- Free blood pressure check. There is a machine near the food court that our local hospital installed to provide free blood pressure checks. Just insert arm, push button, and in a minute or so, you get a read out. Mine was fine.
- Marketing surveys. There is a marketing company with a store front at the mall. The employees wander around with surveys and try to catch people to provide their input on various marketing projects. While most shoppers see these people and run the other way, I found out that for about 15 minutes of your time in order to answer some questions, look at some pictures, and check out a quick video, you get paid $5.
- Exercise. There is a whole sub-culture at the mall in the early morning, hours before the mall opens. At 7am people come out in droves, dressed up in tennis shoes and workout clothes, who then proceed to walk around and around the mall. Two laps around the mall and you have walked a mile and a half. Most of the people you see in the morning are retired seniors and moms with babies in strollers but you can find "the walkers" at all hours of the day getting their exercise.
- Free samples. Depending on the day and the time of year, you can score some free samples of everything from food (in the food court and See's Candies), to lotion (no thanks), to perfume/cologne (they try to spray it in your direction at some of the higher end department stores but again, no thanks).
- People watching. The mall is a good place to practice your observation skills (walk by a group of people, try to remember as much as you can about them, then turn around and walk back by them to see how accurate you were). You can also walk around the mall and every few minutes ponder how you would escape quickly from your location if needed; also consider where you would seek cover and/or concealment if worse comes to worse.
- The bookstore. This is my favorite place to spend time. If you have to hang out and wait somewhere, you might as well use the time to educate yourself and the book store is the perfect place to do this (see photo).
- Work. The local mall offers free wifi and I noted quite a few people who looked like they have set up their businesses at tables in the food court. With a laptop, cell phone, and free wifi, you're in business. And it seems to be much quieter than trying to work at Starbucks (hard to explain the blender and coffee grinding sound every few minutes when you are on an important business call).
- Entertainment. Although nothing much was happening at the mall today, there are many times throughout the year where there is free entertainment to be had. Shows range from kids doing their piano recitals to karate students demonstrating their developing skills to health/adoption/sports/etc fairs that take up table space from one end of the mall to the other.
- Parking. Parking at the mall is free and since it is right on the bus line, this is an excellent place to leave your car for the day instead of a "park and ride". The mall has regular security patrols, plenty of places to park, and easy access since it is centrally located.
- Free housing. I am mostly kidding about this but it has been done. Check out the article here.
Friday, March 20, 2009
10 Free Things to Do At the Mall
I got stuck waiting for someone (*cough* spouse) at the mall for over an hour. Now most people would think the mall is the last place they would want to be, what with the lousy economy and some people's disdain for the whole shopping thing, however on closer inspection, I found nearly a dozen reason why it actually pays to go to the mall.