It ought to be a word:

“Mall-feasance” [mawl-fee-zuh-ns]: the misbehavior by a patron of a shopping mall who commits a public act that is specious and unjustified, manipulative or contrary to common sense; wrongdoing (used especially as a ruse while waiting on line in a department store [and inviting friends and family members with merchandise on their person to get ahead of you in line] and in violation of the trust of the cashiers and the rest of us shoppers waiting in line behind you.

In general, I will do anything to avoid a trip to the mall. Usually, Christmas is the only time you’ll find me there (and only out of desperation). Why?

Too many people. Too much stuff. Too many fumes of chemically sweetened potpourri wafting through the open doors of tchotchke shops. Too hard to park. Too many  bad drivers. Lines, lines and more lines. In short, utter chaos.

But, sometimes, you have no choice but to make the trip. For instance, when you need a new can opener. Last week, after slicing the knuckle of my thumb with our lousy, malfunctioning Kitchen Aid can opener that I bought for half price at Marshall’s, I promised myself that my next can opener purchase would be top of the line.

And I found it at Sur Le Table. If my father (may he R.I.P.) were alive, he would say: Sue, this is the Cadillac of can openers. The OXO GOOD GRIPS Smooth Edge Can Opener. Bloody fingers be gone!

I should have known better than to push my luck. Buoyed by the ease and professionalism of my can opener purchase, I headed to JCP to buy underwear. Okay, it’s a certain brand I like and I figured, I’m here so I may as well…

Big mistake. Have you ever wondered: How can the simple task of buying underwear be fraught with such headache???

As I waited on line, I tried hard not to pay attention to the woman at the front of the line who was letting two other women — obviously relatives, with bundles of clothing in their arms — ahead of her. I whipped out my iPhone, trying to quell my irritation by reading the new book I’d just started. But it was hard to concentrate.

There were 4 cashiers; and only one line of customers. However, two of the cashiers were testing out new-fangled, hand-held devices to digitally process credit/debit card paying customers (or, if you will, credit/debit card paying guests, that dopey euphemism favored nowadays).

One of them called out: “Next guest using a credit or debit card, please step over here.”

That was me. Except when I presented myself to this cashier, her device, no matter how hard she pressed the button, would not perform. The very next moment, the cashier to her right was free and called out, “Next guest, please.”

I told my cashier that I would move to the free cashier since her high tech experiment had failed (not in those words, exactly. I was polite.)

Well. Next thing I know, the woman at the front of the line shouts at me, “I was the next customer!” Her posse (those individuals she’d previous invited in line ahead of her — and the rest of us) nodded and nattered, urging her on.

I turned around and faced her. Her hands were on her hips. A nasty expression spread across her nasty face.

“What can you do?” I said, coldly. “That’s life!” During life’s more trying moment, my natural inclination is to philosophize.

Then, the three of them, like the witches in Macbeth, started muttering and sputtering in my direction: “It was her turn. Yes it was! Not yours! You’re the one that cut ahead!” Blah blah blah.


“…have we eaten on the insane root
that takes the reason prisoner?”

I threw my arms in the air, spread my fingers and tossed my head back. I gazed up at the ceiling, as if asking for divine intervention.

raised handsWhy me, Lord?

I believe they thought I was crazy. So what. If my mother were alive (may she R.I.P), she would be proud. It’s her brand of drama that runs through my veins.

The cashier formerly assigned to me (the one with the busted scanning device) looked to me for an answer, as a teacher would to a recalcitrant student.

I reminded her: “Your device didn’t work. Which was why I moved to the other cashier.  was already at the register. was the next customer.”

Wasn’t it obvious??

Suddenly, more women down the line of customers started joining in, whispering loud enough so I would hear: It wasn’t her turn! It wasn’t her turn! It would have been comical it if weren’t so pathetic.

I suppose that’s what happens if you overdose on potpourri fumes. You get brain damage. They should do a study.

It goes without saying, I’ll be changing my brand of underwear.

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One Response to “Mall-feasance”

  1. Javaman Says:

    Oh Sis, you certainly channeled Flo! Much like yourself, I rarely if ever venture out into the consumer zombie apocalypse.

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