So often, it seems that I am posting “end times” stories on this website. End times for schools in my area.. for churches.. for stores.. End times for the fabric of the once strong and proud coal region of Pennsylvania.. End times for so many things.
Believe it or not, I am mostly a positive person with some negative traits. While admiring those who can see the glass half full all of the time, I strive for that. But lately, things in this area could not be more depressed..
This past weekend, after 20 years of existence, another store in my local mall shuddered and fell by the wayside. Black Diamond antiques in the Schuylkill Mall, Frackville PA.. it was a strange little place, filled with coveted items of yesterday, trinkets that had no specific meaning but most likely meant a lot to someone who passed away within the last 100 years, and old relics like typewriters, newspapers, and He-Man toys. As a matter of fact, I was able to mostly recreate my entire stock of He-Man toys that were tossed into the garbage late 20th century. My son Ayden gets the collection now. He was upset this weekend to learn that Black Diamond’s He-Man selection will vanish.
The problem with malls is that it is not 1989 anymore. Music stores? No need.. fast food? Less interest.. Specialty shops? Amazon!
Just as malls killed main street, Walmart killed malls. Walmart is being slowly impaled on the information superhighway, along with the remaining malls that still survive to today. People have no need for brick and mortar when they can click and order. It’s just the way of the world..
Will these same Amazon shoppers miss malls? Maybe not. A friend of mine complicit in the death of retail shopping holds no guilt. He is fine with the choices he made, completely lavishes in the speed of his goods being shipped and can’t wait for the day when drones can do it.
But those jobs!? (minimum wage, of course.. but summer employment for students and year round employment for seniors… all gone.)
I have been long enamored with the fate of malls. I always sensed it would happen. I am sure you did, too. Nothing after all lasts forever.
I have fond memories of teenage years, scavenging the mall for things to do but finding little. These days, teenagers in the mall would actually be a welcome site—back in the 90s they were always kicked out. Now they doors would be left wide open for ANYONE to come in.
I don’t give my own local mall too much longer.
About a year and a half ago, I decided to call the mall management and give them some ideas. I actually penned them and typed them up, making a concise list of practical things I think they could do to replenish shoppers or even have new ideas that don’t involve shopping. One idea was to quit playing 80s music—that generation is gone and there’s no getting it back. Other ideas was an commerce center, indoor farm and market, and lots of free rent for a few months to spawn independent restaurants.
However this was before I completely read the graffiti on the bathroom stall like the holy scripture of the shopping mall: things aren’t coming back. Maybe there will be a few places.. but not many. Malls are gone. Main street USA is boarded up and not reopening. Jobs are vanquished. Drugs dominate. Towns that once celebrated sundown now fear it. The dead eyes of night stare at empty store fronts and peer into windows of dilapidated structures.
With all that said, I am positive for the future. Somehow.
But things indeed are changing.
The future will be drone delivered.
Perhaps what I will miss most? The photos of people trampling each other on Black Friday.