Mall Goths, as they are most commonly referred, are an endangered species amongst the mall rat population. Their rapidly dwindling numbers make the sighting almost picture worthy so that they may serve as a cautionary account for our future generations.
It was February 2011 and I stood at the jewelry wall with my assistant, Clint, mindlessly stocking earrings. My grandfather had been recently admitted into the hospital for the third time in a month, and my mind and body were exhausted from the reeling anxiety that came from this journey to his end. Clint and I went back for several years, through several store locations, at this point he was my rock.
Our heartfelt conversation was interrupted by the rare sighting of a customer on a Tuesday afternoon in our store. Even more extraordinary is this customer appeared much like a mall goth in our outdoor lifestyle mall. The woman was stick thin and pale. Her long black gown lingered in tatters past her feet to the ground. The sleeves long and the neck high, and her long frazzled hair hung beyond her shoulders. She wore very little make up, which was quite unique for her variety of mall walker, and her stance was crouched. She made each move with much grace, arms slowly rising to shoulder length forward and backward with each bobbing stride.
In a raspy, high pitched voice she spoke her face unmoving, revealing no emotions. “Do you have anything…Wiccan?” On her final word she raised one hand and looked at it as if she were Hamlet displaying the infamous skull from the catacombs.
I rolled my eyes, “Wiccan” to a mall goth meant pentacle necklaces and dragon earrings, “No ma’am, I suggest you go to Hot Topic or Spencer’s.”
Growing up I had many friends who were Wiccan curious, and through that I had gained much knowledge of the power of gemstones, candle magik, the Tarot, and the power of incense. On my travels through Salem during the psychic festival two years before I was very aware of the Earth Goddess, as I myself donned a Sterling Silver goddess on my chest, revealing a pale purple amethyst planted in her belly. Was I Wiccan? No. Did I find a fascination with their culture, who wouldn’t?
She decided she would pursue the aisles anyway, never changing from her poised rhythmic pace. upon turing down each aisle, she would remain in a squat, her left leg in front of her right, and wave her arms with great finesse as if taking in each aisle with some invisible force. Still with her strange dance of outstretched arms and flimsy wrists she spoke, “You have much more Wiccan than you know.” As she spoke she took her arms outstretched before her and spread them as if revealing the entire essence of our shop.
As she found various items, such as gemstones, incense, and pagan symbols she would bring each one to the register, Clint and I trying everything we could to muffle our laughter. It wasn’t so much what she was saying, but instead the dramatic dark flair she constructed around every simple movement.
The sale was a large one, and of course the yellow shopping bag hanging form her arm standing in strong contrast to her dark garb she gave one final dramatic display with her body as she spoke, “I shall return!”
Just like that she was gone, leaving with the title earned of one of my favorite customers of all time. She proved herself far more legitimate than your run of the mill Mall Goth.