With Christmas season upon us, it seems like the right time to offer a quick tour of the area’s local shopping establishments. Previously, we’ve looked at the Green Tree Mall , Oxmoor Center , Jefferson Mall , and the Mall St. Matthews . We now mercifully close out this series with a look at both Bashford Manor and Raceland Mall, the two most awesome yet difficult to find malls in all of Louisville.
PROS: Bashford Manor and Raceland Mall are conveniently located within miles of one another on the same stretch of Bardstown Road. But keep an eye out or you might miss them both!
Raceland Mall has often been praised for its post-apocalyptic sensibilities and “I’ll CUT YOU, MAN!” approach to customer service. Make sure to keep your head on a swivel because you never know from which direction you’ll find yourself being overpowered by savings (or a tweeker with nothing left to lose).
The jam-packed parking lot sort of gives off a car dealership-vibe, but don’t let that fool you. Of course, when you actually enter the building, the fact that there’s a bunch of dudes who try to sell you a car also sort of gives off that same vibe. But once you get past all the shenanigans, you are confronted with the awesomeness that is Raceland.
Sparse is the operative word, considering the entire mall only has three stores. A CSC, which if memory serves me correctly is a great place to buy tampons and dill pickles in bulk, a Radio Shack that only sells D batteries and broken calculators that permanently display the word BOOBS (80085), and a hair salon, whose sole employee, named Linda, may or may not carry a gun in her purse.
Looking for a little entertainment while your parents are fighting off one of the many angry crack dealers who shuffle about the place? Then hit the movie theater. I’m pretty sure the only films they show are Cannonball Run and The Apple Dumpling Gang Keeps a Secret about That Time They Elephant Walked around the Campfire, but at least you’ll be safe from the gaggle of desperate PCP-powered humanoids that have devoured your family!
While Raceland Mall might appeal to the more adventurous or drug-addled shopper, Bashford Manor offers a more subdued and traditional retail environment. It's also a great place to teach your kids about the Kentucky Derby (without having to involve Jello-shots or an explanation as to why their mom always feels compelled to take her shirt off) courtesy of the horse-race-themed motif.
First off, they have a Chi-Chi’s, which was voted ten years in a row “Best Place to Watch Your Parents Get Sh*t-Faced,” by me and my make believe friend, Senor Lonelyboy.
Bashford Manor also has these two odd sunken pit areas in the middle of the mall that are packed with televisions that always seem to be playing Hee Haw. Smoking and surliness are encouraged (required?) in this area, so try not to make eye contact with anyone unless you have a lighter.
Looking for the hottest tunes? Stop by Musicland, which has an amazing selection of cassette tapes and 45s, as well as a general lack of security, as evidenced by the impressive amounts of shoplifting performed their by several members of the Seneca High School Class of 1990.
Whereas most mall stores have things like walls to prevent people from stealing, Musicland has decided to have this silly brick half-fence thing, like they are trying to pull some sort of Jedi mind trick on would be criminals. In a way, it's sort of like the inspiration for Napster (let’s just hope those jackholes in Metallica don’t find out about it).
If you’re looking for a tasty snack, stop by Baskin-Robbins, where you can have delicious ice cream served by 16 year-olds with abnormally large right forearms. Seriously – you all look like a bunch of one-armed Popeyes. Why don’t you get an anchor tattooed on that thing while you’re at it?
There’s also an Aladdin’s Castle, home to the world’s most frustrating videogame, Dragon’s Lair. Wow – it look’s just like a cartoon! Wow – I just paid $1.50 to move three-inches and then fall down an f-ing well! Avoid it at all cost. Everyone knows Moon Patrol is the best bang for your buck.
CONS: Obviously, they’re both a total bitch to find. One looks like an auto mall and the other looks like a home improvement store. It’s like they don’t want us to shop there.
Bashford Manor has a store named Bacon’s which is so misleading. It’s like paying for a Hummer, only to find out you just bought a really stupid looking SUV.
Additionally, someone thought it would be a good idea to close down the Sizzler next to Bashford Manor. Are you kidding me? There should be a Sizzler at every intersection in America.
Incidentally, I once watched my brother try to make himself vomit at that Sizzler, just because A) he thought it would be funny and B) he hoped it would make the other customers puke as well. He didn’t achieve his goal, but I’ve never been as proud of him as I was that day.
Another time, a shirtless child, who looked straight up like Mowgli from The Jungle Book, jumped out from behind the salad bar and ran around going full on feral. No one took ownership of the boy, so I assume he lived there. Further proof America needs more Sizzlers.
And in case I forgot to mention, Raceland Mall is exactly like that movie The Warriors. This is only a “con” if you are not comfortable with getting shiv'd by someone in a sleeveless denim jacket.
Does it have a Hot Topic? Sadly, no. However, Bashford Manor does have a store where you can get anything your heart desires ironed on to a t-shirt. I got one with an Ewok arm wrestling Mary Lou Retton on the front and the word “HAMMERTIME” across the back.
On the other hand, Raceland Mall has at least seven dudes aimlessly roaming around the place who sort of look like that creepy skeleton monster from the Iron Maiden album covers. So it’s sort of like watching a bunch of Hot Topic t-shirts come to life.
Melt Down for the Ages: One time I saved up my allowance for a few months so that I could buy a Skeletor action figure at Thornberry Toys. When I finally had the money and made it to Bashford Manor Mall, I discovered that they only had Teela and Master-At-Arms. The first was like buying a Barbie doll, the second would be more like if your parents bought you a videogame based on the TV show Trapper John, M.D. I still haven’t forgiven Thorny the Monkey or He-Man for that injustice.
Final Rating: Combined, Bashford Manor and Raceland Mall represent everything that is pure and innocent about Louisville. Separately though, one is a mall with a Hickory Farms and a surprising lack of proper lighting, while the other is an empty building with a few chalk outlines and a “pooping corner.”
If you grew up in Louisville, you probably bought and received a few cool Christmas gifts from one or both of these places (okay – probably just Bashford Manor). So on that note, I give them both a loud “Thanks for the Memories,” and to each of you, a very Merry Christmas.
Photo by a grown man who sucks at drawing (Patrick Fawcett)