Journal

Grumpy Penguin and Walking on the Right side of the Mall [Do it]


  Aging is a gradual process that slowly and subtly converts us from who we were to who we are. It is ceaseless and its push sends us inexorably forward without care for our health or sanity. Even if you like the person you were you will inevitably become who you are.

  Some things though stick with us throughout generations and occasionally those things will grow harder and more grating. For me it is efficiency, I cannot stand when people act in ways that are not in their best interest. There are some examples of bad ideas that people like like smoking or heavy drinking but I mean more the problems where something could be good for you but people do it stupidly.

  Today we’ll just cover malls. We recently went to the mall to get some cheesecake from a factory that churns out the stuff. We went during the after lunch hours of a work day which meant that the building was mostly empty. But even in this state of emptiness it still suffered from congestion at multiple points and literally all of this congestion was caused by one thing.

  thisseemsright

  It is peculiar to me that people find it acceptable to walk on the left side against the flow in a shopping mall. There is a grand reason why you cannot drive on either side of the road as you please. It just doesn’t work. In an automobile obviously it is incredibly dangerous which is why it is illegal. But what about malls? What benefit is their to people walking whatever direction they like?

  It’s a bit of a strange benefit and it exists solely for the businesses. You might not realize it but it is largely by design. If you have everyone walk in the same direction they can move throughout the mall at breakneck speeds. This is a problem because the vendors in the center and the shops themselves need you to see their products. Sure you’ll get where you actually want to be faster but what you want doesn’t matter.

  If malls allow people to walk wherever they want they create much higher levels of congestion. If you want to know just how big of a different it is look at high population areas in the US. How many of them use two way roads instead of one way roads? Yes, exactly, it is that big of a congestion relaxant.

  That high level of congestion is likely to stop you dead often and in that time you will try to pad your time. Perhaps you’ll spend the extra few seconds that are necessary for a vendor to bring you up from 10% response rates to 60%. Perhaps you’ll notice a sale on pants that you would have otherwise walked past. Or even you’ll notice that a store you somewhat like is much less congested than the walkway.

  What bothers me is not that malls want this to happen. What bothers me is that people don’t know better. I’ve watched people physically push through dozens of people just so that they can walk against the flow of traffic. People on the right side of the road (as it were) are not pressing through people and they are moving much faster.

  With aging I am finding myself less and less accepting of this behavior. When I see people walking against the flow of traffic it stresses me out because I want to shake them and just ask them what the hell is going through their head. They are willing to inconvenience dozens (to hundreds in some malls) of people in a matter of minutes just because they refuse to take 6 steps to their right.

  Malls even come equipped with a turn lane in between all of the vendors. They are literally designed like a road and yet people go wild.

  I don’t know. Boggles my mind. I’ll leave it at that. If you are in the mall, please, walk on your right. It will get you everywhere faster, it’ll impede the least amount of people possible, and that kind of thought process can lead to a better world. Living smarter and nicer all at the same time.