Setting Thesaurus Entry: Shopping Mall

Sight

Crowds, bright store signs, sale signs, glass doors/windows, clothing racks, shelves, displays, washrooms, food courts, benches, garbage cans, specialty item kiosks, shopping bags, store logos, tile floors, plants, escalators, stairs, cash machines, sales staff, customers, people sipping from coffee/specialty drink cups (slushes, ice cappuccinos, etc), baby strollers, mall strollers, shopping carts, elevator, stores for: Clothing, housewares, cigar shops, knife shops, coffee houses, restaurants, bedroom stores, purse/luggage shops, electronic stores, music stores, gaming stores, toy stores, travel centers, jewelry stores, health food stores, maternity stores, baby stores, decorative/niche stores, art galleries, parking lots, lines, change rooms, neon signs, free sample giveaways, product demos, sculptures and artwork, exit signs, double door exits, security personnel, information desk, lounge areas with comfortable chairs, banks, bright lighting, skylights, railings, receipts dropped on the floor, staff changing out garbage, water fountains, open areas set up with charity raffles for cars, trips or excursions, teens sitting and texting, people walking and talking on their cells, kids dragging parents into stores and toward displays, kids coin machines (gumballs, small cheap toys in plastic bubbles, costume jewelry, tattoos, etc)

Sounds

Boots and shoes on tile, people talking, laughing, eching/mish-mashed crowd voices, people calling out to others, cell phones ringing, cash registers printing off receipts, the crackle of a security radio, plastic bags crinkling, zippers on purses & jackets being unzipped/zipped, slurping from straws, kids asking questions/whining/pointing things out to parents, store music, air conditioning, store security wickets going off, customer announcements in stores regarding specials, cashiers calling for a manager over the store speakers, scanners picking up the bar code in bleeps, the click and clack of hangers rubbing against each other, the swoosh of fabric, the crinkle of shrink wrapped boxes

Smells

Food from the food court (meat grilling, grease, fresh bread products (yeasty, buttery), cinnamon, salt, spicy foods, BBQ, hot dogs, burgers), bad breath, body odor, perfume, hair spray and products, strong perfumes/body sprays from beauty product counters, popcorn, fabric, paper, cleaning supplies, coffee, wet shoes/boots during poor weather, air fresheners, air conditioning,

Tastes

water, coffee, pop, mints, gum, the acrid tang of AC, food from the food court (see above), snack food bought at stores (cookies, candy, chocolate, camels, chips, ice cream), cough drops, tobacco chew, dust, dry mouth from dry air

Touch

Stepping onto an escalator, pushing past/brushing by other shoppers, leaning against shopping counters, digging through purse for cash or credit cards, digging in pocket for wallet, cup coins in palm and sort through for correct change, the feel of a cool smoothing drink in the hand, sucking on a straw, the drag of heavy shopping bags cutting at palms, shopping bags bumping against legs, digging for a cell phone when it goes off, holding a cell out to text, waving at a friend, angling across the crowd to reach a shop, sliding a receipt into the purse or pocket, sitting on hard food court chairs, pulling clothes on and off to try something on, straightening clothing and hair after trying on clothes, putting hand on a railing, climbing time steps, blowing on hot coffee or food, touching knees with friends you're sharing a table small with, craning neck up for signs or to look up on the next floor up, feet hot in boots/shoes from walking, arms heavy, sorting through hangers on a rack, holding up an outfit to self and looking in the mirror, tapping a glass showcase with a fingernail, pointing at a fast food menu item on the wall, pushing a shopping cart, holding onto a child's sweaty hand, flipping through CD covers in a music shop, flipping through fliers, checking price tags for price and size, reading the description on a package, checking watch for the time, rubbing at eyes while sitting and waiting for a shopper, wanting to go home

Helpful hints:


--The words you choose can convey atmosphere and mood.

Example 1:

Fred sat on the bench outside of Benita's Fine Clothing waiting for his wife, his arms heavy and his chin dipping toward his chest. He didn't know what he feared worse--the Visa bill, or that he'd be stuck in this hell-spawned mall until closing.

Example 2:

Marcy hopped on the escalator and rode up to the second level to the HMV store. The air practically buzzed with excitement as early shoppers hustled to snap up the best Boxing day deals, fragrant cups of coffee in hand to give them a much needed caffeine boost. She tapped the pocket on her jeans, making sure her 100 dollar gift card was still in place.

--Similes and metaphors create strong imagery when used sparingly.

Example 1: (Simile)

Middle age men rushed into the Sony store and their boxing day sale like football players running for the touchdown.

Example 2: (Metaphor)

I admired the cashier's composure when her super sized customer held up a glittery yellow bikini set and demanded to know why the store didn't carry it in her size. One of those photo shopped pictures of a hippo wearing a g-string came to mind and I had to excuse myself from the line up.

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6 comments:

Angela said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Kelly said...

I bet you didn't mind the research for this one :)
I've got some gift cards from Christmas burning a hole in my pocket. I've been to busy to go though.

Anton Gully said...

It might be a UK thing, or maybe just a throwback to when I used to frequent shopping malls as entertainment, but I always remember the clammy feel of the hand-rail on the escalators. How it would be moist when the temperature was high, giving it a tacky feel.

I used to get into SO many scuffles at shopping malls in the summer.

Christina Farley said...

I am so impressed at how thorough you are with your lists. Don't ever quite blogging! I can't live without your site. Seriously!

Erica said...

Wow, you captured it well, really well. I work in a mall office and I'm there 5 days a week... nice job!

I would add - if there's a movie theatre - popcorn smell :o)

Bish Denham said...

I'm not a big mall person. I always feel, particularly in the BIG ones, that I'm in some kind of futuristic self-contained city where humans live and work and never get outside because no one can live there anymore. The other thing is I get overwhelmed by all the STUFF! Yuk.

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