Clarification: This article is written to enlighten one common goal of the shopping malls and the casinos: How do you ‘lose’ money? The commonality, which would not change according to the perspectives of homo sapiens, is examined through the construction and operation of the two patterns. This comparison is made with an ordinary casino and a banal shopping mall. In addition to these, the ‘stories’ of the constructions will be told with a skaz narration technique in order to give the ‘friendly atmosphere’ of the artefeacts.
Let’s begin our journey. Let’s say that we are in Las Vegas. We wander around the city, where all of the entrance of the hotels are casinos. On the eye-catching billboards, there are commercials of the tonight’s shows; concerts, modern dances, musicals… Let’s get into one of the buildings. From the outside, the casino seems so magnificent, isn’t it? Oh, wow! How tall is this masterpiece? 200 m, 256 or 290 m? Howsoever, it is huge, bright, shiny… After the stun, let’s find the door. Oh, hello! There are some people outside, saluting and welcoming you. Nice! I think we already like this place. Okay, keep it together, but it is better inside! Shiny, so shiny… Bright. Definitely bright. And also, loud! The shiny machines are screaming for the winner! Someone is smiling big because he won. And from another corner, an old lady is coming towards to you, waving, and grumbling: Okay, I will try that one, pointing that screaming one… So, let me introduce you the short-term money saving games: blackjack, slot machines. These are designed to keep you there by giving the idea of ‘winning’. Try it. Put the coin, roll it. Well done! We have a winner. Shall we move on?
Baccarat, Pai Gow Poker, Craps; from one table to another… We are playing with the stamps provided by the casino, ‘no money needed’. We go deeper without even noticing that we are saying goodbye to daylight. Lights, more lights. Bright, glittery, shiny. Hey, wait a minute! Why we lost the sunshine? Oh, my dear, move on, who needs it! There is a roulette wheel where we can make some money.
Some time later, we travel from one machine to another, enjoying our time. But at some point, we ‘lose’ our luck. Thus, we lose money, kind of feeling off color. What time is it? Where is the clock? How long have we been here? Let me look at the outside. No windows? But the atmosphere is not that bad, isn’t it? The room temperature is okay. The air is clean… This is because the air is controlled according to the temperatures of ‘the visitors’ so that they do not feel be snowed under the pressure. Also, the visitors are also welcomed by the fresh air to be happy, energic and be pumped up to stay there. But, it does not bring luck, unfortunately. No luck, no fortune.
Much later, we decide to go. We think that it is probably late. We are looking for the exit. We raise our heads to check the ceilings but no sign. Because, there is none. Stay with them. But we are determined to go out. The machines are screaming the winners again! Keep going, keep going. There are some cozy couches, be surrounded by floor lamps, just like the living room. A nice music is on. There is little dance show on the stage. Look at the dancers, they are pretty good! “Oh hey, no, we did not order any drinks.” “No sir, it is offering from us.” Well, if you insist…
Now, let’s imagine ourselves at our home. The weather is so nice. Staying at home will be so unfortunate. Let’s value time and do something. What about shopping? Shopping is always a good idea. Because, we need stuff. But, what kind of stuff? C’mon, who cares? We need them, that is all we know! So, let’s go to the mall, 5 minutes away from our home. How lucky we are! It is a big mall, you know. Tall, very tall. The ornaments outside make it more captivating. The glazed doors open and a lovely smell and pleasant air come from inside. There are some people welcoming us, smiling. “Thank you.” When we get inside, all the colors welcome us. Wow, bright. The showcases are screaming discount! We are very lucky that we are here today. We might have missed this opportunity to get the thing with %20 discount. Let’s go deeper. Okay, one more shop with %40 discount. Good, this is good for this brand; it is so expensive normally. But today, we are lucky… “I will get this one.” “How will you pay?” “Credit Card.” Who needs money when we have the credit card? “Here is your package. Have a nice day.” Very kind. “Thank you”.
Where are we? Which floor? How far we get from the entrance? As we go deeper, it seems like we enter in a labyrinth. There are long-short, round, oval, rectangle corridors; ascending- descending ceilings. The ‘roads’ lead us somewhere in nowhere. Welcome to the restricted elective tour in the mall… We totally have no idea where we are. Move on, move on. More discount… From one shop to another, we get things. They are very important; do not ask! By the way, what time is it? No clock. Let’s check our phones. Wow, we have been here for three hours! Hey look, there is a guy playing piano. He is very talented… What is that noise? Hey shhh! “If you spend 250 dollars in total, you have a free ticket for the draw.” Very good.
“Are you hungry?” “Yes! Let’s go to the food courts!” There are different types of food to choose but as I read from the internet, this fast food restaurant has the best French fries! Let’s try it. And also, we can sit there and enjoy looking at people passing by. Oh, hey, there is a place for the kids. They will have so much fun! The temperature of the building is perfect. No sunburn or cold. It is spring, we can never be sure about the weather. No need for them to play in the gardens, something can bite them. Oh, I forgot to tell you; there is the cinema. While kids are playing on the playground, we can watch the latest movie of our favorite actor. This place provides us so many different opportunities. How nice of us to come here!
We are ‘kind of’ tired; not that ‘we are tired’ tired. Pretty sure you know that feeling. A little bit coffee will take us home. In the middle of the building, under the ‘blue sky’, provided by the brilliant lights on the ceiling, there are cozy-looking big chairs, little coffee tables, latest issue of the home décor and fashion magazine. Just like we need. So nice. We have coffee, music, the purchased items that are so essential. Enough. Let’s rest a little bit… “Wait, what? I wasn’t listening, sorry. Can you look at this showcase behind you? Did you see the shiny colors? So good! Are you done with your coffee? Let’s look at that.”
Finally, there it is! The exit. Oh, hey! Where is the sun? What time is it? Ha? Wow, it is so cold!
Well, thank you for your time. I guess we enjoyed both trips, right?
The comparison is done according to the atmosphere of both constructions. But, why the shopping malls can be called as postmodernist casinos? This idea is based on losing money in both systems. It is very difficult to calculate the money you lost or win in the casino. The idea of winning is always charming and the risk becomes worthy to take. Every time, it can be more. It is the same for the shopping malls; mostly you do not know how much money you spend with that card until you get the abstract of account. The casinos seem like a preference to be visited, not legal in everywhere. However, the shopping malls are ‘very’ legal in everywhere, by the way. You can build one wherever and whenever you want.
In the postmodernist life that we live, change is needed in most of the systems. Life is adapted according to the ‘needs’ of the time. Big or small, there is a continuous flow of changes or versions of once usual things. Which adaptations are we aware of? And which ones are the ‘sneaky’ ones?
Most of them are making us to question the truth. Before we knew it, the truth vanished off the face of the earth. Right now, we are trying to find our reality among the replicated ones, at least some of us. The others accepted the replica long time ago without realizing it. The shopping mall example can give you the idea of the fake world. Everything inside the building are designed to keep you there. It is like you are wandering around the city. All you ‘need’ is there. At this point, ask yourself this question: what do I need and why? Nowadays, spending the money you do not have (Credit card balance is not ‘your money’ by the way, if no one ever told you this) give you a joy that most of us have no idea where it is coming from. Can you find a logical reason for this? Why do you feel happy when you incur a debt? At this point, some can state that it is the outcome of supply and demand. Okay, how could a person demand the nonconcrete, out of his/her world, thing and how can you supply that thing for them?
Comparing shopping mall with casino can give you an idea how ‘instant happiness’ affect your decisions. Is it different from shopping? The glamorous life within the casino for galere is more reachable for the others within the shopping mall. It gave the opportunity to change the reality for the other people. Their reality became the replicas of the reality, which they can barely afford. Okay, is it a choice that you can reject? Can you say that I do not want to be a part of this world?
The answer is yours.