I’m a little uneasy about getting older, but it’s definitely not something that’s on my mind 24/7. There is one place, however, that forces me to confront the harsh passage of time more than any other, and that’s the mall. Stores I once bounded into with youthful glee now turn me into a scowling curmudgeon. Here are 10 stores that my 27-year-old self can barely handle, and why …
Abercrombie & Fitch. My first thought upon entering this store when I was 14? Hope I saved enough money to buy a t-shirt with the largest A&F logo possible! And maybe the hot dressing room attendant will want to marry me! My first thought upon entering this store now? You kids need to turn the music down! You’re going to blow out your eardrums!
Claire’s. Teeny bopper soundtrack. Neon plastic jewelry. “Buy 1 Get 5 Free!” rhinestone earring sales. This store makes me feel ancient.
Zumiez. There was a time in my life when I was able to fool myself (and maybe other people? probably not) into thinking that I skateboard in my spare time, and sometimes I would pop into Zumiez to stock up on cool skater clothes for my fake skater lifestyle. If I walk into Zumiez today, I feel less like a cool skater and more like a harried substitute teacher who has lost control of the class.
Victoria’s Secret. Between the teeny tiny mannequins and the pictures of the Angels and the fact that the largest size bras are still too small for me, my self-esteem doesn’t stand a chance here.
Hollister. Have you ever been invited to a house party that sounded kind of promising, but then when you got there it was like a really rowdy tiki-themed kegger hosted by teenagers? Me neither, but I have been to Hollister. [Hollister gives me PTSD. Seriously. — Editor]
Best Buy. The confluence of blasting music, screaming children, deafening videogame sound effects, and flashing lights have me running for the door almost immediately.
Hot Topic. This store has a huge T-shirt section based on videogames and TV shows that were popular in, like, 2002. But they’re supposed to be ironic and nostalgic relics of the past. I’m pretty sure anyone older than 20 who sets foot in Hot Topic is also considered an ironic and nostalgic relic of the past.
Forever 21. It only takes a few minutes of browsing here before I must face the reality that I am not forever 21 and I can also barely fit one arm into their size XL garments.