Saturday, November 15, 2008

Mall Rats

If the economy is tanking, there was absolutely no sign of it at the Holyoke Mall Saturday evening. The parking lot was completely jammed. Every spot all the way out into the street that circles the mall was filled. We had to drive around for several minutes to find a space, and ended up in some obscure section of the lot.

The credit crunch is certainly looming like a dark cloud overhead, but no sign of rain, yet...



We went in through the Borders Books entrance where we saw that radio personality, author, and foremost economic-gloom-predictor Glenn Beck was doing a book signing today. He was due to appear in just a few minutes. We cut in for a look. Though the conservative talk show host is deep behind enemy lines here in the valley, there was a substantial crowd waiting for him. They filled the isles in almost a third of the book store, each with a copy of his new novel The Christmas Sweater in their hands....





He was apparently running late, and we over heard that he was scheduled to do four book signings today; in Worcester, Providence, here, and one other place that I didn't catch the name of. Some of the people had apparently been waiting a long time. Finally his crew, Team Beck, came running out to set up his book signing table and this sign,



...it stated that he would be unable to shake hands because a) he has a highly infectious disease, b) he thinks you have a highly infectious disease, and c) he fell down the stairs like an idiot, and the doctor told him not to...

And a few minutes later, the long awaited moment had arrived.





He was well received, to be sure.

Like a seasoned pro, Glenn immediately took off his coat and got right down to business.



He was signing books and shaking hands (with his left hand) with incredible speed, and made quick work of the rather large crowd, leaving all apparently satisfied. One thing that struck me was that though possibly a hundred people or so swept by, he managed to look each and every one in the eye, and with most, share a comment and an occasional laugh. He even paused to hug a few.



The guy's become a pro, there's no denying that. Love him or leave him. He claims to have the #3 most popular radio program in the country.



And speaking of pros, honorable mention to the camera girl for WGGB Channel 40 that was there. She was darting in and out of the crowd for position, and wielding her camera with ninja-like agility...



We continued on with our original intended purpose and stepped back out into the mall.



I snapped a couple pictures and was immediately approached by a security guard, who (nicely) informed me that picture taking was against mall policy. Hmm. That sucks, and not least because I was about to take a couple pics of the over-abundant security guard detail roaming the mall. They were everywhere, and wearing white shirts, black pants, and tall black cowboy hats. A very visible presence, and something new since the last time I was here, last holiday season.

I could see why there was so much security; the mall was completely mobbed. I rarely come to the Holyoke Mall, but I always find it interesting to sit there and people watch; there's such a big cross-section of the valley's populace streaming by, and today it was just a river of people.

I was sitting there, by the way, because Kelly was in one of the stores. Which store..?



Hmm. The plot thickens...

5 comments:

Mary E.Carey said...

Great pic of the camera girl!

wombatclov said...

We happen to go over to the mall for dinner and to look at washers. I had the same thought about the economy- the place was packed. No sign of any downturn!

Radar Check said...

Nice job getting Beck.

Jeffrey Byrnes said...

I agree with wombatclov, I spend a little bit of time at the mall Sat, and thought to myself, "bad economy? not here in Holyoke if the mall is this crowded."

Tony said...

Things will probably get much tighter with the consumer after this one last holiday shopping spree...