At The Mall With Oma

Conventional wisdom says that you should avoid the mall on Black Friday. That’s probably true. Since this was the first time in recent memory that I wasn’t working the day after Thanksgiving, I thought I would see what conventional wisdom was so concerned with.

Things were not as scary as I’d been led to believe. There were more people and fewer open parking spots, but those weren’t big problems. I didn’t see anything that struck me as a wonderful bargain. I left the mall empty-handed. All was not lost though. The movie that is real life provided many interesting scenes to watch.

Don’t You Want Something To Drink With That?

Example of a Hickory Farms product assortment

When you care enough to say “I don’t especially care. (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

Come the day after Thanksgiving, Hickory Farms has an outlet in every mall in the US. By the end of January, they’re gone. Where is Hickory Farms the rest of the year? No one knows; no one cares.

Why doesn’t anyone care? Because you don’t buy a gift at Hickory Farms for someone you value. A gift from Hickory Farms says “I felt obligated to get you a gift, but I didn’t care to put effort into it.”

With that in mind, I created a new marketing slogan for the company – Hickory Farms:  Where America shops when they’re indifferent about the people they’re shopping for. (copyright – me, 2012.)

I’ve never given, nor received a Hickory Farms gift. I think that means that people know what they think about me, good or bad.

On Black Friday, I saw a man walking down the mall eating a Hickory Farms sausage like it was a meat banana. He had peeled back the plastic and was chomping away at the big sausage as he strolled. It was pretty disgusting.

After I thought about it, I was able to reach a conclusion that explained his behavior.

Once, or maybe more than that, someone had concluded that while they felt no connection to him, there was some obligation to give him a gift. He received the gift graciously, despite knowing it was the ultimate indicator of indifference. He became addicted to the indifference because it required nothing from him in return. The Hickory Farms sausage that he could only get his hands on once a year became associated with his need to be someone society was indifferent to.

Hickory Farms, call me. Indifference sells.

Love Pink

Do you know who loves pink? Women.

I’ve never had a woman tell me she loved pink. At the mall, there were lots of women wearing clothes that said that they loved pink.

On second thought, is Love Pink an instruction? Perhaps it is directed at the reader, not the wearer. Even if it is an instruction, it seems that women still must love pink. For them to take the time to command others to like it, they must feel some bond with pink.

The Apple Store

Apple at WestFarms

Calling all hipsters. You can work at the Apple Store (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

Apple is a money-making machine. I love their stuff, but I’m amazed at how many people pack into their stores to give them more money.

I don’t think there are specific appearance rules involved in hiring Apple Store employees. However, if you want to work a the Apple Store, here are some looks and accessories that you might want to consider adopting before you apply. They might not get you hired, but they won’t hurt –

  • A fedora. All the coolest guys have one.
  • Funky older woman. This look isn’t good to combine with being a fedora guy. But if you are an AARP eligible woman, don’t care that your hair is gray and prove it by wearing it short and spiky, you are hired.
  • Cool glasses. Cool specs go with any Apple Store employee look. It is especially good if your glasses are a primary color like red, or blue.
  • Tattoos and piercings. Goodness. Hipness. Hired(ness).
  • Facial hair. The right facial hair is important. There are no Apple Store employees with a Fu Manchu. There are plenty with goatees.
  • Dreadlocks in a pony tail or shaved head. Opposite ends of the spectrum, united in their acceptability.

On my way out, I noticed that a fedora guy with tattoos joined the funky older woman who’d greeted me when I walked in. Fedora and tattoos. I think he was management.

Food Court

English: Facing Northeast in the Potomac Mills...

Food Court. No one was on trial this day. (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

Doesn’t a food court seem like where a person would go when they’re accused of dining related infractions?

“How does your client plead to the charge of taking far more food at the buffet than he could consume?”

“Guilty your honor. We’d ask that the court consider, before imposing a sentence, that my client was raised in a home where he was told to eat because there were children in China who didn’t have enough to eat.”

It is my ambition to become a judge in food court. Apparently that isn’t going to happen. I’ll put my food court dream aside and tell you about the woman at the Haagen Dasz ice cream counter.

When I went through the mall food court, it was lunch time, but not time for lunch dessert. There were lines at all the other food counters, but the Haagen Dasz counter was desolate. The woman who worked there was motionless at the register, staring blankly into the distance.

She caught my eye because of her stare. Then, I saw her t-shirt. It said “I’ve never felt more alive.”

I watched for several minutes. She was nearly catatonic, but had never felt more alive. She still had not moved by the time I walked off. If she’s never felt more alive than what I saw, I’ve got concerns about her future progress.

Maybe she had a lot on her mind. Perhaps someone gave her the gift of a beef stick.


37 Comments on “At The Mall With Oma”

  1. Laura says:

    I received a Hickory Farms gift once — it was a Christmas present from the department manager at my first full-time job. You got the message exactly right.

  2. lbwoodgate says:

    I thought the picture of the food court at the mall was interesting. The big screen TV was there, allowing people to think they were at home and could watch that over the bustling shopping crowd, tuning everything and everyone out, just like they do at home. What says contemporary America more than people coming together and being drawn to the very icon of social aloofness.

  3. T E Stazyk says:

    I’m trying to say something profound about the idea of a guy eating a sausage like a banana at the mall on Black Friday. But I think that says it all. Know what you mean about Apple employees. I find them very intimidating at my age.

  4. I went into an Apple store once and left feeling terribly unhip and out of touch. I’m glad you went shopping and described it for the rest of us – you saved me time and probably money. Great post as always.

  5. Pie says:

    You have some seriously hip guys working at The Apple Store. Here, in Londinium, they look like students.

    The Haagen Dasz woman was probably forced to love pink.

  6. Did she look like this, minus the arrow cruelly implanted in her nose?

    That was your wordad at the end. It couldn’t have been more perfect. I avoided the mall and everywhere else on Black Friday. I’m not as brave (stupid?) as I used to be.

  7. Betty says:

    Gag. That Hickory Farms junk scares me. Shouldn’t those types of products be refrigerated?

    You said meat banana – Heh, henh, henh, henh.

  8. robincoyle says:

    I kid you not . . . a fistfight occurred at our mall on Black Friday in Victoria’s Secret. Between women, you ask? Nope. Grown men throwing punches over pink thong underwear. What has this world come to?

  9. Debbie says:

    Your description of the Black Friday shoppathon reminds me why I don’t venture out on that occasion. Crowds, strange sights, people getting away with weird behavior. All of that, I can do without. Dang it, the image of the guy noshing on the Hickory Farms sausage just won’t leave my mind now!

    • omawarisan says:

      When I saw him, I thought ‘I don’t think I’ve ever seen that”. I wonder why he didn’t think the same thing about himself.

      Maybe he considers himself an innovator?

  10. Michelle Gillies says:

    Meat banana. I think that should go directly into the new urban dictionary. I am pretty sure in the future, 1000s of years from now there will be cockroaches, twinkies and meat bananas from our time that survived.

    • omawarisan says:

      Meat banana. Do you think if someone said “you look like you’re eating a meat banana” he would have seen the error of his ways?

      I like that term. I’m going to call someone that.

  11. I have friends in Asia who love the Hickory Farms stuff, they tried it once and now ask for it. I send it to them whenever I can directly off their lists.

  12. I always feel out of place at Apple stores. And now I know why: wrong facial hair.

  13. Snoring Dog Studio says:

    Hickory Farms is the gift that keeps on giving, mainly due to the toxic amount of preservatives and nitrates the food contains. So it’s the perfect re-gift!!

  14. I wonder if the girl in the t-shirt was an off-duty Apple employee. The (real) hipsters are really into irony.

    • omawarisan says:

      So she wasn’t working at Haagen Dasz, she was doing performance art?

      Damn. I’m so uncultured.

      • Performance art. . .or. . . you’re so right! . . Maybe she was on-duty: cross-marketing and product placement.

        I tell ya, Apple is everywhere, man.

        I can see it now — she hands you your ice cream, you search for a way to eat it, she says, “Sir (because politeness is company policy), there’s an app for that,” and she hands you a spoon, with a little Apple logo on it.
        Gosh, you’re smart. As for culture, they have that down at the TCBY. (Ok, that was awful. Sorry.)

  15. Pie says:

    Going by what you’re all saying here, Hickory Farms gifts are probably the only foods that’ll survive a nuclear holocaust.

    • omawarisan says:

      P, I think that you’re right. It isn’t preserved, it is embalmed.

      And most of their retail outlets pop up over here in November and they are gone by January. I think they run out of embalming fluid.

  16. spencercourt says:

    The only time I’ve bought from Hickory Farm is after Christmas, when they clear out what’s left at half price. I was mainly interested in their sausage, but I’ve found places on the Internet that offer good sausage prices before Christmas.

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