Synopses & Reviews
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 about.
Paco Underhill, the Margaret Mead of shopping, has run hundreds of research assignments in malls across the country (and in Tokyo and European capitals). He has visited them, observed his fellow mall-ers, looked long and hard for his car in mammoth parking lots, chatted up the staffers, gone hunting for jeans with adolescent girls and anniversary shopping with guys.
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.
Call of the Mall is about desire and buying lingerie, about why the same camel hair coat costs twice as much in the women's department as it does in the boys'. It's about why shoes, handbags, and cosmetics are clustered, why Cartier is next to cut-rate, and why the movie theater is hard to find.
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.
Visiting the mall with Paco Underhill is a surprising and insightful tour through the American crossroads. Why We Buy changed the way we watch ourselves shop. Call of the Mall will deepen our understanding of how we live, work, play, and spend.
"You might not think a book about shopping malls would be so vastly informative and entertaining, but this one is, and everyone who has ever set foot inside a mall ought to read it." Booklist (Starred Review)
"Underhill does a thorough and sometimes amusing survey of just about every aspect of a mall one could imagine." The Washington Post
"Call of the Mall explains why we shop 'til we drop all in one spot." Lauren Weisberger, author of The Devil Wears Prada
"Call of the Mall is a delightful romp through one of America's most socially telling and economically important phenomena. The book establishes Paco Underhill, already one of our premier marketing gurus, as a heavyweight social commentator. I didn't know how little I knew about this centerpiece of our culture." Tom Peters, author of Re-imagine!
"A most amusing and unique view of the mall culture. A fascinating look at its customers, retailers, and mall developers. Once again, Paco Underhill has broken new ground with his thought provoking insights. Well done." John B. Menzer, Executive Vice President and President/CEO, International Division, Wal-Mart Stores, Inc.
"[F]or this reader, Call of the Mall
's unique contribution to the field if not exactly its pleasure is less the sociological analysis than the shock of personal recognition Underhill provokes as he lasers in on some unexamined moments in modern life. Only a retail specialist could be so attuned to the human condition in all its shabby, formless boredom..." Sandra Tsing Loh, The Atlantic Monthly
(read the entire Atlantic Monthly review
Paco 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.
About the Author
A leading expert and pioneer on consumer behavior, Paco Underhill is the founder and CEO of Envirosell, Inc., a global research and consulting firm. His clients include Saks Fifth Avenue, Gap, Hallmark, the U.S. Postal Service, Wal-Mart, and Starbucks. Underhill has been profiled on 20/20 and 48 Hours, featured in The New Yorker, Fortune, and Fast Company, and is a regular contributor to NPR and many publications, including The Wall Street Journal and The New York Times. His previous book, Why We Buy, was an international bestseller and has been translated into eighteen foreign languages. Underhill is based in New York but spends a third of the year on the road.
Table of Contents
1 America Shops
2 You Are Here
3 A Mouse Hole
4 Dude, Where's My Car?
5 Why Malls Fear Freedom
6 I Brake for Meanderthals
7 Nose and Toes
8 Sex and the Mall
9 The Charmin Challenge
10 Status Anxiety and Back Pockets
12 Hands-Free Shopping
13 Pushcarts Rule
14 Mall Cuisine
15 Breakfast at Cartier
16 A Man and His Mall
17 Who Is Your Dad?
18 Malls of the World
19 Where the Girls Are
20 The Mall Touch
21 Short Hills or Seoul?
22 Other Venues
23 Scenes from a Mall
24 The Postmall World