Malls, where's the hype, the sales?

Lisa Chmiola

A few weekends ago, I boldly went where no Chmiola had gone before - the grand opening of First Colony Mall in Sugar Land.

I was pretty excited. I saw it on TV a few nights before, and it looked interesting. Finally, somewhere to shop that was not almost 30 minutes away from home!

Well, I was in for a surprise that Sunday morning.

First of all, the day before, a mall employee answering the phone told me the mall opened at 10 a.m. When we got there, a security guard told us the mall was open, but the stores would not open until noon.

So we went in to look around. It seemed pretty cool. I quickly found all my favorite stores - the Gap, Express, Spencer gifts. However, it seemed a little small for all the big hype. On top of that, I didn't see a single music store. Whoever heard of a mall without a music store?

The real nightmare didn't begin until we returned at noon (sans dad) to shop. Things went pretty good at Foley's: We spent an hour wandering around the store entering contests. Needless to say, this was an effective marketing device as we learned where all the departments were located.

Then we went into the mall - big mistake. There were so many people, at times we thought we were waiting in line for a ride at Astroworld.

About every 20 feet, large crowds blocked the entire corridor. I thought, "Could there be a celebrity here signing autographs?" Not even close. In the middle of one group was a clown; another group was watching a magician. Either way, the spectators wouldn't let anyone through the hallway!

And the people were rude. After the 50th time, I stopped counting how many times I was elbowed. And let's not forget my crushed feet. I almost lost it when something whizzed by my head.

After all this frustration (and only buying one shirt), we took refuge in the food court. However, that was also impossible. Besides the lack of seating (as usual), none of us felt like waiting in line for 30 minutes just to get a smoothie.

At that point, we had been at the mall for three hours. We had enough. I was so tired; I didn't stop in some of my favorite shops as we passed them. I wasn't in the mood for shopping anymore.

I usually enjoy shopping. I even used to work in retail, so I know how rude and disrespectful people can be while they are shopping. However, I've never seen people so crazed at a grand-opening sale.

But wait - did any of the stores have sales? Oh yeah - maybe one or two. I guess the stores think we are so shopping deprived, we will pay any price they set.

My advice to value-minded college students like myself: avoid mall grand openings. They're too crowded, too expensive and not worth the effort.

Chmiola is a sophomore

journalism major who likes shopping off-price retail.

Last Modified: 8-17-96    © 1996 The Daily Cougar

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