Whether they be stacked or stripped, Malls have made many notable contributions to the lives of maxed out, credit card carrying North Americans. Malls are where the art of loitering is refined, questionable Santas are given jobs, Flash Mobs prey upon the weak & minimum wage serfs make up the now legendary 99%. Without these mini villages built on consumerism and convenience, we would not have been introduced to the refined comedic shenanigans of Paul Blart.
Truly, the Mall should have its place in the Smithsonian.
Back in 1974, someone struck gold when they theorized that these herds of shoppers may want to rest their weary feet and at the same time quickly refuel before continuing on their vision quest to Old Navy or Kohl’s. Thus, the Food Court was born.
The Food Court is the Malls take on Disney’s “It’s a Small World” ride. There’s a broad spectrum of ethnicity offered, there’s ridiculously awful music pumped in over speakers and you get blank robotic stares from the employees.
Truly there is something for everyone. That’s as long as that something is deep fried or on a stick. Of course I may be exaggerating a tad. I know the fast food industry continuously develops new and exciting items that are quick to prepare and consume, thus getting our ever growing assets in and out of those plastic seats quicker than ever.
As Black Friday is almost upon us, here are some Tips to maximizing your time spent at the Court. This is for the true shopper. They, the few who brave the crowds starting from the wee hours of the morning and keep on trucking right up until either the Mall closes or their legs and/or hearts give out.
If you thought the lines to get into the Mall were crazy, try overtaking the last Food Court seat available from an elderly lady with a cane while balancing a bucket of Panda Express on a plastic tray. None shall pass.
- Stores welcome people carrying in beverages like a China Shop enjoys a tour bus full of Bulls pulling up outside their establishment. To avoid scowls and possible banishment bring one of those camel packs used by marathon runners and mountain bike folk. Asking a Barista from Starbucks to pour a Venti double shot into one of these would probably be a welcomed change of pace from doling out Grande Skinny Egg Nog lattes all day to Soccer Moms.
- If you are in the midst of peak Food Court saturation, you cannot take a spare seat up with your shopping bags. Placing a wig, novelty glasses and clothing on top of said pile may trick a few and buy you some time, but ultimately you will probably get doused with an Orange Julius.
- Most Food Court tables are sturdy enough to support up to two leashed children comfortably. However if said kids have ingested any discernible amount of sugar beforehand, say free candy canes from a Mall Santa, then there is no guarantee it will hold. Also remember to give them just enough lead so that they can scavenge off other tables or if a cute child, possibly make out very well on handouts.
- You may notice that the Court appears to be filled with at least 25% of teenagers who appear to all be sharing the same order from New York Fries. This is not true. In fact, the true percentage is closer to 75%. Do not attempt to have them kicked out. You are the old man from Pixar’s “UP” and they are any one of the vicious gangs from “the Warrior”. You will be asked to come out and play in the underground parkade, where your 10,000 helium balloons, trusty Asian sidekick or talking dog can’t help you.
- If you are wearing anything white and even if you did not receive dipping sauce, gravy or soy sauce with your order, Food Court law dictates that you will end up adorning some type of stain via condiment. Stick to earth tones or full body hazmat suit.
- If an employee slips you a note in your burger that reads “Please help me escape!!” do the right thing and report it to his Manager right away. Nine times out of ten you will be rewarded with a complimentary beverage size upgrade or free nacho cheese topping bonus.
- Sitting directly across from a stranger and trying to eat your meal comfortably is impossible. It would be easier to give that person an oil soaked back massage by candlelight while his/her immediate family watches then to consume a tray of Nachos Supreme with inevitable awkward eye contact. This is often why you see sporadic empty chairs in the sea of Mall munching masses or an introverted shopper chowing down on a Mama Burger in a phone booth.
- If you have been on your feet for any extended length of time and the dogs are barking, purchase two large Slush Puppies and pour out onto plastic serving trays. Deposit your sweaty, aching footsies and enjoy a quick spa like refresher at a very low price. Wipe excess Puppy with free lemony fresh wipes obtained from KFC and you’re on your way to attack additional Black Friday sales!
I hope some or all of these tips will help make your Black Friday Food Court experience less daunting. Or you could always just stay in the comfort of your toasty warm abode, order a pizza for delivery to your door and do all this shopping online.
But then you would be depriving yourself that magical Black Friday Holiday experience of sleep deprivation, stress and muscle strain fueled by a Pretzel Dog.