Saturday, August 30, 2008 9:11:55 PM
Have you ever been ambushed at the Mall? SURE you have! We all have. There we are, minding our own business. We walk around leisurely, doing some window shopping … and some actual shopping here and there. We’ll do some people watching. And I’m sure we’ll also be the objects of other people’s people watching. Nevertheless, we’ll be in this Cool Mall Zone, sort of an escape from the stresses of life. Our heartbeat will be at a steady serene pace. Okay, on SOME days. Just humor me and go with the flow. I’m going somewhere with this.
At some point of our Mall navigation, our Terminator-like vision scopes out DANGER on the horizon. Tooh Tooh Tooh Tooh Tooh. Okay, pretend that was some futuristic High Tech Alarm Sound alerting us to an Adrenaline-triggering Global Crisis … Errr, that is to say, a Mall Crisis. With the Adrenaline now pumping through our veins and us now in Fight or Flight mode, our movement now seems to have slowed down. The serene Cool Mall Zone in which we found ourselves previously, has now given way to this surreal Slow Motion out of body experience as if in another dimension. Beads of sweat start to trickle down our forehead. We seem to be short of breath. Inexplicably, we keep walking towards what is virtually assured to be a Close Encounter of the Distressing kind. Maybe we do it because we feel SOMEONE has to finally stand up to this dreaded presence. Or maybe we do it because, well … we have to get to Sears, Dillards, Penney’s, Macy’s, Banana Republic … the Food Court or wherever, and there is just no other way of avoiding a Showdown with the formidable force that seems to shadow our every minute attempt at evasive action. Oh sure, there is that microscopic 3% chance that one will thread the needle and be lucky enough to narrowly escape the galactic gravitational pull of the Black Hole-like Mall Ambush Canyon. If you escape, it is only because some other poor Sap ... Oops! I mean, some poor, unfortunate victim erred in strategy and got caught, serving as a distraction for OUR escape.
We unfortunately eventually get there … the Nexus of Nuisance. Be Strong! Don’t make Eye Contact! Oops! Too late. We made eye contact for a nanosecond. One of the inhabitants of this Nexus of Nuisance has initiated a precise interception trajectory. We finally find ourselves Face to Face … Mano a Mano up against a nefarious Mall Desperado! The Mall Desperado seems to have an advantage as there is the unmistakable presence of this rectangular weapon in one of his / her arms. Battle will now most assuredly ensue. With the rectangular weapon extremely close to our body, the intrepid Mall Desperado makes a preemptive strike … "Excuse me! Could I ask you some questions?" Will you be able to neutralize the Clipboard … Errr, I mean, the rectangular weapon?
Ahhh, yes, the Mall Desperados … the Mall Survey Racketeers ... Extortionists ... Mall Survey Conductors.. WHATEVER! I’ve taken a few extremely sporadic Mall Surveys throughout the years. I had a real odd one one time. So there I was deep in the Survey Dungeon … the Survey area. This teen Survey Dude informs me of my options, "Do you want to take the Short Survey … or the Long Survey?" I was informed that the Short Survey was about 15 minutes and the Long Survey about 30 to 40 minutes. The Long Survey of course paid more. I don’t remember the Pots at the end of the Rainbow Treasures that each of them paid. I went with the Short Survey. So, teen Survey Dude is busily, feverishly typing away at his computer. Periodically he’d make small talk. Getting restless, I finally go, "Well, when are we going to get started with the Survey?" To my shock, Survey Dude goes, "Oh, it’s already been going on." Totally perplexed, I go, "What do you mean – it’s already been going on? You haven’t asked me anything." As it turned out, the Short Survey apparently consisted of the Survey Dude taking the liberty of filling out the Survey with I guess … Random Answers. Or maybe he was a Mind-reading Guru and knew how I’d answer the questions. Talk about a SHAM Survey! I was caught sooo off guard by the situation that I didn’t even know what to say. I just chalked it off to, "What the Fugg? I’m gonna get PAID. If he wants to pay me for sitting here while he fills out random answers … so be it. Just give me my money." Then the teen Mall Desperado surprises me with that I’m gonna be paid by Check, so I needed to provide my Full Name. Why you deceptive Little Runt! Grrrrrr! I reluctantly provided my Full Name and took the Check.