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November 2000


Shopping By Mail or Mall?

Bunny Sez: Mail

"My name is Bunny, and I am a mail-order-aholic" My mailbox will attest to it. It sags because almost every day there is a plethora of new offerings from the postman…. Chances to purchase clothing, shoes, sporting equipment, books, videotapes, household goods and more without stepping a toe into the mall. My UPS man knows me on a first name basis!

I think my mail order fascination had to start when I was a child poring over the Wish Book - remember Sears' giant catalog of toys? It was always a challenge to try to be the kid that got to look at the catalog first. My parents settled more arguments during November over "whose turn it was with the Wishbook" than any other behavior infraction. I would make a list then remake it time and again. It was such an awesome experience to see page after page of any toy you could possibly imagine spread before your eyes. It made it so simple to send a letter to Santa; you could simply reference the page and the item number in your missive to St. Nick and be certain he understood precisely what you wanted.

I think my aversion to malls started when I worked in retail. If you ever work in retail, a lot of the joy of shopping is removed from your experience because you know the "behind the scenes" truth of what goes on and how customers really act when they don't get just what they want. The Holidays in retail really stink - time off during Christmas vacation? Forget it! You work until 6 p.m. Christmas Eve - get Christmas Day off and then have to be back for the return festival at 7 a.m. the day after.

So…my favorite thing to do on a cold rainy night is to browse through catalogs, looking at many, ordering from few. Picking up the phone to place the order is also fun but nothing, and I do mean nothing, beats the feeling of when you open your package - strewing styrofoam peanuts everywhere - and you have your "stuff". It has arrived!!

Coug Sez: Mall

Malls are better for shopping because you can see what you are buying. You see the stuff you want live and in person and not some photographer's perception of what your stuff should look like.

Granted, malls can be crowded and noisy at times but watching the people in the mall has got to be almost as interesting as the shopping experience in itself. Like the parents who have six children under the age of six trying to walk through the fine china section in a department store and hearing the inevitable splintering crash.

Malls also have the food court! Tell me whose house has a selection like this? Pretzels and popcorn and cinnamon rolls, and Chinese and Mexican cuisine to mention just a few. There is nothing better than watching the crowds walk by you in a mall while you are munching on a pretzel from a mall vendor. This is the life!

Then there is the waiting. And waiting. And waiting. Especially if you are shopping with finicky teenagers who must look in every store of the mall to find just the right item to purchase before they finally buy something. Malls should have couches rather than benches for the husbands and fathers who must sit and wait. They should also have televisions tuned into to ESPN in front of each of these couches. Just my opinion.

I like going home from the mall with my purchases and seeing what I bought right when I bought it. I don't have to wait for the mailman for my gratification.