Jennifer Derrick has this post at Personal Finance Advice: Stores – Machines designed to separate me from my money.

A snippet:

When we walked into the store, my first thought was, literally, “Holy Crap,” with an emphasis on the crap. I’ve been to WalMart many times in my life and, before I became more frugal and environmentally conscious, was a regular shopper there. But over the years I’ve gotten to where I go there maybe four times per year. The place shouldn’t have surprised me the way it did, but after having been away from civilization for so long, I saw it with fresh eyes.

“Please, let’s not stay in here too long,” I told my husband.

“You got that right,” he said, obviously feeling as overwhelmed as I was.

I had that overwhelmed consumer feeling the last time I went to Twelve Oaks Mall in Novi. Yes, I do shop from time to time at Frenchtown Square mall or Westfield Shoppingtown Franklin Park in Toledo — but on those occasions, I go directly to a particular store and leave.

Our visit to Twelve Oaks in November was a traditional “malling” stroll with food court dinner to entertain a college-age visitor. She enjoyed the first couple of fashion boutiques while she I discussed clothing trends among our different age groups. But she got overwhelmed very quickly with the crowds, music and constant barrage for visual attention. And my husband and I didn’t have much fun looking at stuff we liked but couldn’t afford.

So we headed for the food court, had fun eating dinner food we don’t normally get … and drove home.

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