California Malls Don’t Have Everything You Need

Here’s another immigrant life discovery post. California malls do not have everything you need. Takes some getting used to for me, having lived most of my life in the irony of a third-world city esteemed for some of the world’s largest shopping malls. Now I live in the midst of this land of plenty, and faced with poorly designed, poorly populated retail shopping centers that are humdrum wastelands.

Agnes shopping for shoes
Agnes shopping for shoes and stifling a yawn. Photo taken April 12, 2008.

Back in Manila, we would go to the mall and figure out what we needed only upon arrival. Because everything you could need was there in the mall.

Over here, you’re better off sitting at your computer comparing prices from different websites — there simply are more choices online. In the malls, you’re faced with clothes mostly and a smattering of houseware and furniture, a light topping of dismal eateries, and maybe a glaze of electronics. Forget about finding a bookstore or an office supplies store in these pithy megaplexes. And boy, don’t even ask about comics. Or videos. Or music. Even the largest outlet mall near us (Gilroy) has no bookstore or anything resembling a video or CD store. So much for the land of milk and honey.

What’s the point of all this ranting? Here it is, ladies and gents: where’s a husband supposed to go while his wife is shopping for shoes? :D

Me. Smiling at all these shoes.
Me. Smiling at all these shoes. And none of them mine. Photo taken April 12, 2008.


18 thoughts on “California Malls Don’t Have Everything You Need

  1. So that’s why none of my Lj friends in the US ever hang out in malls. They just keep ordering stuff online, and I thought it was very boring. I’ve been wondering about that for a long time, haha.


  2. Exactly. What’s up with that?!

    I was thinking the same thing, a month or so ago, I was looking for a pair of running shoes. We drove down all the way to Gilroy where supposedly at the Nike and Adidas outlet stores you would expect to find at least a pair that would fit you. All they have stocked out there are the extreme sizes (size 13US and up) and none of the more common size 7 to 9!

    We ended up buying at one of the hole in the wall stores in the area instead.



  3. @aoitenshi:
    What’s in the malls: Mostly trashy clothes for teens and people with trashy taste. And some sale clothes for the rest of us. I mean, it’s perfect if you’re Fashion Barbie looking for a new bag, but if you’re just hanging out…. think abandoned warehouse.

    I feel your pain, man. They never have 9.5. This is how I scan the shoe stores: I look at the sizes on the boxes below the demo first. If they have my size, I look up at the demo model and ask myself if I like the design! Isn’t that counter-intuitive??????


  4. LOL! I mean, really loud! That was exactly my sentiments when we arrived in this country 20 years ago. SM near Philippine Science High School in Diliman was quite new when we left, but it was and still 1000x better than any mall I’ve seen here. The mall food courts here are pathetic.


  5. @BlogginFoo:
    Oh! That was SM North Edsa, also known as SM City. Which pales in comparison to the SM Mall of Asia.

    And yes, food courts here are paltry selections of grease and fat.

    Oh but wait. I must redeem my state: I DID FINALLY go to a mall with a pretty darn good food court which looked almost like the nicer food courts in Manila: and this was: Westfield Valley Fair Mall in San Jose. Nice and snazzy!


  6. About Gilroy, you’re only one exit away literally from all you need! Kung sa Leavesly road kayo nag-e-exit to go to the outlet malls, the next exit southbound, I think it’s 152 E/Road 10 has a Best Buy (electronics/gadgets), Barnes&Noble (books/comics) on the left hand side and on the right hand side–Guitar Center! There’s some other stores that I can’t remember right now.

    Dati rin reklamo ko yan sa Gilroy na wala akong mapuntahan, pero nung napadaan kami on our way back from LA last week, sabi ko sa wife ko, ok na kaming magpunta dun anytime kasi nga meron na ‘ko matatambayan. Hehehe.

    Or my other personal solution is, I always bring my Nintendo DS and find a corner in the shoe store to play while the wife browses. :-)


  7. hahaha! nakaka-relate ako kay agnes! kahit horror ang mall na walang bookstore, the variety of shoes naman that you can buy in the US is amazing. :)


  8. Ah, that’s why I love the East Coast. Specifically New Jersey and New York where outlets are gigantic. And malls are as we know them from bak home. Multi level and ends as far as the eyes can see. hehe

    I live with three women, well one woman and two 10 year olds whose shopping genes are starting to manifest themselves. So in those days where they must shop, I break away right from the mall entrance, settle into the Apple Store, grab a stool from the genius bar and surf my worries away.


  9. Hey Ernie,
    Better rein in those 10-year-old shopping genes before it’s too late! :D
    But yeah, those Jersey outlets are HUGE! And the only one I got to visit in 2002 had a used bookstore! Hurray!


  10. @BlogginFoo,

    Hey, I grew up inside SM City!!! Hahaha. j/k. It was brand spankin’ new when I was at our ol’ stompin’ grounds at Agham road (’86-’90). Simple lang buhay noon. Pag-dating ng stipend namin, diretso agad sa SM. Bili ng tapes sa Odyssey, nood ng sine, kain sa Sing-ya Toppings or kahit ano sa food court. Good times.


    There’s also one San Francisco! You can take BART (sakit ng ulo parking sa SF) and get off at Powell. Your impressions of Westfield San Jose is exactly the same as mine when I visited the SF store.

    Cinema house on top, shopping malls in the middle, and food court at the basement! One step closer to Pinoy domination in the Bay Area!!




  11. Buking Foo aki! hehe… I miss Yakult… My first bout with McDonald’s was in SM City. Ni-libre ako ng mga batchmates ko dahil ” I is very po’ ” back then… and I had no clue what was on the menu. Sila na lang ang mag-order… Jollibee is still better.


  12. @BlogginFoo:
    jollibee is better ? Hmmm. I miss the juicy CHAMP burger! DI na pwede sa cholesterol ko. :(

    Anong oras ba nagsasara mall sa inyo? Hindi ba 9 p.m. din tulad ng ibang bansa?


  13. Well, in a few years, malls will be obsolete thanks to the internet Ever since i started using the internet for shopping, my trips to the mall declined rapidly.


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