What is the American society made out of? Through the years of human history, America is noted to be a society of people who are bold and are not afraid of change and adjustments. The people of this country embrace modernization and its principles fully that they respond to the said adjustments in a manner that they affect their daily lives. The culture of consumerism brought about by the insistent principles of globalization is one of the most common and trendiest form of attitude that the people of American have developed through the years of embracing and campaigning for the assumptive conditions of global commercialism. The development of shopping malls in America proves this particular phenomena hence imposing a particular characterization on the people and how they respond to change.
Shopping malls these days have been the heart of the sales industry, supporting every type of product and service imaginable. From clothing to electronics to automobiles and so on, almost anything can be found at the mall and this is no coincidence. Malls have been rapidly growing and the people in charge of them have deliberately organized them to provide all a person could need in one mega-sized package. The plan is to make the concept so desirable that it would attract customers from far and wide. In some cases they are not even attracted to the mall for the shopping, but merely for the romantic idea that the mall presents. This shows endless aspects of how the American culture was formed and how it continues to be. If malls are the heart of American industry, the way they are designed, the goals they seek, and the things they achieve all reflect the obsession with consumerism that America has. The American society is so helplessly engulfed in materialism and consumerism and that it surfaces in many areas of day-to-day life.
On one hand you would have the ever-prospering idea of “bigger is better” that has taken over America. As the years progress, Malls have been participating in a muscle-flexing challenge; each new mall boasting bigger numbers than the last one. This fundamental idea is rears its’ head in the shopping mall industry, but it’s a fundamental aspect of the American business world and America as a nation. However, Malls are not only meant to elude people from the outside, but also from the inside. Indeed, malls are built upon the foundation of hypnotizing patrons in order to maximize profits. They are built as mazes, designed to overwhelm the customers and keep them shopping. Some malls are designed in ways to make what you want as difficult to find as possible, that way you will pass by as many stores and endless sales advertisements as possible. This is another one of the ways that mall creators encompass the largest amount of customers. Most of us have experienced this countless times; entering a shopping mall with a specific product in mind but unknowingly leaving with more than what we were planning to get. This is how we all fall prey to this great trap set for us by the store owners, mall creators, and benefactors.
This is done for basically the same reason that most things are done in the United States; Profit. All these pitfalls, traps, & illusions set for us are not to target us as human beings, but indeed to target our wallets. It is understandable when you take into the consideration all the time, effort, and funds put into building and designing a mall. The ways that they go about doing this are very clever. They are not only after the money of those willing to buy, but of the people not willing to buy as well. The shoppers will shop, but the rest will be tricked into spending after being attracted to the mall for its atmosphere. This is how malls achieve their goal of adding as many dollars to the bucket as possible; by attracting as many people as possible. You may see people walking around at the mall, but all they see are walking dollar signs.
To some extent, these ideas were discussed in the article ‘Mall as a Prison’ by David Guterson. He first deals with the illusion that the mall presents; that exteriorly, it’s tantalizing. However, on the inside, it shares the same feeling of captivity and hopelessness that other malls instill. The value of this clarification is only brought out after an interesting exchange he has with a couple of ladies at the bar inside the mall. The exchange shows one aspect of American culture in the way that they were so romanticized by the concept of the mall and disgusted with others. The ladies were so hopelessly dependent on the mall for fulfillment and so revolted by going to a different “smaller mall” even though the author states that they feel generally the same. They are so hypnotized by the malls idea of excess, so romanticized by it, that they cannot look past the façade to see the truth. I think this clearly indicates a point; that American culture is slowly but surely drifting deeper into the era of mass-consumption that has already dawned upon it.
This phenomenon is not one that only exclusive to the mall, in fact it is a way of life supported and enthused by many aspects of American life. All you hear about these days is high credit scores and low interest rates. Low monthly payments and zero percent interest rates and the list goes on. The mall does not stand alone in pushing this materialistic agenda; it has the entire economical system on its side. The goal of the mall and of all the different parties involved is one that they have achieved very well. They have succeeded and will continue to succeed in brainwashing an entire nation. For the truth is that this concept of bigger is better did not materialize on its own. This is why all these promises of low interest rates and the like were made to influence spending, and where better to do all this spending than the mall?
In the coming years, more are expected out of these establishments. To the making of many products and to the development of different marketing campaigns, there is no stopping. It seems that this culture of buying is here to stay. True to its sense, buying in shopping malls has become a common activity for the American society. The love for material possessions has seem to have become one of the most intensifying marks of the American nation. This could not be only seen obvious in the United States but also in other nations that has already been influenced by the country through international trade. Embracing the culture of consumerism and capitalism is becoming the way of life of many Americans today. The irony behind the idea of working too hard just to be able spend the money on things not necessarily important nor functional makes a distinct indication on how the thinking of the American nation has changed through the years. Today, it could not be denied that the love for money and material things slowly change the identity of each American individual aiming to survive in a commercialized American nation.