Brief mention: malls

Caught in an episode of Common Law, cop says of a contractor that he builds malls. The contractor objects mildly:

The marketing people prefer to call them open-air retail centers.

(Plenty of ghits. Open-air retail markets can also be found.)

Mall is the common ordinary-language term, and that’s probably why some marketing people don’t like it: it’s too informal, unserious, down-market.

(Earlier posting on mall semantics here.)



2 Responses to “Brief mention: malls”

  1. the ridger Says:

    I don’t get it. To me a mall is explicitly not “open-air”.

    • arnold zwicky Says:

      There’s considerable variation in usage here, some of it noted in my earlier posting on mall semantics. My own preferred usage is like yours, with “shopping center” for open-air collections of shops and “mall” for enclosed ones. (That’s undercut by the now-fixed expression “strip mall”, where there’s no enclosure from the elements but the shops are attached to one another. So for people like us, a strip mall isn’t a mall.) I believe that for some people, (open-air) shopping centers came to be viewed as more down-market than (enclosed) malls, a distinction that led the people who build and market these collections to prefer “mall” for all of them.

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