Feature Writing Trip to the Mall

Filed Under (Uncategorized) by Emily on 23-09-2012

It was about 5:30 p.m. when I arrived at the mall. I walked into the Icing, the jewelry store chain, my goal to find something that I had never bought before. It was about 6:15 p.m. and the mall was not too crowded. There were lots of things that could be described in great detail-insanely glittery eyeshadow palettes, orange glow-in-the-dark nail polish, sparkly, princess-y tiaras and really fuzzy leopard print cat ears. But I wanted something different, something that would weird people out and get interesting reactions. After my interest in metallic clutch purses waned, I wandered next door to Hot Topic.

Hot Topic has been a fun store for me in recent years, especially because they have Hello Kitty stuff up the wazoo. When I came into the store, the first items I noticed were trashy, excessively revealing Halloween costumes for young women*. A high school guy wearing a Powerpuff girls shirt and a lip ring walked up to me. “Can I help you find something?” he asked. I explained that I was doing an assignment to find something descriptive, but that I wasn’t exactly sure what I was looking for. He walked over to another customer, and I immersed myself in all that is goth. I almost left when I stumbled upon the candy section. Sour patch kids, apple flavored candy, salt and vinegar flavored crickets. Wait, what?

When I saw the crickets, I knew they would be perfect to buy. Weird, gross, funny. I asked the Powderpuff guy if they were real crickets and he confirmed that, yes, they were indeed real. I bought the crickets and a Cookie Monster bracelet with googly eyes. My next stop was the Food Court. I devoured a Chick-fil-a chicken sandwich with bacon and cheese. Yum. I started writing down details in my notebook about the Crickettes (That’s the official name brand. These aren’t just any old crickets.) The container is small with an oval shaped see through area. It’s like looking inside a beehive, with all of the wings, thoraxes, and antennaes, except if the bees were all dead and piled up on top of each other. The outside of the container has drawings of crickets on it that, for some reason, remind me of South Park. I have no idea why. Maybe it’s because the drawn bugs look like the Sea People that Cartman accidentally creates in one episode.

On the bottom of the front of the sky blue and white package is written “Salt n’ Vinegar. I briefly pondered trying one, just to see how authentically salt n’ vinegar-y they really were. Then I thought about how I didn’t really know where they were from or whether or not they had ever used the plastic bag as their bathroom. On the back of the package is the Nutrition Facts. For one small container of crickets, there are nine calories. Good to know. Below that was a biology-style drawing of a cricket whose different parts were labeled-rump, flank, drumstick, breast, wings, like a chicken. Next to that was written, “the other Green Meat”.

I decided to take a picture of the package just on the off chance that someone with a bug obsession might actually accept my offering of Salt n’ Vinegar flavored crickets. I started wondering who would be most interested in such a product, and I began looking around the food court for teenage boys. Not too many. I looked over at the elderly couple sitting next to me. The idea of offering one of them crickets made me laugh out loud. I decided to find random people who I didn’t know. I threw away my trash.

I came to a kiosk where a man was selling expensive looking skin care products. When he saw me, he leaped out of his chair and asked me if I wanted to try one of the skin creams. I tried to explain that I was doing an assignment, but he didn’t understand or speak English very well. I pulled out the crickets box and showed it to him. “Would you like one?” I asked him. A look of total confusion and slight disgust swept over his face. “Uhm, no…no thanks.”

I kept walking and ran into some guys that used to go to Morningside. I told them what I was doing. One of them couldn’t believe that they were actual crickets. “What’s the first ingredient?” he asked me. “Crickets,” I said, glancing at the ingredients list on the side of the box. He burst out laughing. I asked him if he wanted one. “Uh, no, I think I’m good.” he said with a smile. I said, “Bye.”

My next stop was to Eddie Bauer. I wanted to see if I could find any uppity (old) women who would be repulsed by the Crickettes. I walked in and the store was practically empty. In fact, the only person there was the saleslady. I went up to her and she asked if she could help me find something. I explained that I was there for a class assignment and I showed her the crickets. “What are those?” she asked me in a slightly grossed out tone of voice. “They’re crickets,” I said. She winced. I asked her if she wanted one. “Uh, no, I think I’ll pass.”

The last store I went to was Bath and Body Works. I had to go in; the fragrance of pumpkin beckoned me. The friendly salesgirl told me about the store’s sales. I told her that if I had any more of their products, I could open my own store. She laughed. I said that I was actually doing an assignment. I showed her the crickets. She grimaced. “Oh, eww! Those are so gross!” She declined the offer of trying a cricket.

I thoroughly enjoyed this assignment more than I expected. When I visited my parents this weekend, my mom thought the crickets were funny and my dad is grossed out by bugs, so he actually had to leave the room.

I look forward with great anticipation any other scavenger hunt-type assignments from my Feature Writing prof.


*I will be blogging about this later as Halloween creeps closer.

1 Comment So Far

fuglsang on 25 September, 2012 at 2:42 pm #

Nicely done, Emily. I can’t remember what I wrote on the assignment, but in this case I think it was above and beyond to ask strangers if they would eat a cricket. I did not see that one coming. But you persist, so right on! All the description is good. I would suggest maybe trying to include sense beyond visual — try one of those crickets — but this is entertaining and fun as it is.