“It’s not really an outlet. It’s just another mall.”
These words slipped out of the mouth of a middle aged woman, one bearing a disappointed expression as she hurriedly walked past all the stores, her wallet clutched tightly her chest and her eyes averted to the ground.
As two fellow shopaholics who require daily retail therapy, it is heartbreaking to admit that she’s actually right.
My sister and I had been planning our latest excursion to the brand new Tanger outlet mall for weeks; brimming with both anticipation and eagerness, we loaded into my mom’s Toyota Camry last weekend with high hopes and a wallet stuffed with cash.
Needless to say, we were a little disappointed.
The glistening billboard near the entrance is sprinkled with highly-esteemed brands such as Gucci and Ralph Lauren; the prestigious name brands danced along the edge of our minds and made us grasp our debit cards just a little bit tighter. However, the sparkle and shine that the billboard promised us was instantly replaced by the sound of mechanical humming coming from cranes And forklifts. The sight was a construction gold mine; dozens of construction workers dressed in bright orange vests bustled around on the sidewalk , as if the highly anticipated outlet mall wasn’t already crowded enough. The luxurious image that had been implanted in our minds thanks to the thousands of TV ads and posters had been tainted within minutes. Just as the cranes lowered further into our ground, so did our expectations.
The Tanger outlet mall proudly displays its dozens of name brand stores, all neatly lined up next to one another like a set of villas. My sister and I nearly tripped over our own two feet as we sprinted into the Michael Kors store, thirsty for a bargain and eager to locate the best deals. We smelled blood and we were going in for the kill. However, It didn’t seem as if the word “deal” was even in their vocabulary. With each flip of the price tag, a pang of depression shot through our hearts and it was evident that there was no hope to be had. The Tanger outlet mall tends to cater to sophisticated women with sophisticated jobs and sophisticated incomes. My sister and I are 12th grade students who have had to supply our shopping addiction with nothing more than a minimum wage job and money we managed to save from last Christmas.
Now, my sister and I don’t want to come across as pessimistic teens who only know how to complain. The Tanger outlet has its good and bad moments; there seems to be a light at the end of the tunnel. There seems to be a tiny glimmer of hope peeking through the jungle of expensive price tags and overcrowded walkways. Both innovative and modernistic, Tanger proves to know its place in the 21st century. The dazzling billboards and interactive maps sprinkled throughout the Outlet make the mall a little easier to navigate and a little less intimidating. With sparkling clean bathrooms and amiable, outgoing staff, Tanger sure knew what it was doing regarding that aspect.
A couple hours after making our rounds through the outlet, my sister and I retreated back to our car, shopping bags stuffed with a few new purchases and crumbled receipts. Just as both of our wallets are a little lighter and seem to be missing something, so do our hearts. There seems to be a void from our latest shopping expedition that a new pair of shoes simply won’t fix. Previously filled with high hopes and exciting expectations, the cold hard reality came smashing down on us. Tanger outlets simply missed the mark; ultimately, my sister and I arrived at the disappointing conclusion that it is, in fact, just another mall. And although it pains us to proclaim this, we think we’ll be sticking to Woodland.