Closing time

Bob and I had our monthly dinner tonight and (following our usual practice) went walking afterward. It was chilly outside, so we did our walking inside a shopping mall. We were at Southpoint in Durham, which is an excellent place for that sort of thing. Until the armed guards ordered us to leave.
No, we weren’t in any kind of trouble. But it was after 9:00, and while we were absorbed in conversation, the mall had closed. This usually happens to us. Our postprandial walks tend to last for hours, and by 9:00 p.m. we are just getting started. But in Mall Time, that’s the end of the evening. Time to go home.
Outside of malls, nobody seems to think that 9:00 is time to call it a night. Stores like Target and Wal-Mart are open until 10:00 or 11:00. So are bookstores like Borders and Barnes & Noble. Movie theaters don’t shut down until midnight, and many restaurants stay open until 10:00 or later. And why not? People are still shopping, eating, and lining up to see movies.
Everyone but the malls seems to understand this. If people leave work at 5:00, it’s close to 6:00 when they get home, and 7:00 by the time they finish supper and get started shopping. From 7:00 to 9:00 is only two hours, which isn’t very long if you have a lot of shopping to do, or need to visit multiple stores. By staying open until 10:00 or 11:00, the Wal-Marts of the world not only make our lives easier, but also increase their business. But the malls think you should be at home in bed by then.
What’s particularly strange is the utter uniformity of it. Every mall I’ve even been to closes at 9:00 or 9:30. Is there some kind of federal law requiring this? They must know they’re driving business to Wal-Mart, but apparently they don’t care. 9:00 is the Official Mall Closing Time, so they chase the customers out and lock the doors.
And the next morning, the malls open at 10:00, when everyone is at work. You can’t go shopping during the day, but the malls are open anyhow, because those are mall hours. Why?

Comments are closed.