Revisit the weird retail vibe of 1990s malls in this huge photo gallery

Originally published at: Revisit the weird retail vibe of 1990s malls in this huge photo gallery | Boing Boing

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Dan Bell has entered the chat

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Somehow that ambiance video is giving me nightmares.

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One of the oldest and largest malls in my area was razed a few years back, after spending its dying years as a “Shopping Town” :nauseated_face:

It’s like the owners realized the word “mall” had taken on a negative connotation, and brainstormed some term that was even worse.

Good riddance.

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GIF by Leroy Patterson

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Malls were the 1980s for me. I started going there to spend my paper route money in the early 80s, and by the end of the decade, I was working in the Waldenbooks there. The early 90s were my “no logo,” Adbusters period, so no more malls for me.

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I’ve always found shopping malls to be deeply uncanny. They feel like mazes, even when the layouts are pretty straightforward and linear - they still give the impression they were designed to confuse, with access to natural lighting minimized, lots of mirrors and strange angles, and rooms inside rooms. Plus, they’re completely artificial and weirdly unreal, an attempt to recreate the urban shopping experience in distilled and highly controlled form, but with added piped-in music and smells. I’ve always felt unsettled every time I’m in one. They seem like the natural setting for horror movies (which is one of the few points in their favor as far as I’m concerned).

Are you sure it isn’t the malls themselves? Because they definitely give me the willies. (Also the '80s do.)

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In addition, if you fast forward/watch until the end they include the death of the mall (shuttered dollar stores, etc.)

Stuff like this almost makes me wish I had spawn to roll their eyes as me while I try and convince them that malls were cool and people smoked indoors everywhere (in my state, at least). I try and be realistic assuming they would not be impressed, and would feel validated just being able to bust out my stacks of photos and Sabarro ashtray as evidence.

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“Where young people go to retire.” :heart_eyes:

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I’m not convinced - and I was there. I feel like whatever appeal malls had, there was still something deeply uncool about them at their core.

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The Memphis Group has a lot to answer for.

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“We’ll make some fun couches! What’s the worst that can happen?”

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