Fun times at the shopping mall

Garrison Ebie

I was walking across a long paved surface littered with automobiles in every available crevice before coming upon heavily decorated glass doors. It was then that I entered a dimly lit cave of linen, leather and jewelry.

There were sales. Incredible discounts were impossible to miss through the plethora of signs indicating 30, 40 and 50 percent off any conceivable article of clothing in any particular design. Dodging my way through the thick sea of humanity, which was eager to liquidate all remaining treasures from the shelves, I inched my way forward through a maze of clothing racks, inhaling a new fragrance of perfume with each step forward.

Upon further exploration, I began to see an exit – the light at the end of the tunnel. Again, I was forced to zigzag between fellow explorers of this strange and unusual cave until I came to the other end.

And there I was, at the forefront of an overwhelming sanctuary of commerce and holiday cheer. After commuting my way through Macy’s, I finally reached the heart of this otherworldly fantasy. I made it to the mall.

One of my favorite things to do on Black Friday is go to the mall. Not to buy anything, though, because that would require money, and my wallet right now does not exactly reek of any pay stubs. I find a particularly unique way to stick it to the man is to simply take up valuable retail space that could normally be filled by another pesky shopper who will actually purchase things. Oddly enough, this is how I chose to spend my afternoon after eating a big greasy pile of Thanksgiving leftovers.

This escapade led me to the one and only Westgate Shopping Center in North Canton, better known by those of us who spent any significant part our lives in the region as just Belden Village Mall. It’s not the best mall I’ve ever encountered. In fact, it’s somewhat tiny in comparison to a couple complexes I’ve seen in larger cities that could engulf downtown Kent with one big chomp.

Yet, from the looks of things, the holiday decorations are the same ones I was looking at in 2003, and the only thing about the place that has remotely changed is the placement of the scattered franchise outlets. It’s not a big place. But at any rate, there were a few essential destinations I had to check out. The first being, of course, the food court.

Having no money or willingness to spend any, one may ask why I’d enter this tempting locale. The answer is simple – free samples. Even on the busiest day of the year, Sakyo Japan still does not fail to place an employee out into the madness for no other reason than to distribute miniscule samples of teriyaki chicken on a toothpick.

But I didn’t just come here to eat, and there’s only so much of this place I can handle before it completely loses its appeal again. The next stop is the Disney Store.

One of my favorite pastimes at the mall is playing the Disney game. For those who have never heard of it, all you have to do is enter the store, walk all the way to the back and touch one of the stuffed animals, then come back to the front and leave. There is a catch though; you must avoid verbal contact with the Disney Store’s overly helpful sales associates. This is much harder than it sounds, and just after passing the Tinkerbell backpacks, one of the workers with a bright and cheery smile asked me the inevitable question.

“Can I help you find anything?”

Blast! I failed the mission, but this by no means will indicate the end of my fun. If I can remember correctly, the bouncy balls are in a vending machine just down the pedestrian road, and hopefully still cost a quarter.

Here perhaps, you may argue that I’m breaking my pact of not buying anything. But come on, we’re talking about bouncy balls here. They’re totally worth breaking the rules over. The best part is the uncertainty of what kind you’ll get. Today, it was a clear one with stars.

As all adventures must, this one had to come to an end. Once I bounced the ball on the floor to see if it would reach the ceiling, I figured leaving may be in order before attracting any more negative attention to myself in the name of boredom. While this was quite an unproductive way to spend a Friday afternoon, I still feel relatively certain that I was having more fun than anyone else there.

Garrison Ebie is a senior electronic media production major and a columnist for the Daily Kent Stater. Contact him at [email protected].