In lieu of my usual polemics I would like to share an incident that happened to me and a friend at the Cache Valley Mall.
A dear friend wanted to take me out to lunch for my birthday. He would be out of town on my actual birthday, so we decided on this past Saturday for lunch. I do not want to use my friend’s name, so I will refer to him by a pseudonym that should adequately hide his identity. I will call him Skyler Miggs.
Skyler wanted to take me to the new Winger’s at the Cache Valley Mall. My previous experience at this Winger’s was bad. I went there with friends back in April to watch a basketball game and we were altogether ignored for 20 minutes whilst sitting at the bar. Not even one hello. We walked out.
But, Mr. Miggs was treating and I am a very forgiving man. Winger’s it would be.
The lunch was fine. Nothing amazing. We finished about 1:10 PM. Another friend was going to meet up with us at 1:30 in the parking lot and we three were going to travel together to Idaho to buy good beer and lottery tickets. I do that often. Perhaps you have read some of my previous columns where I discuss giving Idaho my money because Utah frowns upon my life choices.
Skyler suggested we walk through the mall to kill off the remaining 20 minutes. We did so. We pointed at the various stores and discussed the current state of retail shopping in America. Mr. Miggs told multiple stories about the mall’s history before I had moved to Utah in 2004. Riveting.
As Skyler went to use the bathroom, I stood at the intersection of the two hallways and took a video I planned on posting on Instagram. Many people that follow me on ‘Gram are from back East. I like sharing photographs and videos of my life out here with them back there.
And this is where things got weird.
A man came at me from the direction of the Kay Jewelers and confronted me. I still am unaware if this man was the manager of that business or of the mall entirely. He informed me that, for security reasons, taking pictures or videos of the mall was prohibited. He then rudely informed me that I could be sued for taking a video.
I was unaware of any prohibitions on picture taking. A simple explanation said to me respectfully would have sufficed. He could have said this:
“Excuse me, sir. The mall has a policy that disallows the taking of pictures or videos. Would you kindly delete that video?”
I would have acquiesced immediately, no matter how trifling I would have found the request. But he did not do that. He admonished me. Me and Skyler had just frequented the mall and gave them our business and this man spoke to me like I was a puppy that pooed on the rug.
In the nanosecond that I computed every possible reply to this shockingly rude and unnecessary demand, I gave serious thought to laying a boatload of my notorious South Philly “attytood” on him. I abstained. I simply said, “I will delete it.” I then placed my phone in my pocket and walked towards the front entrance quietly.
Mr. Miggs met me halfway to the front doors and I informed him that I was just scolded for taking a video in the mall. I was relaying the story to him as the front sliding doors opened and we were exiting the mall when someone behind us called for our attention. It was the mall security guard. He informed me that taking videos and photographs in the mall was prohibited and they could sue us for doing so.
Both of us lost it. As Mr. Miggs started asking him who he was to speak to us like that, I raised my rather loud voice to a high decibel. In my frothy indignation I informed the mall cop that my name is Harry Caines and this incident would be the subject of my next column.
And here it is!
Let it be known to the employees of the Cache Valley Mall and everyone else on Planet Earth that when you anger me, I will do what I tell you I will do.
At this point, I committed the one act in this incident that I regret. I told the mall cop to give a message to the manager who had sicced him on us after I already walked away from him. I cannot quote exactly what I said because CVD is a family-friendly newspaper.
I should not have done that. I was angry for being upbraided twice within a span of two minutes for an innocuous violation of this little-known policy. I was ignited to volatility by being stopped 12 inches and 3 seconds away from leaving the building. Neither man needed to be rude, and the second man could have allowed us to leave the mall, which was already happening. He stopped us because he felt it a duty to chide two adult men who were neither dangerous nor confrontational. Our backs were turned and we were leaving.
Why did I share this story? Because I often lament the lack of business vitality in Logan. I berate Cache Valley elected politicians for continuing to ignore this problem. Many Cache Valley Mall businesses are struggling. Stores in there close too frequently. The mall was nearly empty on the Saturday afternoon that this incident took place.
And the only action that two employees of that mall could find to be appropriate to a customer taking a video was to give a laughably feckless threat of a lawsuit for an act easily rectified with kinder words.
I have no intention of giving any business located in the Cache Valley Mall my money again. And I hope someone that reads this column on CVD, or through social networking, will share this story with people associated with the mall.
My plan is to share this column with Mayor Holly Daines, Logan City Council Members, and a few other select people with a concentrated interest in what happens to people that are treated poorly when spending money within the Logan city limits.
Maybe I will do more. Or, maybe I will just allow this column to speak for itself. And it is very much possible that this column will just fade away, forgotten and irrelevant…just like the Cache Valley Mall.