Tuesday, December 19, 2006

The Mall is a Highway

Thankfully I can say I am done Christmas shopping. Or maybe I shouldn't say it because then I will remember “just one more thing” I have to get. I have done all my shopping this year with Miss A in tow. Since I work on Saturdays we really don't have the opportunity to shop as a family. I don't think Peter is too upset about it. He has been gleefully shopping online. Does anyone know a website where you can purchase stocking stuffers? Cause if you do, he'll be totally set.

I have missed our family shopping trips. Although it's always touch and go as to whether we get through it without having an argument about what exactly caused him to become cranky. Was it the people standing in the aisles, their carts pushed together like some kind of shopping roadblock, chatting and totally oblivious to the lineup of people wanting to get by them? Was it the fact that I was taking too long to decide between two similar items, one of which I would eventually purchase? Or was it because people weren't following his 'mall traffic flow' rules. Yes, you heard me right. He has rules.

Once upon a time, many years ago Peter and I were shopping together at the mall during the busy Christmas season. To avoid a crowd in front of us I headed towards the left 'side' of the mall corridor. “What are you doing?” he asked in horror. I explained that I was trying to get through the crowd more quickly. “But you are breaking the rules!” he exclaimed. I told him I had no idea what he was talking about. He explained 'the rules' which are actually 'his rules' and not rules that anyone else follows as far as I can tell. He sees the mall corridors as a highway and in order for the 'traffic' to flow smoothly everyone should treat it as such. Is this making any sense? Probably not. Let me illustrate with a photo.

This is an example of proper 'traffic flow'. People traveling in either one direction or another.

This is an example of improper 'traffic flow'. Notice the weaving back and forth. Not allowed. This is considered rule breaking.

This is the correct way to enter and exit a store which is on the other side of the corridor than the direction you are traveling. Notice the clean lines. Notice how once you exit the store you go directly back to your 'side' of the corridor.

And finally here is why we follow the rules. This is the complete and utter chaos that ensues if the 'rules' are not followed. You can see the traffic flow is not efficient and you can imagine the frustration of the shoppers caught in such terrible flow.

Unfortunately a lot of people don't follow my husbands 'rules'. I always point these people out to him when we're shopping. It's unnecessary because he is fully aware of all those who break his rules. When he first explained them to me I thought he was nuts. Now I find myself following them involuntarily every time I am shopping. And noticing all those who are not.

For those of you who think we are nuts try following his rules the next time you go shopping and see how well they work. And notice how quickly you become annoyed with the rule breakers...


bon said...

Eeek! OCD much?

Yeah... I know all about the "rules". I find myself following them until they get in my way... then I break them, partially because that is what I tend to do with rules anyway. Part of the reason I break the "rules" is that there are no actual rules... it's all in my head.

My solution to the "rules" and lousy mall traffic in general? Stay OUT of the mall! Like Peter, I too gleefully shopped online this year, as much as I possibly could. It's too late, I'm fairly sure... but we got most of our stocking stuffers at The Container Store online.

All that said and now I gotta go to the %$@! mall and get one last gift... sigh.

papa d said...

I will break my rules from time to time, mostly because others are breaking them. And are in my way. Don't they know how important I am?

Jamie said...

I'm with Peter on this one...

Kelli in the Mirror said...

That is hilarious. I actually feel guilty when I walk on the "wrong" side, especially when it's the second floor and there's a median balcony in the middle. I mean, clearly they've meant you to walk on one side or the other right? But I do walk on the wrong side if there are less people there.

Lynanne said...

Oh this is too darn funny!!!! Only because my husband and I have had similar conversations. Except we have pondered about how the "rules" must differ in countries where traffic flow is opposite of ours. My husband learned to drive in New Zealand so he's always getting things backwards, LOL

I do have to ask where you got the photos. No malls around here are that deserted this time of year. Except maybe at 2 am :)

Rev D said...

These mall traffic flow rules seem perfectly obvious to me!!!!

Sugarmama said...

This is so funny to me because I only JUST THIS PAST WEEK caught on to the mall traffic rules! No wonder I have such trouble crossing over to the other side of the corridor to look in a window not on "my" side!