Saturday, May 2, 2009

You ain't got to go home, but . . .

I believe in complaint letters. In fact, I just wrote one about the horrible service we just received at a restaurant. The first time I wrote one was to the local newspaper after a night of hanging out with friends and being harrassed by mall cops. I think I'm going to have to write another one soon--also about mall cops.

Hubby and I were shopping at the mall today with the children and noticed that there seemed to be mall cops everywhere. Initally, I thought that they were looking for a particular teenager because they seemed to be stopping the same type of people and directing them to leave the mall. Then I saw that they were also stopping girls. It was like watching hunters seeking out prey. They were relentless, like flies on poop.

Finally, we discovered that there is a new program in place that requires anyone under 18 to be accompanied by an adult after 4pm. My husband thinks this is a fabulous idea, but I uncomfortable with it. As I looked at the boys being escorted out of the mall or pulling out IDs, I imagined my son. It was hard, but I tried to see him even in the ones dressed inappropriately (by my standards) or who seemed less than cooperative. I thought of my daughter when I saw the obvious time put into outfits meant to impress some smooth talking boy. There were officers everywhere, at every entrance, talking on radios about how many kids were coming to the door now. There were making notes in little notebooks and almost chasing the teenagers out of the doors. They seemed to be treating them as if they had done something wrong just by being there. And it was 4 o'clock! Where are these children supposed to go? What else will they find to do and where will they do it?

Remember the "The Cosby Show" when Vanessa hears through the rumor mill that her boyfriend has broken up with her? She finally calls him and he tells her that what he actually said was that he hopes they never break up. "Let's meet at the mall!" She says. Now where would Vanessa go to meet her boyfriend without a safe, public space full of adults where they could walk around innocently holding hands?

Hubby attributes this decision to the recession and the need to fill the mall with shoppers who might appreciate being free of pesky teenagers. I guess it's supposed to make people spend more money. But if I were 16 or 17 years old and wanted to get a bite to eat with friends or buy a cute outfit at Forever 21, I'd be annoyed that I couldn't simply because it was 6 o'clock on a Saturday.

1 comment:

ck said...

And seriously, don't cops have better things to do? Even mall cops must have more on their plate than pushing around teenagers. Teenagers who are technically the target group for just about ever store in the mall. You'd think they'd be retailers last hope in the recession...