With Christmas season upon us, it seems like the right time to offer a quick tour of the area’s local shopping establishments. Whether you’re looking for the perfect gift for mom or just some crappy $10-or-less Secret Santa item for that jerkwad co-worker who always yells “There he is!” every time you walk into a room, this series of overviews offers a thoroughly half-ass and less than scientific evaluation of those places you’ll inevitably find yourself shuffling through angrily on December 24th.
The Green Tree Mall, Clarksville, IN
PROS: The crown jewel of Southern Indiana’s dynamic and unparalleled retail experience, Green Tree Mall has many different stores that sell many products that some people may or may not find useful and/or fun.
Upon entering the sprawling facility, one cannot help but be overwhelmed by a sense of security. For example, your chances of being eaten by a mountain lion are practically zero. Furthermore, Green Tree Mall has a strict “No Battle Ax” policy, which further reduces your chances of being beheaded or mangled like a feral cave dweller at the hands of some sort of Southern Indiana Conan the Barbarian-type warlord.
The building itself is designed like a giant X. This easy to navigate layout should greatly reduce your chances of getting hopelessly lost and forced to take permanent shelter beneath one of those kiosks that sell really fashionable and realistic looking hair extensions. (This actually happened to my uncle. And for the record, his hair looks fabulous, despite the fact it permanently smells like week-old Sbarro's pizza.)
As far as actual shopping, the Green Tree Mall has something for everyone. The majority of stores accept cash or credit cards, but surprisingly few will take doubloons or other forms of exotic currency. As the old saying goes, “Twenty-five cents and a beaver pelt will get you a twenty-five cents worth of hobbit meat.”
For the special lady in your life, the mall has many impressive stores with unpronounceable names that women seem to love, such as Aeropostale or Sears. There is also a Bath & Body Works for those of you whose wives suck at bathing. Christmas - the one day of the year you can buy your woman a bar of soap as a gift and not get punched in the face.
And if you’re just looking to pick up a quick gift for that person in your life who you totally feel obligated to spend money on, but who you don’t really like or care that much about, they have one of those totally kick-ass calendar kiosks. Because nothing says “I felt compelled to buy you something” like a calendar.
CONS: Like everything in Southern Indiana, the Green Tree Mall is a total pain to actually get to. Seriously, you would think Ezekiel Southern Indiana (or whoever the explorer was who discovered the territory) designed the entire region like one freaking obstacle course.
Located on Lewis & Clark Parkway, drivers are constantly challenged by what appears to be the world’s largest optical illusion, forever turning at stoplights that supposedly take you to the mall but just deposit you in a random parking lot that seems to have no exit. It’s like being stuck in one of those M.C. Escher pictures of hands drawing hands or some other craziness.
Once in the mall, you are instantly reminded of the “No Battle Ax” policy. So if you brought your Battle Ax, you’re totally out of luck.
Although the Green Tree Mall has an impressive number of stores, there is a lack of local flavor or even anything remotely unique. For example, would it kill them to open a place that sells domesticated monkeys that wear funny hats or a place where you can conveniently order AND pick up a Russian mail order bride?
Finally, like most malls, Green Tree does have a Victoria’s Secret, which you’d think would be a positive. However, once you realize that the only reason the women in your life shop there is because they sell really comfortable fleece pajama bottoms, it sort of loses its shine. But hey, you’ve still got the internet, right?
Does it have a Hot Topic? Thank God, yes, which means you can easily buy for all the emo kids and “Twilight” moms in your life. As an extra bonus, it is located right next to a Razz-Matazz, which is a great place to find less-threatening, yet equally hip gifts, such as mildly racist t-shirts featuring Red Foxx or old R.E.O. Speedwagon concert tees.
Melt Down for the Ages: Nothing says Christmas like a pissy little kid exploding in a fit of rage and self-entitlement like a bomb made of poor parenting and never-ending faux praise.
I watched a little boy, maybe eight years old, totally Hulk out on his parents because the M&M bedazzled cookie they bought him from The Cookie Store did not have any yellow candies on top. While the parents showered him with apologies and fables about a future filled with nothing but yellow M&Ms, the child-shaped rage beast wailed and screamed, frenetically shaking his head like something you’d see in a Tool video.
In a final act of defiance, the child used his teeth to rip the left leg off of his mother, which he then used to beat his father senseless. As the mother, drowning herself in a river of tears, draped herself over the unconscious body of her husband, the now silent child calmly walked off, leaving behind two shattered adults, a crowd of shell-shocked onlookers, and a single untouched M&M cookie.
Final Rating: The Green Tree Mall is a pleasant and sufficient shopping facility. Although it may seem a bit average and worn out to some, it still gets the job done. Just like your mom. I give it 17,329 smiley faces out of a possible 19,712.
Photo: Patrick Fawcett