Shopping malls came into their own after the Second World War, when more people than ever before started living in urban areas. Walk-in malls, strip malls, megamalls - there are as many types of malls as there are shopping requirements. There are malls with car parks, childcare, casinos, movie theaters, mini amusement parks, zoos...just about everything you could want in a single area and more.
A trip to the shopping mall can become an excursion for the entire family. Kids remain glued to the toy train display or aquarium in the supervised kids' corner while you shop at leisure. You can buy a dress for yourself, a necktie for your partner, aromatic candles for your colleagues, chocolates for the kids, a cell phone for parents, and a lot more. The best part about shopping malls is that you don't have to drive from store to store to buy different things. Imagine being snug and dry inside the mall as it pours outside. That is another reason people prefer covered shopping malls to stores in open areas. There is no fear of getting caught in bad weather.
Of course, not all shopping malls have the sheer scale and grandeur of the gigantic Mall of America, which is home to more than 500 stores. This mall is like a mini-city, and the government thinks so too, because MOA has its own zip code! Even if you visit a more modest shopping mall closer to your home or workplace, chances are, you will be shopping in more comfort than any of your previous generations did.
For example, a strip mall, while less attractive in terms of the number of branded goods stores and high end boutiques, has essential items that you would need for an ordinary day - groceries, makeup, video rental, even food counters. A strip mall may not be located inside a closed building, but it is usually located closer to major urban areas, so getting there should not be a problem. In addition, if you do visit the strip mall, remember to use public transport, or you may need to walk across many blocks after parking your car.
Shopping malls also serve another, less visible purpose. They are good at chasing the blues away. Whether you are upset over exam grades, workplace gossip, or a breakup with your partner, walking through the glitzy, crowded malls, with teeming life and people and music, can ease your sadness to some extent. Millions of women, and some men, swear by retail therapy at malls. There's nothing like buying yourself a nice dress or new shoes to make you feel better about yourself. Shopping malls offer you to chance to do that in comfort. Seems too consumerist or shallow? If you don't want to splurge, shopping malls offer you the comfort of window shopping. That is one reason many people like to visit these shopping areas, much to the dismay of many mall owners. The traditional brick-and-mortar shopping complex is under threat from online stores and e-commerce. They are here to stay - at least for now.