Sir, can I ask you a question?

March 25, 2009 by admncc

There are several malls near our house.  My wife says that’s a good thing.  I’m kind of impartial about it.  But what I will tell you is this – I like going to the newly designed shopping centers that have all the mall stores, but are outdoors.  Obviously they are more fun in the summer than winter, but I still like them better than the old-school dying breed indoor malls.

The indoor malls around us are going downhill.  Most have trimmed their hours down, have lost the anchor chain stores and as you walk through; you can’t help but notice the empty store spaces.

But the one thing that really ticks me off is the poor store choices these malls choose to go with.  They could learn something from the outdoor malls of the future.  No pet stores, no cell phone and fingernail booths and no t-shirt airbrushing stores.  Need I go on?

Seriously, I can’t go to my local mall and walk through it without having someone from a cell phone booth jump in front of me and ask who my carrier is.  I even saw one of their workers purposefully push a pile of flyers off their counter, just so they could solicit the poor sap that stopped to help pick the flyers up.  This, of course, when they aren’t busy gawking at the women who walk by.  Listen cell phone boy.  I don’t need you yelling across the aisle to ask me who my carrier is.  If I have a question, need phone equipment or would like to discuss service options, I will stop by.  And did you ever notice that there are typically six different booths like this in every mall.

Now let’s talk about the fingernail groomers.  They are popping up more and more at these indoor malls.  You walk by and they say, “Sir, can I ask you a question?”  And they want you to come over, have a test cleaning done on your nails, and then they marvel at how shiny it is.  Yes, I know what happens, because my wife and her friend stopped there the last time they were at the mall.  Only in my case, they normally jump out in front of me and try to grab my hand, in an effort to make me stop.  On a side-note, my favorite local DJ once told a similar story about how he was assaulted in a similar fashion when walking by one of these booths and the guy grabbed his hand.  Anyway, I purposefully walk as far away (as close to the wall) as I can to avoid these booths, but they still yell to me and ask if they can ask me a question.  I want to be clear that it isn’t them doing a good job selling; it’s them trying to push a lousy product while badgering the mall patrons.

OK, in 100% complete seriousness, who would shop in a t-shirt airbrushing store in the mall anyway?  As Forrest Gump said, “That’s all I’m going to say about that.”

As far as the booths where you can win a free car or a new bathtub, sure I stop, but to fill out the forms in my buddy’s name.  But again – this is wasted space for non-skilled solicitors who will call you at home and badger you over and over, even when you ask them to stop.

So to new open-style shopping centers out there, you’ll always get my business.  I don’t like to shop, but even if I did, I certainly don’t like to be hassled while I’m there…

All Posts / Business / Family/Lifestyle / General Moaning Cell Phone Kiosks / Customer Service / Malls / Pushy Sales People / Retail / Shopping / Shopping Centers /


  1. NeoConDon says:

    Sorry, I can’t offer an informed opinion here. I haven’t shopped at the mall since I became a stay home dad 3 years ago. I can tell you everything you need to know about Walmart and Target though…

  2. thinkinfyou says:

    I haven’t seen a T-shirt airbrushing shop since I was a little kid! I use to love going in them,and having my name spray painted across the front of my shirt.I wasn’t aware that they still existed.I thought like all things of the 80’s,they left when the decade did.

  3. Jane says:

    I hate those fingernail vendors. Haha. I run in the other direction.

  4. dani says:

    I hate the mall with a passion..I try my best to avoid those places.

  5. Chris says:

    Oh I hate those pesky sales people that attack shoppers as they wander round stores. Especially when you walk past a series of them and they ALL say the same thing … If I say ‘no’ to 6 other intrusive sales people, what exactly makes you think I’m going to suddenly change my mind when you ask the same question? Enlighten me you nitwit. 🙂

  6. Leo Nevoli says:

    I always reply no to those people. Sometimes I also reply “You just did”, when they ask if they could ask me a question. I did tell the one girl off one time when I was walking by here. I had a diaper bag over one shoulder, shopping bags in my hands, while pushing the stroller with a screaming kid in it, telling the other kid to keep up with Daddy. She asked me the burning question to which I replied “You see me walking with a screaming baby, hands full of shopping bags trying to drag another kid behind me, and you expect me to stop what I am doing to listen to you as my baby screams at the top of her lungs because she needs fed? Do you really expect me to listen to a word you are trying to say? Are you expecting me to just quickly open my wallet buy what ever junk you are selling so I can quickly get to the food court to feed my kids? Seriously lady, you need to think about who ask those stupid questions to.” She just backed away and apologized.

  7. Jane says:

    Leo, that is an awesome response. “You just did.” I love it and will have to remember that rebuttal!

  8. Thanks for stopping by my blog 🙂 I couldn’t help but laugh when I read the name of your blog and then of course this post. I used be a mall loving teenager and early 20s. Then I discovered all these little outdoor malls/shopping complexes. 30 stores all in very close distance to one another (and in my area always near a Wal-Mart) and instead of searching for parking, walking into one entrance and then walking allll the way to the other side of the mall just to get to your one store…. now you park near the store you want and leave. There is no walking through to see which stores you want to stop at… you just drive by and park. It’s great.

    Last time I was at a mall it was in Boston and I got conned into buying this Earth Minerals stuff for my hands and nails. Gosh, I’m so gulliable!

  9. Sugar says:

    CC I couldn’t agree with you more! I haven’t had the opportunity to be harrassed by the nail salon girls, but defenitely the cell phone booths. I even pretend to be on the phone and they interrupt me. Whenever my husband and I walk by, we are thinking the same thing: Don’t make eye contact! LOL

  10. I vividly remember getting my old Chevy Nova airbrushed T-shirt at a fair many many years ago in high school. Wore the shirt long after I ditched the car.

  11. c.princess says:

    I generally try not to make any eye contact with the cell phone booth people or I pretend I didn’t hear them. I did the mistake of stopping and was in 30 minutes of hell while listening to the reasons of why I should switch cell phone carriers.

  12. Dan says:

    Princess, I’m sorry to hear that. Sucks. I get stuck like that too, but am too nice to be mean and walk away.

  13. Sugar says:

    Someone should just walk up to them and solicite their “business” information. I wonder how they would like that.

  14. Extreme John says:

    I admit I can’t stand going to the mall I just ranted about this very thing this week. The outdoor malls are the way of the future and much faster for quick in and out shopping. Great post.

  15. Otis says:

    The landscaper for sure. Behavior like that probably makes the good landscapers happy.

  16. MikeN says:

    The cell phone people are the worst and make going to the mall unbearable. It’s bad enough these days with all the stupid kids that frequent malls with absolutely no shopping agenda, but now we have to deal with cell phone morons. I’m like Sugar in that I try not to make eye contact and ignore them. But occasionally I will look at them and say “Get a real job idiot.” It’s pretty much exactly what I say to telemarketers when they call me.

  17. William Gatherer says:

    I would have to say that the mall is the most annoying place in the world. Not only do you have all those aforementioned issues, but also the teenybopper Textwalker that nearly runs into you several times and not so much as apologizing.

    In addition to that the fact that the stores are selling more and more crap. The only time I intentionally go is to walk when it is -5 degrees outside, or there is a Motorcycle show. Other than that, Steer clear, and hit the Sams/Wally/Target/Aldi’s show

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