Mall culture has become big business, as shopping malls have evolved into multi-storied structures housing a large number of stores that sell diverse products and services. Shopping malls house a collection of retail stores and restaurants, adjoined by pedestrian areas or an exclusive pedestrian street. In 1928, the Arcade in Providence, Rhode Island was the first to introduce the shopping mall concept to the United States. However, the concept was not new, if you consider the indoor, multi-vendor shopping of Isfahan, Iran’s Grand Bazaar in the 10th century.
Parking is one of the major hassles for people who go into the city to shop. Shopping at malls eliminates this problem, because parking is provided either free of charge or for a nominal fee. Shopping malls incorporate vast parking areas into their design and construction. This makes it advantageous for people to choose to shop at a mall rather than a single store. Families who choose to visit a mall on the weekend or holiday for a family outing find it to be a more convenient option mainly because parking is provided.
Visiting a mall is advantageous because of the numerous stores housed in one complex. Groceries, clothes, shoes, reading material, food courts, cinemas and entertainment arcades are available in one place. It is possible to spend an entire day out at the mall, shopping, eating, taking in a movie or playing games. Malls make great meeting places for friends to catch up over coffee at a café or a meal at the food court. Families get to do their weekly shopping, pick up odds and ends and keep the kids entertained at the mall.
One of the major disadvantages of shopping malls is their inconveniences. These include excessive crowding, especially on weekends and holidays. Sometimes it seems that everyone has the same idea—to congregate at the mall. Crowded aisles and stores make shopping very difficult; people often end up forgetting items they needed to buy. Senior citizens with mobility problems may have difficulty in traversing the mall, because of the largeness of the place. Parking can also be a problem when the mall is very crowded.
Shopping malls incorporate a large number of products and services inside them. It is not always easy to go to a shopping mall and exit with only what you came to purchase. The temptation to browse is always present, and browsing often leads to buying things that are not needed. Keeping to a monthly budget becomes increasingly difficult every time you visit the mall. With all the sales and special offers intended to tempt buyers, saying "no" becomes very hard.