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Lecture 20

English 2017 Lecture Notes - Lecture 20: Cinnabon, Costco, Aisle

Course Code
English 2017
Nigel Joseph

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Lecture 20
Lecture 20
The Shopping Mall
Good because its a one stop shop
Like a Costco, you can get everything you need
But also a place where community exists--the mall has replaced the church and the old
street corners in some sense
Church was the place that people came together once a week
People flirted with each other, young gossiped
Has everything you want, 20 types of food, washrooms, temp controlled
No pressure to buy, just scope
Place to be seen or to see others
Why slow escalators?
Get the good view of the people around you and not necessarily a view of the
What people are wearing, who is hot and who is not
Young people go there often -- especially when they are in school
Their place --> food, shelter from food/drink, place to hang/chill, safe, hygienic
Don’t need to buy anything
The escalator, the glass, the smell, the logic of what is placed where in the shops (how
close to or how far from the entrance) is all well thought out because the shops are all
about profit
But there is a disconnect because we may not primarily be there to spend but
instead a place to chill out
Compare profits of 60 shops in a mall to 60 shops dotted around the city in a random
60 shops in a mall would make more profit by a lot
Mall causes you to become a impulse buyer rather than a careful shopper
Mall is deliberately constructed to confuse you --can’t leave the mall but that's also fun
See other people buy stuff, and we are aware and sensitive to what other people are
Movement is attractive at a mall
More movement you see the more you are subliminally excited
Revolving doors are there because they move, they look interesting and people
are spinning the door
Help convey excitement and movement, the general feeling of things
happening there
Rushkoff says: want us to get lost
This is all deliberate, the more lost you are the more you are looking at shop
Cinnabon: they are told to pump their smell to the rest of the mall
If you are smelling good things, you feel good and are more willing to give money
Music and temperature also have this effect
Shops with narrow aisles discourage shoppers from spending low amounts of money
You get brushed and that puts you off and prevents you from dilly dallying so you
get your stuff and leave
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On the other hand, higher and more bougie stores have more space so you tend
to just window shop and look at these places
If you make your aisles wider, it will help with people buying things from more expensive
stores--has no effects in places like the dollar store
Shopping malls are spaces of surveillance; there are cameras that are discrete and places to
detect and deter shoplifters
Causes shoppers to feel more constrained and forced to behave more disciplined than
they would outside of the mall
People at the mall are aware of being watched by other shoppers
Can’t really quickly exit the mall
But not oppressive, kind of cozy
They involve spectacle: the shops and their products are so exhibited as to maximize their
potential as spectacle. Also, people who go to shopping malls to meet and look at other people
are inserting themselves into the “mall as spectacle” equation
The emphasis is on bursting free form the surveillance
The products are often endlessly replicated in malls across the country, they thus participate in
the production of simulacra. The products also promise to individualize the consumer, to set
him/her apart from all other consumers.
Seems contradictory to spectacle
The shopping mall is also a space for community. Shoppers can look at each other, or at
consumer goods. Many shopping mall regulars go there to “hang out” rather than to buy
We are a lot like animals in our behaviour, if others are buying it, we should too
Douglas Rushkoff’s Coercion suggests that shopping malls are carefully constructed to seduce
visitors into staying and buying. Shopping malls are new configurations of social space that
encourage us to feel at home, but only if we keep viewing consumer goods, and buying them.
Shopping mall planners create an environment in which the outside world is excluded: an
artificial climate, bright lights that imitate daylight, an impression of movement and bustle,
efficient and helpful attendants…
From Rushkoff’s book:
“Studies conducted on mallgoers revealed six main reasons why they go there to shop.
Amazingly, none applied directly to convenicent. The first factor luring mall patrons was
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