Saturday, September 24, 2011

Our Strip Mall, Lifestyle Center Community

I was out and about yesterday running some errands and made a trip to Ulta in south Fort Collins. I needed some makeup and Ulta is the only place in town I know that carries what I was needing. Side story - Ulta has a one of those frequent shopper cards like King Soopers or PetSmart except you never get anything with it. The only time I ever got a discount was the last time I was there when after my purchase they told me I had a $4 coupon that I needed to use right then. What a scam. Maybe not a scam but you know you can't buy much in a cosmetic store for $4 so of course, they're counting on you spending more than $4. Stuff like this pisses me off. I always feel like I'm being taken for a ride. While I was able to buy some nail polish for under $4, it still annoyed me.

Back to my original story - On my trip to south Fort Collins, to Ulta, which is located in a Lifestyle Center, I saw tons of people walking around, doing stuff. It was 1pm on a Friday afternoon. Do these people have jobs? Did they cut out early because it was Friday like I did? WTF? What were all of these people doing milling about? Could they all be there to buy something?

It got me thinking - these Lifestyle Centers, which are the new strip mall of the day, is where people hang out! I go to these Lifestyle Centers when I need something, like my makeup. I don't go there to have lunch, walk around and check out the cookie cutter artwork and potted plants. It occurred to me that these Lifestyle Centers are the hub of the communities we live in. Was the mall the hub of the community I grew up in? Maybe. I know I certainly spent too much time at the mall in my teen years checking out the guys and buying earrings and clothes.

Thank God Fort Collins has a thriving downtown where, while there are many stores, there are places to hang out that don't have a lot to do with commerce in its truest form. Or am I just kidding myself? Is everything designed so that we spend money?

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