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Monday, November 19, 2007
Mauled... Malled?
...So, this weekend I decided that I needed to get some shopping done. I had some yarn to buy, and I wanted to swing past Build-A-Bear in the hopes that they had a cute varsity style letter jacket. I have a stuffed chicken (a Boynton chicken, no less) on my desk - it's the company mascot - and I think he needs to be dressed like our target demographic (college students).

So after spending an hour at yarn shops and hearing the hungry cries of my youngest daughter, we headed across the county for the mall. We should have eaten something along the way because that was the biggest mistake. But we didn't know it yet.

So I make it to the so-called Westfield Shopping Cen- screw it, it's Valley Fair and it always will be. So we make it to Valley Fair and there's a bit of a delay getting into the parking lot. I figure it's just someone being stupid waiting for a parking space and I see that I am right. Sort of. One guy coming from the opposite direction is facing incoming traffic while he waits for a parking space. I write it off as general mall stupidity and figure I'll head for some of my favorite parking spaces. 10 minutes later I've barely moved a quarter mile.

I start passing aisles of parking where people are taking their time getting in their cars and getting out because they're going to be waiting for awhile to move anywhere. I start seeing traffic cops, and signs in lots of the multi-level parking structures that state "Lot Full". I drive around one structure *twice* in the hopes that the cop will remove the sign that says "2nd level full" because I've counted 15 cars coming off the top level. No such luck. And believe me, driving in that structure was the only point where I actually moved quickly.

To speed things up, I think I commented to A & B that the condition of the lots looked worse than Christmas Eve at least 5 times. I couldn't figure out why there were so many traffic cops. No valet parking (else I would have taken them up on it) because the lane to get to the valet was blocked off and none of them were in sight - that's because they too were directing traffic in other parts of the parking lots. That's when we saw it.

The line outside Macy's. I was looking and looking to figure out what it was, and all I could see was the "Biggest One Day Sale of the Year" signs. Now, I know that those sales get a lot of people there, but a line outside Macy's? That's when A piped up with "Mommy, it can't be - they all have Macy's bags already."

And she was right. 500+ people in line, and that's just a rough estimate of what I saw outside the store because the line went out one door and into another, and they all had white Macy's bags with the red star (indicating a Christmas bag). We were stuck watching those folks, while barely inching along, for about 15 minutes. To this point we have been in the parking lots for about a half hour. That's when I decide to ask the traffic cop what's going on as he walks past my car to deal with someone else being stupid.

That's when I learn what has caused my blood pressure to rise in the parking lot and remind me why I hate shopping at malls during Christmas (and tend to avoid it unless I'm feeling particularly masochistic). It had absolutely nothing to do with a sale or with Christmas shopping.

It had everything to do with Paris Hilton signing autographs at Macy's. That's right, Paris. From end to end in the parking lots I was stuck for 45 minutes because of stupid people who wanted Paris Hilton's autograph. Oh, the insanity. She's an heiress with a stuck up attitude who has landed in jail because she's stupid. She's one of the blond triumvirate (Paris, Lindsay, Britney). And people wanted her autograph.

We left the mall, the kids were disgusted and I had to feed the B. We headed for Barnes and Noble to pick up a particular stitching magazine I wanted, and then hit Arby's before we all passed out.

We headed back to the mall on Sunday (no success on the letter jacket for the chicken, but I might dress it in a cheerleading outfit instead) and it was practically deserted as compared to what we faced on Saturday. That'll teach me to not pay attention to pop culture when I want to go somewhere. And if I'd known that Paris was waiting near the end of my parking lot tour, I would have had the kids hold signs up that called all the people in line "sheeple"...

...because that clearly is what they were.