16 Things We Miss About Our Mall Rat Days

When I was 13, I didn’t have the option of purchasing my Units separates on Ebay or getting the new Red Hot Chili Peppers cassette tape on iTunes or finding a way to live stream the latest NC-17 film on my laptop. If I wanted a lava lamp or a new glamour shot or an Orange Julius, I had to convince one of my parents (or one of my friends’ parents) to drop me off at the damn mall for the day. It was an event which required strategic planning and ingenuity. And one that I was concerned that young people today might miss out on.

Much to my delight, a new study found that despite the tech-saturated world in which we live, going to the mall is still a rite of passage for teenagers. According to the  study, 78 percent of girls and 75 percent of boys said they’d rather shop in stores than online and 61 percent of the teens surveyed said they preferred seeing movies in the theater. Well, obviously, because the movies were where the best awkward make out sessions occurred. I’ll always remember kissing my first boyfriend during “Twin Peaks: Fire Walk With Me.” From Glamour Shots to food courts, I asked the The Frisky staff to share their greatest mall memories. We’re hoping you’ll share yours in the comments.

The Food:

1. Cheap eats. For about one week’s allowance, you could get multiple rounds of free samples from Chick-Fil-A followed by an Orange Julius and be full for the day.

2. Decadent treats. We brake for Cinnabuns.

3. Candy in bulk. No one could tell you that three pounds of sour gummy worms from the bulk candy shop was “too much.”

4. Food courts.  Never has anything been so delicious as Panda Express served on a tray.

5. Fast food galore. Hoofing it to the mall specifically to eat Taco Bell was just a regular Saturday afternoon.

The Shopping:

6. Hot Topic/Spencers. Any of those “hippie shops” where you could get bongs/shitty black light posters/Nag Champa/ gag gifts was what we imagined adult heaven was like.

7. Units. American Apparel totally ripped them off.

8. Wet Seal. Home ofthe epitome of teenage “sexy” clothes until you get older and realize the stuff there is just trashy.

9. Sam Goody. Having to request a special order of the German version of “Backstreet’s Back” definitely made the album sound better.

10 Department Stores. Going to Macy’s specifically to buy a frighteningly unflattering boxy t-shirt that said TOMMY HILFIGER across the front, because like half the people in my class had one was just something that had to be done.

The Boys:

11. The scary ones. Sometimes Hot Topic needed to be avoided altogether because the guys with mohawks and studded belts freaked us out. But a few short years later, we were dating those very same dudes. Go figure.

12. The ones that worked there. Part of the appeal of special ordering CD’s at Sam Goody was the guy who took your order.

13. The ones that hung out there. Part of the day –oh, who are we kidding — most of the day was spent “following” cute boys at the mall. Oh, who are we kidding? That’s called STALKING. On a good day, we would eventually make contact with our victims in the food court and exchange phone numbers.

14. Mall dates. If your boyfriend drove, then other people were jealous of you for sure. You could make him take you to the mall and sit on the mall couches and look at the mall fountains and eat at the upscale mall restaurants and make out with him at the movie theater at the mall. Dream life.

The Glamour:

15. Ear piercing. A whole generation of women have crooked ear holes because the girl at Claire’s was “feeling a little shaky” the day you decided to get pierced.

16. Photos. Depending  on what kind of portraiture you were looking for, you could go to PhotoMagic, a photo studio in which yes, you’d take posed photos (alone or with your friends) and then get them in an hour or you could head on over for a makeover a Glamour Shots — complete with blue eyeshadow and a bedazzled jean jacket. If you didn’t have any dough to drop on feeling pretty, there were always the self-service photo booths in the arcade.