Identify unusual shoppers in their natural habitat
BY WILLIAM SMITH
Knight Ridder Newspapers
Malls can be scary places.
There are lots of types of people there, many of which congregate in little groups, dwell in one area and exhibit behavior that causes you to lose faith in the future of America.
But fear not. We've compiled a guide to some of the puzzling species you're likely to encounter at these monuments to consumerism:
"IF I DRESS 17, I'LL LOOK 17"
Members of this species are always observed under the age of 12 or over the age of 40. Reasons for their wearing too-tight T-shirts, micro miniskirts and stilettos to the mall are unknown, except perhaps a deep and bitter jealousy of 17-year-olds.
HOT TOPIC GOTHS
Note the red-and-black bags in each hand. They buy a formidable amount of merchandise from Hot Topic.
Apparently the best way to fight The Man is to give him your money.
"LOOK EVERYBODY, I'M WITH A GIRL! AND MY SHIRT HAS SEXUAL INNUENDO! AND IT'S FROM HOLLISTER!"
These males and their mates are rarely observed outside the mall, suggesting that their entire life cycles may be adapted to life inside. Sadly, this species never remains paired long enough to mate, for the female quickly leaves in search of another partner without a declined credit card.
THE FAMILY EXCURSION SHOPPERS
The mall is not a destination, but a journey. Books? Movies? Museums? No, thank you. When real Americans want to bond as a family, they buy things.
Usually a father and a son, they were sent by Mom to get something for Aunt Lily. The mall is not their natural habitat, and is in fact a disturbing and dangerous place, so they generally try to escape as quickly as possible.
Never actually have a bag from a store, and never buy anything, yet seem to survive entirely inside the mall. Preliminary research suggests that they may subsist off of condiment packets from the food court.
"I'M SO MUCH BETTER THAN YOU. CAN'T YOU SEE MY FAKE LOUIS VUITTON BAG?"
This species is always sighted with at least one Neiman Marcus bag, containing the cheapest item the store will actually furnish a bag for. Despite apparent extreme displeasure with the inferiors around her, this species will never veer far from the mall.
William Smith is a junior at Fort Worth Country Day School in Fort Worth, Texas.