Lessons learned on a solo trip to Christiana Mall today:
1. If at all possible, go to the mall in the middle of the morning on a weekday. The staff is way more attentive and cheerful. The stores are also not staffed by angsty teenagers. Speaking of angsty teenagers, there are very few of those roaming the mall at this time slot as well, which is always a plus.
2. If you wander into a store in which you are genuinely interested but can't afford anything at the moment, don't reject the overtures of the staff, especially if said store franchised within the last 5 years and moved to the mall in the last 2 months. They will give you FREE stuff. I now have an entire tub of natural, handmade facewash just because I let the lady talk. Retail value: $12.95.
3. Mall drivers are THE WORST. Enough said.
4. Upon entering a store, if you are not looking for an extremely specific season-sensitive item, proceed directly to the back. Having worked in a mall store, I can tell you that the merchandise on the sale racks at the back of the store is usually only a few weeks old but carries way more than a few weeks' worth of discount. $10 Ann Taylor sweater, anyone?
5. Ducking into Teavana for the sole purpose of picking up a free sip or two of tea is really awkward when you're the only customer in the store, making the staff to customer ratio 2 to 1. Pretend to browse really expensive teapots to diffuse the awkwardness, although, if you do this, you run the risk of being tempted by the seriously discounted gorgeous teacups in the back. Remind yourself that you DO NOT need another teacup, and deal with the awkward glances from the staff as you exit.
6. If an attractive-in-a-euro-metrosexual-kind-of-way man at a hand cream kiosk approaches you and says, "Ma'am, can I ask you a question?", say no. Smile while you do it, but say no. Firmly. Then duck into the store you were heading for, which happens to be right across from the kiosk, and listen as his kiosk partner berates him in Italian for getting rejected. Stride quickly and purposefully towards the back of the store. (See lesson number 4.)
It was a productive, rather educational morning.