Springfield Mall, in Springfield, Virginia, fills a surprisingly large role in many of my memories.Â My first date with Julie, my wife, was going to see “And Justice for All” in the movie theater there.Â (Lousy movie.Â Nice date.)Â My most traumatic experience took place when I took my son to see “Bambi” there and a guy sitting a few rows behind us choked to death on a piece of popcorn.Â And I have many fond memories of taking my kids there, to see movies or shopping.
Over the past few years, the mall has been in decline.Â The movie theater is hardly worth going to – the seats are all springs and the aromas are far too strong.Â There are more and more empty storefronts, and the shops that are left are weighted towards oriental kitsch shops.Â (I bought daughter Kate a katana set for Christmas at one such shop, and the storekeeper complained about the declining quality of the mall.Â When a kitschy katana-selling shopkeeper complains about the quality of a mall, you know it’s in bad shape.)
But this last weekend, the mall finally jumped the shark.
I stopped by to grab lunch at the food court.Â I sat there, pleasantly reading as I ate, when at three locations spread out throughout the food court guys simultaneously stood up and started preaching at a full shout.Â They told of a local revival, and promised free admission with the tickets being handed out by their collaborators.
I suppose Springfield Mall cannot be blamed for such offenses.Â But I was disappointed that mall security did not quickly escort these solicitors from the premises.Â And even more disappointed that none of the folks running food stands bothered to pick up a phone and call security.Â If they don’t care about the quality of life in the mall, why should I?
Perhaps they will renovate the mall and it will come back from the dead.Â But until then, I won’t be going there any more.Â Goodbye Springfield Mall – I have many fond memories of you.Â But no more, no more.