Electricity filled the air; perhaps ecstasy better describes the scene. The excitement hit a fevered pitch reminiscent of religious revivals or populist rallies. And for an "America in the '90s" event, the opening of a shopping mall may carry the same communal potency of the above- mentioned experiences. Shared consumption has become a primary bonding experience for many Americans.
It's a Mall World After All
The mall that opened August 11 in Bloomington, Minnesota, is not just any mall. It is the Mall of America, the mega-mall, the largest indoor shopping facility in these United States and second worldwide only to West Edmonton Mall in Edmonton, Alberta. On any given day, mall officials expect more mall shoppers than the city of Bloomington has people (86,000+). The hope of developers and merchants is that 12 million more people will visit this shopping center than will visit Disneyland each year.
If opening day is any indication, their dream may come true. WCCO, the local CBS affiliate, in a non-scientific poll found people from 23 states on the mall's first day.
The mall will have no problems serving all the folks. Five ice cream parlors, three cookie shops, and five candy stores await visitors. The U.S. Postal Service has an outlet there, as does the Bloomington Police Department. Warner Bros. has a merchandising store, as does Walt Disney. Seven music stores and five sporting goods stores should fill the cravings of most shoppers.
Americans find excess in all things reassuring, it seems. Massive government buildings and city halls used to give citizens a greater sense of security. Citizens, now known as consumers, prefer enormity in their shopping centers these days.