allergic to every lotion in this mall" or my personal favorite. "With the current economic status, I'm cutting back on my spending and really can't afford to buy your cheap, made in China, covered in Lead paint, toy" :-D

  4. i think i'm just allergic to malls. i went again the other day and did find a decent swim suit, after an hour and a half. then i had a splitting headache for the rest of the day.

    i'm not going back. ever.