Wednesday, May 03, 2006

Fear and Loathing at Hickory Ridge Mall

While doing research for the next post, I stumbled over this overheated but still intriguing vanity post over at
I was at the Hickory Ridge Mall on Winchester Road in Memphis around 4 pm today. I hadn't been there in about 2 years and I was absolutely stunned to see that half of the people in the mall were hispanics. Spanish was heard everywhere. I saw a lot of attractive and decent looking families towards whom I had sympathetic feelings on a personal level. They just looked like nice people living their lives. But the fact is that I was at the same mall 2 years ago and I hardly saw any hispanics. What is going on with our border security? This isn't a gradual expansion, this is an explosion. We're not talking Houston or LA- this is Memphis!

When I got to the food court I saw a group of about 15 teenage hispanics walking towards me who looked like they just came out of Hollywood Central casting. They were the scariest looking group of guys I've ever seen. Truly ridiculous baggy pants and they had a swagger like this was THEIR mall. You could tell they enjoyed the fear they were causing everyone around them to have. I had to look at them out of the corner of my eye to avoid offending them by staring at them....

Just as the gang members were walking past me a group of about 8 Memphis police officers and a similar number of mall security guards stormed the food court and the gang members started running in all directions. The gang members were yelling angrily like someone was fixing to start shooting, and for the first time in my life I was kneeling down in a mall to avoid potential gunfire.

Most of the gang members escaped but a few were detained. I don't know if they had been seen shoplifting or if this was just a move to keep them out of the mall.
Like I said, the poster is definitely excitable and overly dramatic, but the incident and general observations are pertinent.

I have to admit, about 10 years ago I went to Hickory Ridge pretty regularly. More than any other mall in the area. As much as I'm able to these days, I felt most comfortable there. (Malls creep me out.) But now that I think about it, I haven't been there in at least five years. I've been to Wolfchase and Oak Court a couple of times, but that's it. I tend to shop (what little shopping I do, anyway) at stand-alone stores.

What's been y'all's experience with the changing customer base of local malls and your shopping patterns?

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