Sunday, June 10, 2007

Two worlds, one mall.

I took my almost-13 year old to the outlet mall today. While I've spent many an afternoon visiting my favorite shops, there were some stores that I never even noticed were in the mall before. That is, until today. Three words: PacSun, Zumiez, and Quicksilver. I always breezed right past them on my way to Ann Taylor or Banana Republic. Couldn't honestly tell you what they sold.

Looking for a pair of tween-approved sandals, we stopped in PacSun. Or is it Pac Sun? Either way, in we went -- and stepped into another world. A world of madras shorts, thin cotton t-shirts, Vans sneakers and plenty of other tweens. And their moms. Hmmmmm not so bad. She found and approved of a skinny t-shirt. I picked up a printed cotton summer bag with beaded handle. "Mom, Jessica in 8th grade has that bag," she said. "Oh." I thought. Cute, but best not to start carrying the same bag as a 14 year old at our K-8 Catholic school.

Next stop -- Zumiez. Holy Generation Gap! What was this place? The darkened store was packed with 14 year olds carrying skateboards, teens looking at teeny bikinis and a jumble of printed bags, tshirts and novelty items, mostly rated PG. While tourists innocently ambled by outside, inside -- this really was something else.
I felt intimidated and completely out of place. These were not my people. Were they my daughters'? Were they her friends? Where did these kids come from? And what were they all doing inside this Alice-in-Wonderland-rabbit-hole of a store? Maybe my tween felt awkward too, we didn't stay too long. Exiting, we brushed past an older couple walking by. I wanted to point back at the store and say to them, "Do you KNOW what's inside THERE???"

My equilibrium regained, we pressed on to a discount shoe store. Ah, a nice quiet shop with shoes for everyone -- even moms with tweens. I could concentrate much better now.

Later I asked my tween what she thought of the shops we'd gone in. "Ummmm Zumiez was ok, but I liked the shirts and shoes at Pac Sun," she said, in that 12-year-old-noncommittal way. I expect we'll go back. But next time, I'll be prepared.

1 comment:

PortugePunk said...

It's so funny how things change. These used to be the stores that I shopped in frequently, but even I, now feel lost when I enter one of them.

The quality of CRAP (and I do mean crap) that kids pay for and wear has gone down, as well. The t-shirts at Pac Sun (Formerly called Pacific Sunwear, btw, Jen) used to be top-notch, but now you pay $25 for the thinnest little generic branded t-shirt with an off-registered crappy silkscreen.

But oh the days of expendible income.