Call of the Mall : Summaryby Udit Jain on May 30, 2007
The author of the international bestseller Why We Buy — praised by The New York Times as “a book that gives this underrated skill the respect it deserves” — now takes us to the mall, a place every American has experienced and has an opinion about. Paco Underhill, the Margaret Mead of shopping, has run hundreds of research assignments in malls across the country (and in Tokyo and European capitals). He has visited them, observed his fellow mall-ers, looked long and hard for his car in mammoth parking lots, chatted up the staffers, gone hunting for jeans with adolescent girls and anniversary shopping with guys. The result is a bright, ironic, funny, and shrewd portrait of the mall — America’s gift to personal consumption, its most powerful icon of global commercial muscle, the once new and now aging national town square, the place where we convene in our leisure time. Call of the Mall is about desire and buying lingerie, about why the same camel hair coat costs twice as much in the women’s department as it does in the boys’. It’s about why shoes, handbags, and cosmetics are clustered, why Cartier is next to cut-rate, and why the movie theater is hard to find. It’s about the shopping mall as an exemplar of our commercial and social culture, the place where our young people have their first taste of social freedom, and where the rest of us compare notes. Call of the Mall examines how we use the mall, what it means, why it works when it does, and why it sometimes doesn’t. Visiting the mall with Paco Underhill is a surprising and insightful tour through the American crossroads. Why We Buy changed the way we watch ourselves shop. Call of the Mall will deepen our understanding of how we live, work, play, and spend.