Sunday, January 9, 2011

M(a)y Fair Thoughts

Mayfair Mall is safe, despite what happened there last Sunday.  I don't work Sunday's so I don't have any first hand knowledge of what went on, but I did get to talk to quite a few people from the Mall who did so I got my information first hand.  So here's my take.

The mess at Mayfair Mall was a convergence of 3 separate events that happened to occur at about the same time. 

Scene #1.  A young girl gets busted for shoplifting at Champs.  The Wauwatosa Police, who have a sub station there were busy handling that so they were already engaged.  During the Christmas season the Tosa Police make the rounds, walking the mall and constantly checking with retailers to make sure everything is going OK.  I saw them daily when I worked days. When our store stopped a shoplifting attempt and needed the police, they were present within minutes.

Scene #2.  The big event.  Youths, mostly female, are gathering in the food court for what could have started out as a freeze tag or some offshoot flash mob event.  My personal opinion is that this was less of a facebook/twitter event then it was a texting event.  No proof, just an observation from watching kids in the mall. Phones are used for texting as much as talking.  This was almost a total chick event as I heard guys were standing around in awe of what was happening.

Scene #3.  Outside the mall, supposedly someone with a gun is attempting an armed robbery.

Everyone was taken by surprise by the concurrence of these events and obviously the large group of kids confused the matter even more.  As seems to happen way to often what may start out as innocent fun turned scary. I think a difference between days gone by and today is that there was enough peer pressure in old days to not let events get out of hand.  Kids policed themselves somewhat, understanding the consequences of their actions. Today it doesn't happen, consequences don't matter and therefore we see lots of stupid and even harmful/deadly behavior occur.

So what will be the the consequences of this flash mob event?  Mayfair has already extended their Parental Guidance Required to Sundays, further limiting teens access to the mall.  I also think you'll see this expanded even more to days when most kids have off school. Think Holidays.  Macy's and Boston Store who haven't participated in the PGR before this, may decide to also enforce those rules.

Some people will be a bit hesitant to come to Mayfair until they need that special gift or time will ease their fears.  Then it will be business as usual.

Now some general observations

I don't find groups of black kids any more rude or troublesome than groups of white kids where I work. Both are often rude, messy and needlessly loud.

Parents have to be more involved with their children. They should at least reinforce rules of common courtesy - of course they may need to learn them first.

In an odd occurrence of weirdness, a few days before this quagmire WMCS replayed a radio show from a while back that talked about how the PRG rules at Mayfair in particular and other malls in general were unfair and meant to single out black youths. I don't believe this had anything to do with the events that occurred a few days later as very few kids listen to talk radio, the timing is just very interesting and ironic.

With the mob mess, it's my understanding that the girl stopped for shoplifting was able to get away.  I could be wrong on this, it's just a tidbit I heard.

Mayfair Mall will not be affected by this. I worked the evening shift on the following Monday and Tuesday and the parking lot was extremely busy. Their future expansion will happen and the mall will flourish.

The mall security did a super job.  Again no mall could have anticipated this and just the fact that no injuries happened and the relative quickness of stores being locked down should be a badge of honor for these guards, not some foil for discontents.

A just as big story which recently got some press was what happened outside the mall and on County Buses after what transpired in the mall.  I heard some buses were running hours late because of the disturbance further inconveniencing mall patrons and employees.

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