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Oh, SmAlbany!

Daily posts and occasional longer essays about politics, culture, and life in the Capital Region...updated M-F, midmorning

"I write this not as a booster of Albany, which I am, nor an apologist for the city, which I sometimes am, but rather as a person whose imagination has become fused with a single place, and in that place finds all the elements that a man ever needs..." -W. Kennedy, from O Albany!

More on the mall-ing age...

As hard to enforce as the new mall-ing age at Crossgates is going to be, I actually think it's a pretty good idea. Or at least one that can be reasoanbly debated. A letter to the editor in today's TU, however, decided to debate it without any reason. Let's break this one down piece by piece:
This is the last straw. I have sat back over the last couple of years and watched as the concept of accountability has nearly vanished and the punishment of all has superseded the need to correct the actions of a few.
What a way to start a letter that is ultimately about the shopping age at the local mall. It may or may not be true that the "concept of accountability" is "vanishing" in society and that "the punishment of all has superseded the need to correct the actions a few." But whatever she is referring to here - the Bush administration, overregulation of life, the fall of the American republic - it just can't be "last straw" when Crossgates puts in a shopping age restriction. And if it can, your priorities are really out of whack.
Now, my son, who for the first 16 years of his life has been taught manners, respect and common sense cannot go to Crossgates Mall on a weekend night without an adult escort. He has a full life that involves more worthwhile activities than just hanging around. When he asks for a ride to the mall, I know it's to either attend a movie with a friend, possibly get a quick bite at the food court beforehand, or to buy a pair of obscenely high priced sneakers.
Well, the new policy specifically allows him to go to the movies, and there are a bunch of eateries by the theaters, so that's a moot point. On the other hand, if he buys insanely priced sneakers as often as he goes to the movies, he will have a problem. But doesn't that belie the opening sentence - that the son has good manners and common sense?
In instituting its new teen escort policy, the Pyramid Companies, owner of Crossgates, has opted to take the easy route and punish everyone for the mistakes of a few.
Actually, i think they've made a common strategic calculation: the money lost from teens buying insanely-priced sneakers on friday night will be more than recouped by the new expenditures of adults who stopped going to the mall because it had turned into a zoo on weekend nights. The idea that they are punishing some people probably never crossed their mind - they're interested in revenue for their stores, not making particular people happy.
I see this move as very short-sighted. Just as surely as the offenders will certainly find another place to wreak their havoc, the teens who just want to go out on a date or go shopping will be forced into other options.
Well, sure. They'll have to go to either another mall or to another business. Unless they want to go to a movie, then they can still go to Crossgates. But it's true - Crossgates has turned it's back on the teen shopping-date. Those days are over.
Every store or entertainment venue at Crossgates can easily be replaced with comparable options offered elsewhere throughout the Capital Region. Possibly these establishments outside the mall will see this as an opportunity to welcome these good kids and their money. I know that I will also be seeking to spend my money elsewhere.
This misses the whole point. 80% of the store owners at the mall are in favor of the ban. That must mean that they think they can make more money with the ban in place - businesses run on a pure profit motive. Furthermore, people don't go to Crossgates because it has unique stores. They go there because it is convenient to go to lots of stores at the same time. I'm pretty sure that you could get better prices and better customer service if you went to stores around the capital region instead of crossgates. What they are pushing there is convenience and efficiency of your shopping time. That's the whole collective point of the mall.

And that's the key point of the ban - if adults who are going to spend money don't think it's convenient to go to Crossgates, then Crossgates loses all of its appeal. Banning teenagers on the weekend nights helps to do maintain that appeal. Case closed from the business point of view.

But she's also got the wrong idea with her boycott. If she takes all her business away from Crossgates, it looks like a recession. She needs to continue to shop there on the non-ban hours, so that her boycott of the ban hours produces a local dip in the sales figures. That way it becomes evident that the ban is going bad, not just the general economy of the mall.

And seriously, though. Has this parent ever been to Crossgates on Friday night?
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At 9:05 AM , Anonymous Anonymous said:

As I have tried to go shopping at Crossgates on a Friday night, I can attest to the fact that the place is a zoo of aimlessly wandering teenagers, who are pushing and shoving and using foul language. It is an extremely unpleasant place to be. I wouldn't want my 16 year old to be there.    

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