AFTER MAKING an appointment two days in advance, last week I went to the Apple store at Maine Mall to have the cracked glass screen of my iPhone repaired. I arrived on time but still had to wait about 15 minutes at “The Genius Bar” for an available genius to consult with me. During that time I saw a toddler of about two, sitting in a stroller, playing on an iPad. He seemed incredibly adept at the controls, despite his mother insisting, “I hardly ever let him use it.” After the genius—his name was Dylan—told me to return in an hour, off I went in search of one of those hideously unhealthy, fabulously decadent, extremely salty and buttery pretzels that I only eat at the mall, so it’s a good thing I rarely go there.
The mall was shockingly crowded for a weekday at noon. It was hard to believe that anyone could need most of the things offered for sale, yet all the stores were full. A free-standing kiosk shop was crammed with customers buying decorative cases for cell phones in every kind of design imaginable, and in all colors. I doubted that a new phone case would lower my blood pressure, help me lose weight or fix the mess our country is in, so I kept going.
Another popular spot was the latest entry in self-debasement, an edible cookie dough store called Dough Life. Set up like an ice cream shop, its clerks happily filled the gaping maws of dozens of willing customers with “safe” cookie dough flavors such as Monster M& Ms, S’more Please, King Caramel and Peanut Butter Mother, none of which had any nutritional value or in fact any redeeming qualities at all, besides a short-lived respite from depression and anxiety. Two young women decked out in chef’s hats and aprons strolled around out front extending trays of free samples to the passers-by, but I was saving myself for that pretzel so I demurred.
I almost got out alive but made the mistake of going into Macy’s handbag department on my way back to pick up my phone. They were having a sale, and if I opened a credit card I could save $40 on the new bag I just had to have. I’m pretty sure buying it helped lower my blood pressure on the spot, which I desperately needed after eating that super-salty pretzel.
Andrea Rouda blogs at The Daily Droid.