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Given to me by my boss at a customer experience consulting firm Underhill has some great, if not obvious, insights He writes well and knows how to tell a story which, for an academic consultant, is not always a given I read the book all the way through and agreed with most of it, though I bristled with some of the generalizations mostly those having to do with gender A good read for anyone who is iterested in malls as public spaces. A surprisingly good book I got this one from the shelf at work It is an entirely merciless review of everything done right and wrong by malls American and worldwide from the retailing point of view Quick, well written, and full of lines to make you smile. Since I loved book Why We Buy so much, I was looking forward to another from Underhill But this one just isn t as interesting A lot of history of the shopping mall and commentary on it as a social phenomenon The book is best when Underhill takes along fellow shoppers three teens, a middle aged man and just lets the tape run The rest is a bit of a yawn.
Pretty essential reading for anyone who wants to do some deep thinking or writing about our shopaholic culture and the temples we built to it Not a social harangue mostly anecdotal anthropology Some of it seems obvious and a lot of it revealing in a new way. This has been on my list for so long that it was satisfying to finally find it Then it was a satisfying read too It felt outdated, even with the chapter on post mall culture, but not so outdated that I don t remember mall culture well and with a mixture of fondness and annoyance The most memorable item Perfume counters are located in most department stores in their front and center location because they were used to block out the horse smell from the streets way back when. Paco Underhill wants to take a little walk with you through the local mall, to see it with his eyes the eyes of a retail anthropologist and marketing strategist who scrutinizes malls as the environments they were built to be shopping arenas Born amid the automobile guided infrastructure buildout of the 1950s, shopping malls have been the crown jewel of American consumerism, dedicated spaces of recreational consumption of goods The walk, which begins in the parking lot and travels through t Paco Underhill wants to take a little walk with you through the local mall, to see it with his eyes the eyes of a retail anthropologist and marketing strategist who scrutinizes malls as the environments they were built to be shopping arenas Born amid the automobile guided infrastructure buildout of the 1950s, shopping malls have been the crown jewel of American consumerism, dedicated spaces of recreational consumption of goods The walk, which begins in the parking lot and travels through the cavernous mall s innards, going even down the twisty hallways into the hidden bathrooms, takes reader on a guided tour of the territory, where even toilets don t escape scrutiny The Call of the Mall is a little business history, a little social musing, and a little advertising marketing examination Writtenfor consumers than business students, it s an entertaining account that offers most another perspective on shopping malls.Although Underbill spends most of his working life walking around malls, his feelings regarding them are mixed He seems to enjoy them the long stretches of flat marble or tile, air conditioned walks down channels filled with eye catching displays and eveneye catching people but his job requires being both appreciative and critical Throughout the mall tour, Underhill s perspective reveals that for all their flashiness, malls do a lot things badly Music stores, for instance, have gone downhill since records gave way to CDs, because record sleeves could be used as eye catching displays CD covers are as useful for displays seen at a distance as postage stamps Underhill is also surprised that no store has ever considered using the mall restrooms as a display area for its own equipment but considering how much volume mall toilets get, would any retailer want to chance his toilet being associated with badly maintained restrooms There are greater problems, too, unavoidable consequences of the malls status as artifacts of suburbia Malls are in fact very artificial environments, little island awash in a sea of pavements A lot of their foot traffic is from teenagers who are there because they have nothing else to do suburban teens have no place outside of home and school to go to Underhill makes the point repeatedly that malls are limited by their environment.In revealing what malls don t do well, Underhill also points out their strengths, and explains to readers, uniitated shoppers, why they might work the way they do He points out, for instance, that the spaces near entrances and exits are consigned as low rent One would think otherwise considering they receive greater traffic than the interior of the mall, but Underhill comments that as people are entering a store, they need space to adjust, to adapt to their new environment As they are making the transition, their mind ignores the first few stores they pass He also elaborates on some of the strategies that the real estate giants who own the malls employ when deciding who rents what space different stores have different markets, and there are dynamics to be taken into consideration A low end and a high end jewelry store side by side can enhance one another s business Underhill goes into several stores to scrutinize their specific practices he comments on the high end jewelry store s physical additions, for instance, how they use a black brick facade to minimize window space, sending a clear message of exclusivity to hoi polloi outside who can t afford 80,000 necklaces.Shopping malls are a mixed bag, an experiment in retailing that may change as time passes, or may fail entirely Demographics are changing, writes Underbill, as is technology online stores are giving brick and mortar or in suburban cases, plywood and concrete an increasingly hard time, and this work was penned ten years ago, beforePrime and similar services The Call of the Mall will probably frustrate marketing students looking for a catalog of tricks of the trade, because while Underbill offers general suggestions and reveals a few practices, he s not going to give away the farm considering he makes a living as a consultant helping businesses organize their physical space For the ordinary person on the street or in the aisles The Call of the Mall is an entertaining look into the workings of places we might spend a lot of our time in Chatty informativeA good text for estranging the mall experience The informal tone was fun but tended toward making the overall readlike an extended opinion piece I m left wondering why the mall theater experience a small section of the book overall isn t better. *E-PUB ⇧ Call of the Mall: The Geography of Shopping ⇻ The author of the international bestseller Why We Buy praised by The New York Times as a book that gives this underrated skill the respect it deserves now takes us to the mall, a place every American has experienced and has an opinion aboutPaco Underhill, the Margaret Mead of shopping and author of the huge international bestseller Why We Buy, now takes us to the mall, a place every American has experienced and has an opinion about The result is a bright, ironic, funny, and shrewd portrait of the mall America s gift to personal consumption, its most powerful icon of global commercial muscle, the once new and now aging national town square, the place where we convene in our leisure time It s about the shopping mall as an exemplar of our commercial and social culture, the place where our young people have their first taste of social freedom and where the rest of us compare notes Call of the Mall examines how we use the mall, what it means, why it works when it does, and why it sometimes doesn t Relatively well written and does have some interesting insights regarding the retail industry, but some of the conversations throughout the book are rather dull and dare I say pointless Additionally, the sexism in some chapters was unsettling. An interesting read, but dated Published in 2004, before the introduction of the iPhone and other smart phones, a lot of the information and conclusions do not really apply to shopping today The history of the development of the shopping mall was informative.