The death of the(m)all

The+death+of+the%28m%29all

Brynn Blizzard, Assistant Opinon Editor

In America, there are a great amount of once animated retail malls that are slowly dying out. These abandoned malls can be found all across the country, but they are especially prevalent in the middle-class suburbs. For example, White Flint Mall was a mall located along Rockville Pike that closed its doors for good in early 2015. Most WJ students can remember the formerly popular mall from a couple of years ago. It is unbelievable that White Flint Mall is being abolished so the land can be used for “more practical” buildings. Recently, a video of a drone flying over White Flint has been released on YouTube. It shows the drastic changes of White Flint over the course of construction the past few years.

Malls have been shutting down so often that there is now an active website dedicated to the history of retail. The website, deadmalls.com, features over 300 stories of malls that were once alive and booming, but are currently bare and lifeless. These stories include a detailed description of what each mall was like when it was popular and then elaborates on exactly how the mall died. The website supports malls and is fighting to save their relevancy.

According to Rick Caruso, the C.E.O. of Caruso Affiliated, one of the largest American real-estate companies,“within ten to fifteen years, the typical U.S. mall, unless it is completely reinvented, will be a historical anachronism—a sixty-year aberration that no longer meets the public’s needs, the retailers’ needs, or the community’s needs.” 

Shopping malls can also thank their lack of popularity to the convenience of online shopping. Online shopping has allowed people to buy anything and everything without leaving the comfort of their home. Virtual shopping provides the benefit of privacy, more variety of items, and often better prices. Some people chose to online shop to avoid encounters with people they might know when going to the mall. It has become a real lifesaver for people with social anxiety.

With the downward trend of malls, outdoor shopping centers have become exceedingly favored. Areas such as Pike & Rose, Downtown Bethesda, or the newly built Downtown Crown in Gaithersburg have proved themselves to be a more pleasurable experience than the beloved White Flint Mall, or even Montgomery Mall.

Malls have been a favored hangout spot among teenagers for many generations. Malls were close to home and teens could easily get rides back and forth; but recently, teenagers are seemingly ditching the shops and discovering new places to meet up with their friends. Social media is becoming the “mall” for many teenagers, and even adults these days. You get to keep up with friends and family on a day to day basis from your couch and still never miss any of their life events. People don’t like to hang out with friends and actually talk face to face and instead choose to like their friends most recent picture on Instagram or text them a fun emoji.  

 

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