” When I was a kid in the sixties, my mother used to bundle my sisters and me into the Corvair and head from Trenton to the nearby shopping centre in Belleville, Ontario. During one such excursion, in preparation for my oldest sister’s birthday, she loaded the groceries into the car, but forgot one item on the roof. It wasn’t until we were well on the highway, when a box tied with string flew in through an open back window, into my oldest sister’s lap. Yelling with excitement, we untied the box and were amazed to discover a cake with “Happy Birthday Janice” written on it. I always found department store shopping fun as a kid, even without big box stores or megamalls. All my family had was the nearby “Rite-way” and the very occasional flying cake.
My childlike delight in shopping didn’t last. Instead of developing sensitivity to peanuts or bee stings, I became allergic to malls. By my twenties, I avoided them as much as possible. This went deeper than a knee-jerk anti-consumerism of a young Chomsky convert. I had a visceral distaste for the places, which increased over time. To this day, every time I enter a mall, I feel my chain being yanked every which way. It’s always a chore, even the times when I can remember where I parked the car.”