Areas of a 1996-Era Mall, Ranked by Skeeziness

  1. 9.
    Upscale department store wing
    Flanked by two jewelers with logos in a classic Edwardian script, the really fancy department store is radiant, anointing mere mortals as we are beamed into its glossy rows of fragrance counters and orderly pathways of ecru terrazzo tile. Racks are are polished to a chrome-like finish and leather jackets perch en masse on bleached pine hangers. Something between fresh cookie and fresh gardenia dances in and out of your olfactories. Yes, you think, even you might someday belong here.
  2. 8.
    The only source of natural light in the human hamster cage. Fountain, FOUR escalators, a glass elevator. If you're in a chi-chi zip code, maybe even an ice skating rink. Jungle-sized house plants packed together in beds clearly delineate the official Areas Where You Can Wait For Someone. Most likely to be prominently featured on the mall brochure and gets mopped eleven, maybe twelve times a day. To be avoided in winter months, when it goes by its hellish alter-ego, Santaland.
  3. 7.
    Food Court
    Promising! The place to see and be seen! The place to stare at your crush and think about how you might talk to them someday. That is, unless they come over and talk to you right now. Or right... now. Or in the next ten minutes. Or year. Or whatever.
  4. 6.
    Movie Theatre Wing
    Carpeted. Neon lights. It's got a divorced dad's date night kinda vibe to it although every few minutes you can smell something wicked under the thick popcorn-butter fog. Beware anything that looks like a whopper on the floor. It's not the whopper you are looking for.
  5. 5.
    Not great department store wing
    A great place to gather and sigh loudly, in unison.
  6. 4.
    Seems safe enough, right? Nope, watch more SVU. Perv central, round the clock. Also, none of the coin machines ever work so yes, you will be breaking that twenty.
  7. 3.
    Literally your best option here is to get your name written on a piece of rice and encapsulated in a crystal on a leather chain. SKEEZY AS HELL.
  8. 2.
    Standalone Sbarro Pizza
    Everything happening here is not okay, from tip to tail, if you get my drift. When you walk into a Sbarro pizza, the rest of your day is ruined, full stop. They should just rename it Sharrto (surely some 12 yo boy somewhere already has). What's more disturbing is what's left unsaid: how the hell do you get banished from the food court? And how many orange-soaked triangular pizza shells can a person be reasonably expected to ignore while giving digestion their best attempt?
  9. 1.
    Spencer's gifts