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November 10, 1989 - Image 22

Resource type:
Text
Publication:
The Michigan Daily, 1989-11-10
Note:
This is a tabloid page

Disclaimer: Computer generated plain text may have errors. Read more about this.



Shopping,
Scoping
S trollung
Life

Shopping malls have replaced the
town square as the center of many
American cities. Shopping itself has
become the activity that brings people
together.
The stores here are pretty clean.
The air's fresh. There's plenty of
parking. People here are inventing
their own system of beliefs. They're
creating it, doing it, selling it. Making
it up as they go along.
-David Byrne's
True Stories, 1986
In the film True Stories, Byrne,
avante-garde artist/composer and
lead singer for the rock group Talking
Heads, paces through an imaginary
town in Texas and nervously decries
the state of American civilization.
Underneath his indictment of a televi-
sion-watching, fast food-eating, mall-
going society is the suspicion that
shopping malls represent a purposeful
amnesia of culture, tradition, heritage
- all the things that used to make up
America.
But if the person that Time maga-
zine once labeled "Rock's Renais-
sance Man" is right, if shopping malls
have indeed become the center of our
cities, then maybe it's time to make
the trip down State Street-by car,by
commuter bus, or, for the strong, by
foot- to our local mall, Briarwood, a
fixture on the Tree Town landscape
for 16 years.
Visit Briarwood on virtually any
day, especially weekends, and wit-
ness a tremendous, bustling cross-
section of the population. And don't
think for a minute that shoppers are all
there to actually make a purchase.
There's hardly anybody left today
who believes shopping is a purely
practical endeavor, anyone who
thinks "I need a pair of socks. I'll go to
the store, buy a pair, and be back be-
fore halftime's over."
Nobody believes you need a rea-
son to shop. "Shopping"is an all-
encompassing term for an
entire process: finding
someone to go with
you, deciding what
to wear, locating
a place to
p a r k ,
look-

ing at magazines, trying on shoes, get-
ting something to eat, meeting some
friends, maybe even catching the lat-
est movie.
"Shopping is my life," proclaimed
Sara Bulloch, 15, of Tillsenberg,
Canada between bites of her M&M
cookie, purchased at a mall cookie
outlet.
We try to be "community ori-
ented." We supply free strollers, and
we sponsor events like Halloween
celebrations to bring the kids out. But
remember, every event is tenant-
driven.
--Karen Fox, Marketing
' Director, Briarwood Mall
To what extent does the shopping
mall function within the community'?
All the way down to the bottom line,
profits. A recent Halloween event,
which included tots "trick-or-treat-
ing" from shop to shop, a costume
party, potato-chip giveaways and a
magic show, all clearly served one
purpose: get people into the mall so
they can spend money.
Of course, a mall can only exist if
its tenants can pay their rents. But
capitalism, corporate interests and
profit-motives mean nothing to the
screaming kids who clutch their par-
ents in fear and delight when the
magician produces a surprise out of
his hat. If it all brings families to-
gether, then maybe it's not all
that bad. Certainly not the end
of civilization. Or is it?
Witness the following
testimonial of 16-
year-old Jim
Doolittle:
"I ' v e
been
here -- a

.,-.".
vi/ Jr .«
, a~k , , L2 , ._. _, ... .. ,

at

the

Local
Mall

since 12:00. It's ten to five? That
means I've been here for nearly five
hours... No, I'm not bored. I'm look-
ing for Madonna singles.
"Everybody likes to shop at
malls, you know? It's okay. If
this is where you want to
_'take me, I'll go."

7 f 7
out, smoke cigarettes, and sit in the
Burger King lounge."
-Steve Moore, 17, and
Amourell Canfield, 16
Those were the days, local high
school students will tell you.
"We're here because there's no
place else to go... we used to come to
the mall a lot more," said Moore and
Canfield.
Back in the more rambunctious
days, they explained, say two or three
years ago, the mall was the place to be.
The big drawing card in those days

Story by
Alex Gordon and
Mark Swartz
Photos by
Jonathan Liss

Page 8

Weekend/November 10, 1989

Weekend/November 10, 1989

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