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Call Of The Mall Promote My Company

“Call of the Mall” is a delightful romp through one of America’s most socially telling and economically important phenomena. The book establishes Paco Underhill, already one of our premier marketing gurus, as a heavyweight social commentator. I didn’t know how little I knew about this centerpiece of our culture.” Tom Peters, author of Re-imagine!

“A most amusing and unique view of the mall culture. A fascinating look at its customers, retailers, and mall developers. Once again Paco Underhill has broken new ground with his thought provoking insights. Well done.” – John B. Menzer, Vice president and President/CEO, International Division, Wal-Mart Stores Inc.

Americans have a love/hate relationship with the mall. On one hand, we claim to loathe its homogeneity, its white-bread sterility and its rabid commercialism. On the other hand, we return there time and again - to shop, to dine, for entertainment, to people-watch, or even just to pass the time. In just fifty-some years, the mall has managed to supplant the town square as the centerpiece of our commercial, and often civic, lives. It has become not just an institution, but an icon of American culture, emulated around the world.

“It is no surprise that the mall is such an easy target for American self-loathing,” says world-renowned retail anthropologist Paco Underhill. “It’s a lot like television…. We disdain it, and yet we can’t stop watching, or shopping.” Founder and CEO of the global research and consulting firm Envirosell, and author of the international best-seller Why We Buy, Underhill knows malls better than almost anyone. In his new book, CALL OF THE MALL: The Author of WHY WE BUY on the Geography of Shopping (Simon & Schuster; February 1, 2004; $25.95), he is a modern-day Baedeker, leading us on an amusing and informative day trip through one archetypical Mecca of consumerism.

Having carried out research jobs in hundreds of mall stores, Underhill has cast his jaundiced eye in over three hundred major malls across the U.S., and many others abroad. He knows what works and what doesn’t - and he’s not afraid to say so. A tacky rack of lipstick testers on the cosmetic counter, insufficient mirrors in the jewelry store, the ho-hum decor of the CD store, the fast-food-place ambience of the food court - all are fodder for Underhill’s acerbic, highly-informed commentary.

As he wends through a day at the mall, Underhill assesses everything from the frenetic parking lot and the dismal public bathrooms to the calculated juxtaposition of stores and the effective (and ineffective) use of space. Sometimes alone, sometimes in the company of retail executives, teenagers, single women, or husbands in search of anniversary presents, he traverses department stores (those retail dinosaurs that anchor every mall), visits upscale jewelers like Cartier and Tiffany, scopes out teen-magnets like Pacific Sun and H&M, and sizes up more-upscale twenty-something emporiums like Diesel. He stops into Victoria’s Secret, Ralph Lauren, and the local CD store. And since no trip to the mall would be complete without a snack or a late-afternoon flick, he tries the food court and multiplex cinema as well.