Tuesday, December 4, 2012

At The Mall

While I was at our city's local shopping mall last night, I was confronted with this scene:

Image credit: Photo taken and processed by Cujo359

Yes, it's a farmers' market inside a shopping mall. Yes, that's a Santa Claus in there. The Farmers' Market is open during winter for the first time this year. It's hard to imagine what local products would be available there, but I'm told they grow winter vegetables here. Not too surprising given that, but for someone who is used to thinking of farmers' markets as being something that go on when the local farmers can sell their crops, it's a bit strange.

It gets stranger, though. The shopping mall is named The Commons. Yes, it's privately owned, which would seem to me to be the antithesis of something called "The Commons". There was a time when this, too, might have seemed remarkable. Now, I seem to be the only resident in a city of 85,000 who finds this at all odd.

In addition, this used to be the Borders, one of two chain bookstores in town. In Federal Way, there are few retail businesses that aren't chains, which means, of course, that this was one of two bookstores in Federal Way, assuming you don't count the Christian bookstore, or the family Christian bookstore, which I don't. Now, there is just one. The other bookstore is a fairly disappointing one, particularly if you are looking for anything to do with science, computers, or politics. Well, progressive politics, at least, is underrepresented. They stock what looks to be just about every book by Glenn Beck ever written. Maybe if we had more bookstores, more people would know what a commons is, because there'd be something to read that wasn't written by religious fanatics or lunatics.

There's something quintessentially early Twenty-First Century American about a farmers' market operating in a shopping mall named The Commons in the middle of winter in place of one of the few bookstores that once existed here. It's almost as though cognitive dissonance is just another price you pay to live here.


Anonymous said...

The Republic rots from within.

Cujo359 said...

Perhaps, but it's just a number of trends I've noticed coming together in this one place. The slow death of diversification in retail, the trend toward local farms, and, of course, the conversion of publishing from paper to digital and online are all here.

The trend toward local farms strikes me as mostly a good thing. The others, I'm not so sure about.

Mugsy said...

When I think of a "Farmers Market", it's an open-air market with local farmers selling their own produce from the back of an old pickup. Not a million dollar "boutique" store inside a million dollar "boutique" mall.

And I've never understood the appeal of "Christian" book stores. Try to imagine an entire book store dedicated to just Orwell's "1984" and books analyzing "1984"?

dan lee uhl said...

With rising temperature and CO2 levels, winter farming will become an accepted, and normal phenomenon. Look for more of this in the future.

Cujo359 said...

Some of the ones I remember were indoors, Mugsy, but they were in a building that was more like a warehouse than a shopping mall.

Sadly, you're probably right, dan lee uhl, at least in some parts of the country. We'll see what winters are like out here, but the Pacific Northwest may be one of them.