I have a five-year-old and a nine-year-old and they like going to the mall. I know the whole world has moved to shopping online but my family still gets in the car and drives over to the mall like it’s August of 1983. It’s a rite of passage and, to be honest, a great way to kill two hours.
Last Sunday, we decided to head over the Westfarms Mall in Farmington. I’ve always felt this was one of the finest malls in the area and features all the things I need: H&M, Urban Outfitters and an Apple Store.
(Side note: Urban sells cassettes and cassette players now. What have you done 13 Reasons Why!).
Something has happened to the mall where it is no longer the land of magic it once was. Now it is filled with employees that seem so mad they are stuck in this land that time is slowly forgetting.
Now I get that having children throw around your bath soaps is a terrible time, but I’m not sure the dude at Lush needs to be so mad. You work at Lush. Shouldn’t you be relaxed? Isn’t the whole purpose of that store to give you the soaps, sponges and oils to take all your stress away. Why are you shouting at a five-year-old?
Also you and I both know that Sbarro is “in case of emergency break glass” pizza. There is no reason you should choose to eat there. Sadly, it’s the only pizza option at the mall. It would be one thing to have the world’s most iffy pizza but to add the extra layer of “prison guard like mentality” from the servers doesn’t help. I get that I wanted the garlic bread, but it’s not like I’m doing 10-20 for assault.
I worry that the malls are going the way of the video store and I never want to see that. Here are the 4 things I believe Westfarms can do to give a better customer service experience.
1. Some kind of random, germ filled kid zone. This is the only mall I’ve been to that doesn’t have one. It seems that this decision was made to be more high end, but come on, whose fooling who. You are a mall. Kids go. Kids want to jump on things. Make it happen.
2. Have a director of fun. There should be someone at the mall that makes sure the hipsters working at urban are being hip, the lady at Bath and Body Works isn’t mad that people keep spraying the lotions everywhere, and that anyone serving food at least has a grin or half smile on their face.
3. Eliminate those weird carts in the middle aisles. It feels like I’m in that scene in Egypt in Raiders of the Lost Ark. Just tons of people trying to sell me things I don’t want. Couldn’t this space be better utilized for jugglers, stilt walkers, dudes selling sodas/juices?
4. Events. That center court should be a party. Something should always be happening there much like Disney does in front of their castle. Hire musicians, dance troupes, gymnastic pros, or even a DJ. 15 couches filled with mad old people is giving off zero buzz.
There you go Westfarms Mall in Farmington. Remember in Fast Times at Ridgemont High the mall was the most important place. Someday maybe we can get back there.