June 15, 2009

Manna at the Mall

My local mall is among the best in the nation. When the main department store went out of business last year, many of the chain retail stores decided not to renew their leases. As is stands now, half of the small stores are empty; the other half are dedicated to selling knock-off purses and big & tall tracksuits. To restore some dignity to the city's flagship shopping center, the mall owners recently installed two dozen kiosks, many of which take the shape of covered wagons.

According to the mall information board, these kiosks "bring excitement back to shopping" by offering "a wide range of innovative products and services not available in traditional retail establishments." Included among the novelties is a woman who will thread your eyebrows for $10 and a bearded man who hands out religious pamphlets and sells bansai trees for the bargain price of $25 a pop. Looking for a synthetic hairpiece or a homemade heating pad filled with rice? You'll find those wagons directly across from the food court.


While traditional brick and mortar store employees are prohibited from soliciting sales until the customer is physically inside their store, kiosk vendors benefit from fuzzy property lines. I've learned from experience that if you don't hug the walls and pretend to talk on your cell phone as you pass by, you will be stopped in your tracks by a person wanting you to do them a favor in the form of sniffing a piece of perfumed paper or accepting a squirt of organic lotion made from figs.

By far the most aggressive kiosk salesperson in my mall is the man who hands out free red balloons to children in hopes of guilting their mothers into buying kitchen cabinets by the square foot.

"They're just balloons, Miss," barked the man, at my polite refusal of his gifts.
"I want a balloon!" whined my daughter.
"Not today," I said, pushing my offspring down the aisle.
"Why can't we get one?" cried my son.
"Yeah," yelled the man after me. "Why can't they have one?"
We kept walking. In a last-ditch attempt to woo me into dropping $10,000 on a spur-of-the moment kitchen remodel, the man screamed, "If you buy today, I can get you 50% off!"

As much as I would have liked to stay and talk to the nice salesman, I was forced to focus my attention on the two children who were on the brink of hysterics over their lost opportunity to own a piece of latex taped to a stick.

"We are not getting balloons today," I said firmly. "Don't ask again."

Before anyone could lament their horrible fate of having me as their mother, my other son noticed something spectacular out of the corner of his eye. Much to everyone's amazement, wonder, shock, and surprise, there were three red balloons--sticks still attached--protruding from a trash can just outside of J.C. Penney.



God was smiling down on them. Like the Israelites, escaping from Egypt, God provided a way for His people to be fed while traveling to the promised land. In the wilderness of the Philadelphia mall, my children did not find manna, but just the right number of red balloons to make everyone happy.

*****
What's YOUR favorite kiosk at the mall? Please tell me there are other malls that sell hairpieces...please.

122 comments

Anonymous said...

I lovingly refer to "that section" as sniper alley, i tell the kids walk straight,don't change stride and NO EYE CONTACT!!! I will say it has becomes a sort of sport for us, kind of like holding your breath as you drive past a cemetary.

Jamie said...

You nailed it right on the head. I can't stand that guy with the red balloons! They really need to do something about that mall. It's really gone down hill.

Anonymous said...

When at the mall by where we used to live in Orlando, it was like being at a carnival! I think the Dead Sea salt cart and the cell phone people were the worst!

Jackie in GA

Lissa said...

I don't even remember which kiosk it was, but while I was VERY pregnant with my daughter, we were passing by one of those very aggressive ones - my answer was, " I'm pregnant and hungry - you may want to move" She didn't get eaten, so I assume that she moved.

Anonymous said...

Ha ha! I am a new reader to your blog and I have to say that I wish that God would smile down on my children throwing fits sometimes. EVER have I been rewarded for holding firm and not giving in to the cries of my kids...

Anonymous said...

oops... that Ever is supposed to be NEVER.

Anonymous said...

Sprint sales people and dead sea salt are the worst.

WriterGrrl said...

Ha ha! The Israeli mall guys! My husband's cousin had a whole mass kiosk empire going for a while, and he always told me, NEVER buy ANYTHING from a kiosk in a mall.

Ally said...

Here in Toledo, OH we have a those stupid kiosks EVERYWHERE down all lanes of our mall. We have teeth whitening, massages, microwaveable pillows, eyebrow waxing, hair extensions, dead sea salt, fake bags, 8475234859307248 cell phone companies, bath tubs, ultrasounds, and various other fun things!! Walking down the lanes is a nightmare. You just can't make eye contact! A cell phone helps and so does glaring. A lot.

Maya said...

Scientologists. We have scientologists offering free stress tests. Last time at the mall, the woman working the kiosk basically stopped the our stroller and grabbed at my baby. My husband was less than thrilled and I was not there, thank goodness. I do not appreciate strangers who feel they have a right to accost my infant, esp. not strangers peddling things.

natalie said...

I particularly love the salt scrub and mineral makeup kiosk salesmen telling me my hands are rough and my makeup application sucks.
I make NO eye contact and I act like I'm deaf.

babs said...

I like the bugs entombed in acrylic. I am lucky, my 3 yr old still believes me when i say they are not for us and we cannot take them. then I mouth something like "pooopie diaper" to the vendor and keep moving.

Kathy said...

The chair massage people...who don't speak English--just gesture to their towel covered massage chair. Eww.

The Queen said...

Ya know, ya really oughta warn a girl when you're about to show hairpieces like that. I was eating breakfast.

"Was" being the operative word. Ick.

Sarah said...

spray tan pods in the middle of the mall... they are so weird.

Amalie said...

WAY too many mall kiosks sell hairpieces. And the vendors always wear the hairpieces themselves. The most aggressive kiosk people seem to be the hair straighteners or the lotion people. They ask if they can ask me a question and I say no! (usually while averting eye contact and pretend talking on my cell phone)

girlnblack77 said...

Yes, our malls sell hair by the foot, though (thankfully) far from the food court. Our food court, instead, has a gourmet candy kiosk smack dab in the center, which is oh-so-helpful in getting children to concentrate on semi-wholesome mall food.
I'm glad to hear you mention eyebrow threading. It's a technique I stumbled upon online over the weekend, and practiced on myself with great success. Save yourself the $10 and find an instructional video!
Recently, my sister and our four kids went to the mall, and were walking at a steady clip when a man stopped me with a polite, "Excuse me..." It had been so long since I'd been to a mall that I'd forgotten to ignore him. What kept my attention was what came next: "I see you keep your nails natural..." Come *on*! I was one of two dozen people filing past and not walking leisurely enough to be casually observed. Kudos to him, at least, for keen eyesight. I think if he'd widened his view a bit, though, he would have noticed I couldn't stop the parade of children to stand and chat (even if I had been interested in being swindled).

Anonymous said...

my favorite is the lotion/nail people that SWEAR that if you use their nail file/lotion, etc that your fingernails will be shiney for 2 weeks, no matter what you do. my mom sucked me in with her one time, and i told them "okay, if my nail still looks like this in 2 weeks, i'll be back" they didn't like that very well.

Sechakecha said...

Ugh, it's horrible at our mall. We have people who sit there and they will chase you down the hallway, unless if you're walking with someone who they know is an employee of the mall. We have the eyebrow threading kiosk. My "favorite" has to be the nail people... I had one who asked me to marry him and move back to Israel with him, and he's build a house on his land for my mom and dad to live there with us. Yeah... I was 15 at the time.

We have those eye threading ones, too. Those things look so painful! I don't know anyone who would do that. Ugh.

Tiffany said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
LMP said...

We have them all: hair extensions, cell phones, threading, water massages, family crests, moisturizers, rice filled heating pads, scorpian paper weights, cactus plants for those visiting from out of state and must have a piece of AZ to take home with them, calendars, custom stickers for your car where each family member gets to be a different stick figure including and my favorite, the inappropriate t-shirt stand when you can buy a shirt that says Playground Pimp for your toddler.

Jan Russell said...

Personally, I'm shocked they thought the kiosks were necessary to bring excitement back to the mall. Isn't that why they added Bliss Avenue? With the big glass windows? I LOVE walking by that store and it's displays, especially when my young sons are with me!

Lisa Loo said...

Wow--I didn't see the Israelites reference coming--you are good!

I feel so deprived here in the middle of nowhere Montana. Our only mall is 45 minutes away and we only have cell phone covers and cell phone service kiosks. Eyebrow threading?? Do they use the synthetic hairpieces??

Connie said...

For a school field trip, we take our special ed kindergarten class to the mall to see Santa and have a scavenger hunt before we get to see the "Jolly Old Elf." There's always a kiosk with a long, fuzzy, toy that when the back of it is petted, (by the vendor that has a French accent) it moves like a ferret or some other weird creature. We always "lose" a child that just has to stop and pet the thing.

InkMom said...

I HATE balloon with a purple passion. I despise the sound of helium balloons being used as punching bags. I really, really hate the wailing cry of the kid whose balloon pops first. I ban them from my house. And then the nursery leader gives one to MayDay and, out of the goodness of her heart, decides his older brothers should not be deprived of the same source of joy. And I get a little closer to crazy.

beth said...

the nail/hand lotion people are evil. the last time i was in the mall (and i am thinking it may be the same mall you are talking about) i forgot my coach and had my four youngest (ages 4, 3, 2 and 2) walking. the guy stopped me to try lotion. really?!?! did he really think i was interested in stopping while i had four young chidlren, not contained in any way at all with me?!?! i hate those people.

Mollie (aka Mimi) said...

A few months ago my 21 yr old daughter and I went to a mall in Houston. We were going to a concert and had some time to kill before it started. We both got manicures and pedicures and went for a walk through the mall.

An attracive Ireali man who was manning the Dead Sea Minerals kiosk asked if I'd like a free sample of his soap. He had me at "FREE". I love to get things free. Who wouldn't? He then proceeded to grab my hand and massage lotion into it. I said, "Hey, watch the nails! I just had them done".

Then he said, "Sit here for one moment while I show you a miracle", and gestured to a stool. I know, I should have bolted, but he was cute, and was still dangling the freebies.

He asked me what kind of facial cleansers I was currently using. When I revealed this info to him, he said, "Well, they are not working", and pointed out tiny lines under my eyes. The next thing I know, he has smeared some gel substance right under my eye saying, "See how much better that looks". He was completely in my bubble and pressing his manhood up against my legs. He inched closer and stepped on my toes. "Watch the toes, I told you I just had them done". What if I was allergic to whatever is in the Dead Sea concoction? And thanks for smearing my makeup and the insults!!

By this time, my daughter had walked away, probably to disassociate herself from me and was watching from a safe distance. That was my only escape, to tell him that my daughter was leaving me. He was the most aggressive and persistent kiosk salesman I've ever encountered.

Meagan and John said...

funny, funny...for the first time in forever we actually walked through the mall this weekend and we were succesfully able to avoid all the kiosk people, but at walmart we got stopped in walmart by a lady pushing the sale of glasses cleaner (that we already have--all have to write about it on my blog)

Anyhow, I did though notice that they have a new kiosk in our mall that was rather interesting to me, John (my loving husband) wouldn't let me stop though--he knows better. I actually use to work at a mall at one of the kiosks, one of the few things I did as a teenager, I sold names, well the descriptions of names, anyhow they have one of those kiosks in the mall now--anyhow I will have to blog about that too on my blog as the stories I have from that job are way too lon ot leave as a comment

www.lewis4higher.blogspot.com

Gina said...

Oh, we've got hairpieces. And a ton of other crap. Thank god for no balloons though. This post was hilarious.

sara said...

My most recent experience with that was a gelato kiosk. My mom had treated my kids & I to some gelato, but as we sat to eat it we got to witness the extreme badgering of every non-gelato-buying passerby. The dude was practically screaming to them about the high quality ingredients and letting everyone know that $6 for a tiny scoop of ice cream is really a bargain. I was glad to already be on his good side, but I stealthily slinked to the trashcan when I had to throw away half of the cup of the flavor that had been forced on my 5-yr-old that she didn't like so he wouldn't see me wasting those precious high-quality ingredients...

Kiki (G.G.) said...

We do have the fake weave kiosk at our mall. We had the laser teeth whitening people, but they go shut down due to it was illegal or something. We mostly have jewelry, clothing, purses, and flip flop vendors. Two other malls are closed. The one we have sucks. The only good store is a Pottery Barn, but no Pottery Barn kids. Makes no sense to me. We need a Sephora and Crate & Barrel. I also need a Saks or something. The closet thing we have to that is Macy's. We have to go to Charlotte or Atlanta for the good shopping. Take care.
-Kiki

Sara said...

Are you sure this is a mall in Philadelphia? This sounds painfully like one in Indiana... who knew they vary so little across the nation?

I'm just me... said...

The lady hocking bathtub resurfacing, the guys with the lotion and the heated neck pillow people are horrible at my local mall.

I usually walk fast and avoid eye contact while I keep repeating "No thanks." My daughter can't figure out why I won't stop to talk to them.

elyssa said...

dear jana,

please stop writing such entertaining posts, because you keep me from being productive in my daily life and make me feel like a loser of a writer. thank you.

also, i sometimes enjoy the snipers. they're so starved for customers that i feel REALLY popular when i, in garage sale patched jeans, feign interest in their $68 nail buffer while they beautify me and we chat about "the homeland." good times. sometimes we even share snacks...

Christa said...

ok, our local mall used to be a good place to go when I was a kid...cough 15 cough years or so ago. Then Wal-Mart built a new building and moved and we got a Sears to replace it. Slow but surely it has become the old peoples free indoor walking track. The only food place is Chick-fil-a and a cookie/sweets place. Half of the the store are empty, or have high school are displays in them. Someone recently purchased the mall and has spent alot of money renovating. I hope the have some awesome stores lined up to come, or they will have lost a lot of money...cause everybody knows the stores in tehre still suck.
Anyway at one of the other malls in out area the people you must look out for are the Cortex hair straightener people! They always speak with an accent that you can't understand, and then they make you look like an idiot if you happen to stop because they curl two or three sections of hair and then you have to walk around looking like that all day. $250 for a straightener?! No thanks I'll stick to my Wally World brand...or atleast hit ebay for last years model.

Foursons said...

Oh wow, I never saw that coming! Love that another mom's trash was your kid's treasure.

Courtney said...

I hate the cell phone kiosks the most!! I feel horrible for ignoring them, they are just doing their job but dang if I wanted AT&T cell service, I would go to their STORE and look at them!

Brian said...

I cannot speak on behalf of your lush and overwhelmingly occupied mall, but out here in Arizona hugging the wall and pretending to be or actually being on your cell phone does not discourage many of the kiosk employees from assaulting guests. Merely uttering the words "no, thank you" is an open invitation to be financially accosted. The only chance for survival is to continue past these folk without so much as uttering a word or looking them in the eye, just pretending that you don't see or hear the individual, regardless of the fact that they positioned themselves directly in front of you causing you to have to veer sharply out of their way and wrestle your arm from their clutches as they try to grab your arm to prevent you from continuing onward. After all, who would notice antics like this anyway? Though, I presume this tactic is markedly more possible to execute without several youngsters in tow.

Our only saving grace in this state when it comes to the wondrous atrocity that is the mall kiosk is the fact that roughly half of them are pioneered by 16 and 17 year old high school girls who can see no further than the ever-smudged touchscreen of their cellular phone allowing for on goers to slyly creep by unnoticed.

Lindsey Stelly said...

The Israeli nail filing guys are the worst!!! It's like they can't count! How can you not tell that I'm outnumbered by my kids 3 to 1!!
On one glorious day I threatened my husband's life if he didn't come with me to the mall. When we walked by the Israeli, I barked "NO" at him before he could even ask me a question. I thought my husband was going to die!!

mindij said...

I don't know, that sounds like manna to me!

Lease said...

The Dead Salt people are the worst! When I was 28 weeks pregnant (with triplets)one of the sales men jumped in front of me to tell me how unhealthy my nails looked.
Being huge, tired, and cranky I told him he stunk. Explaining his cologne was way too strong to the point of nauseating and if he didn't move I would be losing my lunch on him.

Crystal said...

I work in a mall kiosk between thanksgiving and xmas most years lol but we arent aggressive at all, we bring our own kiosk, its not the mall wagon things lol. And ours is a square border with the middle being our storage, where we stand, register, wrapping area... all so we can sell you blown glass from China... but its not commission I wouldnt do it if it was lol. Its the easiest, most mind numbing job ever I think.

Helen said...

I had my son in one of those rented mall strollers during christmas time. I abosolutly had to go into bath & body works for a gift. while in there I was trying to turn around so I could get out of the way of all the wonderful shoppers inside. As I turned to get out of there, the corner of the stroller hit a huge display and knocked it over-completely. I was horrified - I froze and looked around - thankfully a nice, really nice lady started to pick up the bottles and said "hurry get out of here - I didnt see a thing" - I took off like I robbed the place!

Melissa said...

The dead sea salt scrub people and the flat iron people are really bad in my mall. What is bad is getting attacked by two sets of people from the same type kiosk at different ends of the mall. I have stopped even looking at them when they approach me. Now the nice guy sitting with the cute purses who doesn't look up until you touch one of his items... I like him.

Jennifer said...

We refer to them as "mall carnies"

Anonymous said...

Whether it is three red balloons or sucker in your purse when a child is screaming at the movies, God truly provides for mothers.

emily said...

Oh my GOSH I hate those kiosks. There's one in UT that stops me every time I pass by, telling me how ugly my nails are and I NEED their product--dead sea salt or something. Their product is like $157. For my nails? I don't think so. After spending 25 minutes saying no one day I finally said, "I can have pretty looking nails, or I can feed my children. I literally do not have $150 to spend on anything, let alone nails. Our grocery budget is $75 a week. If you can figure out a way for me to get food, I will buy your product right now." She let me walk away, at long last. UGH.

Beckie said...

I am laughing so hard right now! And Emily, I completely know what your talking about with the whole dead sea salt thingy?! They are like vultures....lol....balloons should be illegal I say! They scare the crap out of me :) Thanks for the laugh!

Cosette said...

I don't get the cell phone snipers. Haven't they got us all sewed into two year contracts by now? Who's left to sign up?

http://damselindisdress.wordpress.com

Olivia Singleton said...

I had a guy at a mall kiosk stop me and say, "Would you like a solution to that terrible acne you have?"

Thanks for that mall kiosk guy. You just made my day through that statement.

Jenny said...

I was at the mall the other day to pick up my wedding ring. I had no other choice but to bring my three kids. Something that should have lasted only ten minutes turned into a thirty minute ordeal, leaving the mall screaming and crying because I did not love them enough to buy them a styrofoam airplane that is 'guaranteed' to do three flips everytime you throw it or a wind up car with flashing light. mall vendors are part of the reason why I do most of my shopping at target.

Anonymous said...

When the cell phone people would harrass me, I'd just start yelling at them, "YOU'RE HARRASSING ME! YOU'RE BOTHERING ME! I DON'T WANT YOUR PIECE OF CRAP PHONE!!" That usually worked. The lotion people I just swerve by and if they touch me, I'm all, "DO NOT touch me." If you act sort of crazy, they will leave you alone.

My favorite kiosk was the fake snow. A $25 box of powder produced all this very realistic looking fake snow. My husband actually bought some. The hermit crabs are fun to look at as we walk by.

The Cranes said...

You people still get to shop at malls?? I only ever make it to WalMart or Kohls....

Actually though, our closest mall is 20 minutes away and it's more "upscale" being a suburb of Columbus, Ohio. But we still have hair pieces and all the other items mentioned above...

I loathe our mall because of the play area. My kids are all too big now, but they think they are being deprived because I won't let them go. Yeah, go hang with a bunch of snotty 1-year olds and see how much "fun" you're missing!

Skubaliscious said...

Our mall sells hairpieces/wigs...
do you have the stands where they stick your feet in water and suck the toxins out?? Really gross pictures!
The most aggressive vendors at our mall are the people that want to straighten your hair. They are always walking around wagging their straightening irons - and are very good at letting me know just how much my hair needs their services!

Mary said...

I have to wholeheartedly agree that there is nothing more annoying than the kiosk vendors! I think the mall should make them obey the same rules and allow customers to come to them and not accost every person who walks through the mall. Including but not limited to:
the cell phone people
the fake hair people
the chinese massage people
the whiten your teeth in the center of the mall people (can you believe it?)
the hand lotion people
and the obnoxious belt buckle people

And, mind you, this is an upscale, not at all empty, booming busy mall!

Oh don't get me started - -- well you already did.......

Brooks said...

My favorite kiosk is one that sells Dead Sea beauty products where a beautiful foreigner guilted me into $300 worth of product with the promise that my pasty white face would glow like her olive tone in just three weeks.

It's safely stored under my bathroom sink.

The Mother said...

Kiosks were invented to be eye candy for children and the bane of mothers' existence.

Carrie said...

I have to second the "Dead Sea" kiosk. VERY OBNOXIOUS. They must have a Dead Sea Salesman Bootcamp to teach these LOVELY people to:

1) Not take no for an answer
2) Block the path so you cannot move
3) spread lotion and salts all over the customers. It's perfectly acceptable to breach the boundaries of personal space.

The kiosk-mall combo was obviously adopted by a frequent mall shopper.

christine said...

Once, I was meeting my husband at the mall for some reason and I had forgotten our stroller. So I'm walking along minding my own business carrying a sleeping 2 year old when a man with a french accent stops me asking if I'd like to try this nail buffer kit. I couldn't shake him. I was trying to be polite as he held me up for five minutes buffing one of my finger nails. Once he was finished he wouldn't let go until I had refused the product and it's special price about 5 times. All this while holding my heavy baby.

cabesh said...

A new one for uw, which truly intrigues me, is the electric cigarette kiosk. "Smoke anywhere with electric cigarettes!" With a guy standing there, smoking one.

I have no idea how they acutally work...but the make smoke....and somehow that's allowed in a public place.

JalenasMommy said...

We have same here in Ft.Lauderdale! Nail shine guys who yell, "let me see your hands",laser teeth whitening,etc. My response to all of them is "I don't talk to strangers!" Lol

Anonymous said...

Eyebrow threading people:

I actually saw a women getting her upper lip hair threaded off...in the middle of the mall! Who would do that???

Erin said...

This sounds like Montgomery Mall?! Or Plymouth Meeting, which is getting better.

twinzmama said...

My favorite is always the dead sea salt people, they are everywhere!! They suckered my dad into buying some lotion so he gave it to me for Christmas and I ended up with a huge rash everywhere I had applied the lotion! Oops!!

Jeni said...

How about the guy that is at the hair straightener kiosk? Am I that bad that I must be stopped every time I enter the mall and have him tell me "what I could do to help your hair!"

Ginger said...

Your mall sounds like Opry Mills Mall in Nashville, TN. The heating pad and hair people are right outside of the food court there too (or were the last trip). And don't touch me with that goop and spread germs from the other goobers you smeared it on....I get the heebie-jeebies just thinking about it.

I'm not a mall person at all. I worked in one for about 20 years and when I left, I pretty much never went back...to that one or any other mall. Amazon is my answer for everything! My daughters rook me into a trip about once a year to one mall or another.

Okay, so did you clean those sticks? A germ-o-phobe needs to know. I'm SURE you had some wipes and took care of those germs. Right?

Amanda said...

I hate the people that offer to buff my nails with the 4 -sided buffer! They only do one hand so they can point out how awful my other hand looks. Ummm. Thanks?

The eyebrow threading mesmerizes me though. I just don't see how it works.....

Sariah said...

I don't even know what kiosk's are at the mall near me. I rarely look up. I hear vague things about cell phone and lotion and see hairpieces out of the corner of my eye. I am with most of your commenters: avoid eye contact pretend to be deaf.

I think the worst is the teath whitening booth. Who wants to get their teeth whitened at the mall? But I see people in the chairs almost everytime I am there.

I'll have to keep an eye out for the "free" balloons. Keep up the blog. It is one of my favorites.

jennie w. said...

What about those smoke-free cigarette things. What are those?

Breezi said...

My Favorite is the dead sea salt guys and the mineral make up that you can turn into anything... just add a little pink mineral make up into a container of vaseline and poof: You get lipstick. Wonderful invention.

Michelle H. said...

Reminds me of going to the state fair.

My local mall has become ghetto mall since Penney's and Dillard's moved out. Storefronts selling fake purses, gang banger clothes, a hoochie shoe store, and 8 million cheap jewelry stores.

the Klimeks said...

The nearest "big" mall to us is in Eau Claire, WI. In the center of the mall, you can have your name written on a grain of rice. I think that is hilarious! Why would anyone want their name on a grain of rice, and furthermore, who would be able to see it once it is on there?!?

BTW--What the heck is eyebrow threading???

Blythe said...

Worse, I think, than overly aggressive sales people are the overly flirty ones. For some reason, cell phone kiosks seem to be staffed by confident (ie sleazy) men armed with expensive calling plans. Actually, I'm still not in your plan... even if you flirt disgustingly.

Make that ESPECIALLY if you flirt...

Anonymous said...

I'm going to be very honest and say that I adore, love, and testify of my Sea Salt nail buffer. I laughed at my mother when she bought if for me for Christmas, and I wanted to hate it. But for the next 3 weeks, I wouldn't let anyone, ANYONE, pass through my house without having at least one of their nails polished silky smooth. Even men. I love that thing. LOVE it. (Ask Amy.)

Emily's Bloggin' Out!!!! said...

My spirts have been lifted by knowing I too am not alone! I love walking by the sea salt guy (who has a thick accent and horrible breath)to ignore him with no avail. Why is it not socially acceptable to sprint from store to store to avoid these bumbling salesman. NO EYE Contact is just not enough!!!

madjaq said...

"MALL" is a four letter word. I haven't been to one in quite some time. As I recall it was for a build bear party the pink princess was attending.

The kiosk that irritates me the most was the modeling/talent agency. They were like vultures and that is why I rarely, if ever go with my daughter.

Please come and visit our blog the continuing adventures of mama rose and the pink princess. http://madjaqsworld.blogspot.com/

Stephanie said...

I think we go to the same mall... except that I live in Indiana. :)

Donna said...

Eyebrow treading is awesome! I bet you would like it! No pain too!

Lauren said...

Before I moved there was a kiosk full of old books, tarnished jewelry and lots of animal statues made of fake jade/amber/ivory. I think it was the Louisiana mall shopper's answer to a thrift store.

Dana said...

The eyebrow threading kiosk opened at our mall...right across from the pizza place. I mean really, who wants to eat pizza and see people having their facial hair removed at the same time! Although my kids act like it's a kind of feak show at the fair, right up there with the 2 headed snake! Oh the questions they have!I don't think we'll be having pizza at the mall anymore!

Courtney said...

Once I was looking for a new purse and started haggling some guy I couldn't understand in a Kiosk. I kept asking to see more and more and kept asking two for the price of half and looked inside everything and threw all of the tissue paper on the floor.

By the time I was done, he was practically BEGGING me to leave and all of the other surrounding vendors gave me a wide birth.

It was SO much fun!!

girlnblack77 said...

You all are just too funny with the stories of insulting salespeople. It reminds me of the memory I had blocked of the year I got my contact lenses. I just needed to buy a back-up pair of glasses, so we swung by the mall. The salesman proceeded to tell me I needed $600 glasses with special lenses to make my eyes look bigger. After I declined three times, he all but called me beady-eyed, and ended up losing out on any kind of sale that day.
I mean, do people really buy *anything* from these folks with no social graces??

MissMVK said...

I always pretend to be talking on my phone when I'm walking by the hair kiosks. The worst are the ones selling flatirons. They always bellow out to me "Excuse me, is your hair NATURALLY straight?" Um, no I am the rare breed of Asian that has huge curly ringlets. YES OF COURSE it is naturally straight!!! Argh. Loved this post!

{leah} said...

I was walking by a cell phone kiosk dragging two boys that were "going to pee" in ther pants and a screaming baby. The guy had the nerve to walk out in front of me and ask if I had a cell phone, do I want a new one, am I happy with my plan??I looked at hime square in the eye and yelled at him "Does it look like I need a cell phone right now?"

As I was walking back through the mall he saw me coming and backed away and said {from afar} "I know, you don't need a cell phone"

He still remembers me when I come to the mall and looks the other way when he sees me coming.

Jenglamgirl said...

All I can say about the mall, is if you LOVE TO PEOPLE watch the mall is the best circus to go to! GRAB a pretzel sit with a friend and have a GREAT thousand LAUGHs! p.s. hate kiosks, but not the proactive one! ONLY bought from one once because I was to impatient to wait for it to come in the mail, PRO-active is great! and I HAVE REALLY learned how to say no! and to say "NO" PROUDLY AND FIRM!

Anonymous said...

I haven't been to the mall for a really long time because I don't shop there, Wal-Mart is the one stop for me. But I do remember going shopping with friends of mine at the mall during Christmas, one friend of ours was an immigrant from South Africa and hard to tell because he's white and until he speaks you figure it out. One of the kiosk was selling "authentic" African items and the lady was quite aggressive in trying to sell us these "unique" items to us until my friend spoke up telling her he was from South Africa and hadn't seen such items associated with his hometown before and some of the animals displayed were from the wrong country and the certain ivory was illegal to be sold, the lady turned pale and asked us to leave at once.... so much for unique!

Jenglamgirl said...

B.T.W. the comment by "LEASE" was outstandingly funny, I bolted in laughter, thanks!!!!

April said...

I love being harassed by the girdle saleswoman... "wouldn't you like a flat belly, miss???" HELLO?! I AM (or at least thought I was) VERY OBVIOUSLY PREGNANT!!!

Anonymous said...

Whenever they ask me to stop and try something I smile and always say, "Oh, I already have that and I LOVE it!" and I keep walking. It works everytime and I don't have to worry about not making eye-contact or pretending to talk on my cell phone.

midnight hysteria said...

i'm feeling sooo deprived; where i live in the backlands of eastern washington (yakima) our mall sucks ... i'm can't believe i'm missing the dead sea salt guys, the eyebrow threading people (OMGosh, you gotta be kidding!); the israeli nail buffers (now that sounds like a thrill for a tuesday afternoon LOL) and all the other sundry mall denizens ... however, lest you think i'm a bore, at one point i did have a life: i worked for a year in tyson's corner mall in alexandra, va just outside dc; it is the MOOOSSST upscale mall i have ever been in, not just saks, but bloomies, nordstroms, cartier, the galleria across the street, and other way-too-rich-for-my-blood (as my mom would say) places to shop ... i worked for llbean and went to lunch daily at the mall (single then and no brown bag lunch for me) ... we, my friend lori and i, walked the gauntlet from bean to sbarro or chipolte, passing the pashmina stalls, silk tie guys, the leather purse and glove purveyors, the cell phone pimps, and other not-so-obtrusive sellers ... no balloons, no salt sellers, no nail men (or ladies) ... i truly feel deprived after reading your blog and all the comments: i wanna move to a good mall place ...maybe seattle ... whaaaaaaaa

Dave & Heather said...

The weirdest one I've come across lately is the teeth whitening/teeth cleaning kiosk. Who would actually sit in one of those chairs and have a "professional" clean their teeth for all the world to see is beyond me.
I think my favorite is the holy t-shirts that knock-off trademarks. Like the "Jesus died for myspace in heaven". The spiritual lashing that comes when you don't purchase one is a treat. It's even better when my husband is with me (good old RMs...) and gets into a religious debate. I love it so much I send begger eyes to the design-your-own license plate man or the bobble-head man to come accost me.
I'm not one for scenes. My husband loves to create them. Sigh.

Erica said...

The toy kiosks are the absolute worst! They fly those remote control helicopters right over your head to get your attention. Scares the bejesus out of me every time.

Nicole said...

Latex attached to a stick! Never looked at it that way....

Oh and I have one of those malls. It's so vacant that it makes me feel like I'm going to get mugged when I go there alone.

Ann said...

The Dead Sea people are the WORST!! I don't want anything with the word dead in it on my hand.

Rhonda said...

Well, I moved to a small town about 3 years ago. No longer do I stroll around in the mall. So thankful just to do my shopping online. lol

Grace G. McNicholas said...

I always wondered who bought from those kiosks and then my neighbor came over with not one but TWO nsil spa kits. No wonder they live paycheck to paycheck.

HW said...

Our mall is fairly small but still has room for kiosks. Our newest one is a mini massage parlor.
As we walk by the questionable looking men (and occasionally one woman) will yell "you want MUH-sage?"

Before that we had a skin care kiosk where the people would grab your arm and start rubbing lotion on it. I actually gave my 15 year old daughter and her friends a lesson on how to make a wide circle around the "place where the people grab your arms..." "You go like this girls..."

You know? Now that I talk about it, I'm not sure my daughter should be going to the mall anymore. Can't wait to tell her.

lizcooper said...

I do the no contact thing too, but they actually approach me! My favorite is the hand lotion people. They always ask, "how much would you pay for this?" I always answer, "nothing, because I'm not buying any." I mean why do they approach a woman holding an umbrella, a purse/diaper bag, a wiggly baby, and dragging a straggling 3 year old complaining that she has to pee? It's pretty certain they're not going to get a sale.

Kandis said...

My Favorite is "Let me straighten your hair".... NO ThANKS! I did my hair this morning....before the little monsters ruined it! But no thanks I don't want to buy your 200.00 flat iron. P.S if you touch my hair again I will Karate Chop you. Yeah that is my favorite kiosk!

Diva Ma @ Mommy Fabulous said...

They Kiosk people are as bad a used car salesmen. Vultures!

First time I've seems a weave cart.
hmmm. Getting business ideas here!

Did the lights shine down from the heavens on that trashcan?

East of Eden said...

Wow, some pretty scary stories here. Glad I live in the middle of nowhere. Our closest mall in Santa Fe sells Jesus Staues and Bathtub Marys at the kiosks...classy!

Anonymous said...

Oh the mall kiosks! If you want to find kiosk mall heaven, come to Opry Mills Mall in Nashville, TN! My favorite there has to be the roasted nut vendor, but he does give out free samples every time you pass, so that helps. The hair straightener people that offer to straighten my stick-straight hair are pretty cool. The best yet has to be the electronic cigarettes or the 1000 redneck ways to exclaim that you are indeed a grandparent on a t-shirt or totebag. There is something for everyone, for example "MeeMaw" "PopPop" or "Bubby". I have been dying to get a shirt for my son's grandmother who has chosen the name "Mimi" but my husband steers me clear of the place every time we go there. :(

Come see my cute new little boy at
http://marin.mrorex.com

MaLeah (mean mom for 7 weeks now!)

QCMama said...

I read about your blog in a parenting magazine, I can't remember which one cause somehow I am subscribed for life to about 500. :) I then found your blog while I was voting for the most inspiring (www.thespohrsaremultiplying.com)
I just wanted to tell you that I too have had multiple run ins with the vultures of the kiosks. The ones who usually trap me everytime are the guys that sell the dead sea beauty supplies or whatever. I usually look down or tell the kids to "hurry up lets go" and never ever give eye contact! haha.

Deb C. said...

My fav is the kiosk where they sell hermit crabs and tiny frogs. It's like a free trip to the aquarium as we stand there and watch these poor creatures exist in their tiny, plastic containers, filled with neon colored rocks and fake plants.
I don't know if you can actually call it a "kiosk", but I enjoy watching people get their teeth bleached smack-dab in the center of the mall; like gluttons for bad attention they sit there with their mouths stretched impossibly wide, with glaring lights shining down on them, while wearing protective eye-gear. Can't get much more flattering than that :)

Sussey's Story said...

To beat the heat today I took my 2 boys to the mall. After walking thru "sniper alley" 3 times and being asked 3 times "would you like to try some?" I finally told the "sales" man "GET A REAL JOB!!" They are the most annoying "sales" people ever!

Texan Mama @ Who Put Me In Charge said...

I just can't make myself grow a pair and be rude to those people, so I just say "no thank you." over and over again. and again. and again. I especially hate the very aggressive soap stick people. In my mall, anyway, there are free little scented soap sticks, about the size of a cigarette, that they tell you, Please take it! It's Free!!! YOu will smell so nice!!! As soon as I "no thank you" myself away from them I have to fight off the constant samples from various food court employees. Not that I would turn down free food, but when it's been 6 inches from a teenager's face for the last 20 minutes, I get... queasy.

Anonymous said...

There was a kiosk at my mall in No. Cali that sold mineral makeup. I am totally loyal to bare minerals makeup and held up the bag while shaking my head no. He proceeded to tell me how crappy my choice was. I proceeded to tell him I was reporting him to the mall officials, which I did. I told them I didn't appreciate my purchases being insulted as I walked down the mall. They assured me they'd warn him to stop. The next time I was there, I overheard a lady loudlytelling him she didn't care about his opinion. I went up and told her to complain to the mall. She thanked me and set off in that direction. He was "whaaat, I didn't do anything wrong." Wrong, the kiosk was gone the next time I was there!!!!

Anonymous said...

We had A T &T cell phone service that was HORRIBLE. When the guy at their kiosk was hassling me, I LOUDLY told him if he didn't leave me alone I would be more than happy to tell everyone within earshot EXACTLY what I thought of their phone service. He backed off.

That Kind of Girl said...

The fake hair kiosk is so my least favorite in the mall. I work next to the mall and go in every day during lunch hour just to walk around; every time I walk past the weave kiosk, the guy looks at me, gestures to the weaves, and says: "You could be so pretty!"

Um, yeah, insults will get you everywhere? It got to the point where every time I walk past, I immediately look at them, point to my hair and say: "It's already beautiful. Leave me alone."

Benigna Torviso-Marko said...

I can relate.
Benigna Torviso-Marko

Elle said...

Funny, I live in the area and go to a certain mall that's very large in size and the two kiosks that creep me out are the hands and nail people, I don't know the name of the company but God forbid if you make eye contact with them, they will follow you halfway down the aisle. Then there is the smoke free cigarette. That's just wrongs.

I enjoy your blog very much! Happy to see another Philly mom blogger!

The Mom-tage said...

That's hilarious!

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utah kitchen cabinet said...

Red balloons, I just dont like them. I dont like balloons at all. They are just not fun when they fly away and you don't want to get one stuck inside you. too many bad experiences with balloons.

Alana Tolley said...

yeah, LA malls have hair piece kiosks. The fact that Salt lake malls don't made me feel SOOO small town!
My favorite annoying kiosk person was a man who--while trying to get me to drop $300 of my meagre fun money on a ceramic hair straightener--actually grabbed a chunk of my curly hair and straightened it at the beginning of my Saturday night out. Really, straightener salesman... REALLY?

Leslie said...

My favorite kiosk in the mall is the one that advertises for kitchen cabinets. I found a super great deal for my new remodeling project! Kiosk salesman aren't all bad!

Chelle said...

My "favorite" kiosk in the mall would have to be the women who sell the products from the Red Sea. I was walking by as they said to try this lotion and how wonderful it was etc. When I agreed, she said, "Oh I have something better for you", as she plops some scrub into my hands that has to rinsed off with water. This gives her 20 minutes to give me her speal about all of the Red Sea products.

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Suzy Frame said...

I really loved your story. It was so fun and exciting to read. Thanks for sharing it. I also know how you feel about those guys are the mall trying to sale you kitchen cabinets and practically chase you down the mall until you stop to talk. Or lure your children in. :) I'm so happy your children were able to get their balloons as well.

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