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Call of the Mall : The Geography of Shopping by the Author of Why We Buy (edition 2004)
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Amazon.com Amazon.com Review (ISBN 0743235924, Paperback)Paco Underhill has a genius for retail. As a follow-up to the bestseller Why We Buy, he has written an arch entertaining ethnography of the shopping mall. Energized by two dripping cinnabons, Underhill guides readers on a walking tour to encounter senior mall walkers, teen jean and hoodie shoppers, shoe fetishists, six second sales greeters, kiosk vendors and food court diners.
He nails our ambivalence about indoor shopping saying, "the mall, like television, is an easy American target for self-loathing. We look at the mall and wonder: is this the best we could do?" He gets the devil in the details with wonderful riffs about global malls, parking spaces, the "free" gift with cosmetics, retail tribalism (Nordstrom versus Ann Taylor, Pac Sun versus Abercrombie) and why CD and bookstores have returned to city streets. But Underhill doesn't whine. When he critiques multiplex theatres, raunchy bathrooms or the absence of coatrooms, he also offers witty suggestions. For example, how to turn a well-appointed restroom into a profit center.
Underhill is convinced that online shopping and fatigued boomer shoppers are leading to the "post-mall era." This kind of prediction makes The Call of the Mall a great read. It is a smart, observant meditation--one that suggests the past and the future of our shopping culture. --Barbara Mackoff
(retrieved from Amazon Mon, 30 Sep 2013 14:01:53 -0400)
"Paco Underhill, the Margaret Mead of shopping, has run hundreds of research assignments in malls across the country (and in Tokyo and European capitals). He has visited them, observed his fellow mall-ers, looked long and hard for his car in mammoth parking lots, chatted up the staffers, gone hunting for jeans with adolescent girls and anniversary shopping with guys." "The result is a bright, ironic, funny, and shred portrait of the mall - America's gift to personal consumption, its most powerful icon of global commercial muscle, the once new and now aging national town square, the place where we convene in our leisure time." "Call of the Mall is about desire and buying lingerie, about why the same camel hair coat costs twice as much in the women's department as it does in the boys'. It's about why shoes, handbags, and cosmetics are clustered, why Cartier is next to cut-rate, and why the movie theater is hard to find." "It's about the shopping mall as an exemplar of our commercial and social culture, the place where our young people have their first taste of social freedom, and where the rest of us compare notes. Call of the Mall examines how we use the mall, what it means, why it works when it does, and why it sometimes doesn't."--BOOK JACKET.
(summary from another edition)
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