Death of shopping malls: teenagers are not to blame

November 14, 2019

The mall is dying.
Over the past few years, more than several popular stores have closed throughout the mall. Pacsun is the next store that will soon leave the mall.

Sonia Yost, Sydney Wilfong

The mall is dying. Over the past few years, more than several popular stores have closed throughout the mall. Pacsun is the next store that will soon leave the mall.

Throughout my childhood, and like most people my age, the shopping mall played a major role in my social life. Going to the mall was like a vacation in itself. A trip to the mall with a group of friends was something to look forward to at the end of a chaotic week. The shopping mall used to be a place of entertainment, amusement and enjoyment. Business was hopping–stores were filled with eager customers, and the food court was serving hungry consumers. The mall was the main attraction for teenage socialization. Now, it’s just depressing. Most stores are closed or relocated to smaller venues, not even having the number of customers they used to. The food court in which my friends and I used to struggle to find an empty seat now contains an abyss of empty tables and chairs.

For some reason, teenagers–the ones who love the shopping mall the most–are blamed for killing the existence of malls. Again and again, I’ve heard people, older than myself, repeatedly whine about how sad it is that the ‘younger generation’ is killing shopping malls. On and on they go about how people my age use online shopping too much, that we’re too obsessed with online shopping, that we’ve entirely destroyed the purpose of shopping malls. Quite honestly, teenagers are far from the reason shopping malls are doomed; in fact, we have nothing to do with the decline of malls and seem to be the only ones trying to save them.

To be perfectly clear, adults participate more in online shopping than adolescents do. The whole concept of online shopping was created for adults. Watch any online shopping commercial and it’s clear the entire idea is targeted toward busy parents, overwhelmed workers, and those older who simply don’t have the energy for a visit to the local mall. Online shopping is an adult’s world. 

Teenagers are being blamed for no reason
The Logan Valley Mall continues to decline in business as more and more stores become empty. Despite teenagers’ love for the mall, many are blaming them for the mall’s recession. Photo courtesy of

With their newly received permits and licenses, teenagers are eager to get on the road and drive from place to place. Teenagers desire a place to socialize with their friends and online shopping offers none of that. Yes, restaurants are an attraction for young people; however, there’s only so much to do at a booth at Denny’s. Shopping malls are the main location for friends to meet and hangout. Malls are the epitome of teenage gathering. 

The essential requirement of online shopping is that to purchase any item, a credit or debit card is needed. Here lies the fault: most teens don’t possess a credit or debit card. Which leads to the question: how can teenagers destroy shopping malls with online shopping if they don’t even have the correct method of payment? 

With little to no reasoning, people are too hasty when blaming teenagers. Adults see us as a cellular-obsessed generation. As shopping malls continue to decline in business, older generations will continue to blame adolescents, despite us having nothing to do with the mall-recession. I get it–online shopping is one of the causes of dying malls; however, teenagers aren’t the ones pulling the trigger. The ones who are killing the mall are those who purchase nine items of clothing online just to find out none of them fits. It’s sad, yet it’s the truth. The childhood that included shopping malls, is slowly dying. No matter how many times I visit the mall, it’s impossible to not see the decline, as the place once filled with echoes of laughter now sits in silence.

1 Comment

One Response to “Death of shopping malls: teenagers are not to blame”

  1. Alex W. on December 18th, 2019 10:52 am

    I feel as if malls were more of a fad, still stuck around from the pre-2000s. Teenagers nowadays, at least from personal experience, just prefer to hangout at each other’s houses. That’s how it is with my friend group at least. Adding to that is the lack of anything to do at the mall, or anywhere in Altoona. One could argue Tilt Studio is at the mall, providing an Arcade experience. Well, playing a few games can be fun, the cost isn’t exactly great. And with more exciting games available on our home computers and consoles, arcade machines aren’t exactly revolutionary. Not to mention the cost these stores have to pay to keep running in the mall is insane. When not even McDonald’s can survive in the mall, is a bad omen for the rest of the stores. Online shopping? Well, that’s killing every store, not just the mall. If the mall wants to compete, and bring in more customers, they’re going to have to introduce something new and exciting for the youth and adolescents that isn’t available anywhere else.

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