Sunday, July 27, 2008

My "inner child" grew up on me

If you are ever unsure of your place in the world of demographics and marketing, simply take a stroll at your local shopping mall. These large enclosures, with their even larger "hub" department stores stand as a beacon to consumerism, illuminated by sunlight and greed. Ok, maybe I am being a tad too harsh. I mean come on, every once in awhile you HAVE to accept the fact that purchasing anything material can and does lift your spirits. What woman can deny the affect that a new pair of shoes can have? Even my most "natural" and "granola" of friends love a new pair of comfortable shoes or a good bag even if that bag is made from hemp and meant to carry rutabagas.

Personally, with the exception of the holiday season, I very seldom patron the mall. As a teenager, I was never "dropped off" to hang out with my friends at this larger- than-life hormone mecca. Maybe it's because my mother was not a BIG shopper, and if anything, had to drag me and my siblings through the now defunct Monkey Wards (that's Montgomery Wards to you.)

Yesterday, me and my family found ourselves caught up in its world of neon, food and apparel. My son immediately darted over to the "Great American Cookie", a franchise that sells,......well they sell cookies. His eyes seemed to glaze over as he picked out each treat that he planned on devouring in seconds. Luckily, malls are designed to keep you distracted so it was easy to move him away from those sprinkled snacks.

The magic of marketing had begun to cast a spell on all of us, as we ventured into a store called Hollister. Those of you over the age of 30, with teenage nieces, nephews, and offspring, have no doubt bought a few gift cards to this establishment. Maybe, you have even done a "pop wheelie" trying to get your stroller onto its steps for a peek inside its dimly lit interior. From the moment you walk in, the place smells, looks and feels like raw youth. Remember the old footage of funhouses from the 1920s, where one false step would send a whiff of air up a woman's skirt? At this apparel store, that whiff of air is their signature cologne, which also smells hip and young. And the lighting concept I mentioned earlier? Well, it is meant to draw your attention to the dark denim cropped jeans, and tight t-shirts which hug every curve of the size 0 mannequins. I felt 10 years younger from the moment I set foot in there. Even my 4 year old was captivated by flat screen televisions, fashioned to look like you are staring out through a window at the ocean. And there are speakers tucked into unassuming spaces blaring what sounds like a Green Day tribute/cover band. Which came in handy, as it drowned out my daughters impatience. Of course, I purchased those cuffed jeans, AND the t-shirt feeling like electric sex was rockin' through my veins.

Honestly, it just felt good to connect with my inner child (which I think is around 20 years old) that has been clawing at my mommy jeans to get out. Except this time, I am legal to drive AND "score" my own beer!