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The Daily Tar Heel

I'll probably find out eventually, but I'm pretty sure the tenth ring of hell is one of the floors of the Mall of America.

For those who have never been, the Mall houses more than 250 businesses in its 4.2 million square feet and features an indoor amusement park and an aquarium.

The place is overrun with cattle, and I'm not talking about the livestock from the surrounding farms of Minneapolis-St. Paul.

"Look, a Baby Gap." Moo.

"Another Spencer's Gifts." Moo.

The cattle rustlers sit atop the Mall's four Sunglasses Huts.

"You missed a store. Back in line." Hee-yah.

With nothing better to do in Minneapolis (trust me), and not wanting to watch Duke practice in preparation for the Final Four, my friends and I headed to the Mall.

I usually treat malls like brothels. I'll go if it's really necessary, but I only go to one store and I am in and out as quickly as possible. I'll get everything I need for the next six months so I don't have to return.

I buy; I don't shop.

And if I have to go to another store in the mall, I'll walk through as quickly as possible trying not to make eye contact with the other customers or look at the other stores.

My worst fear is that after a trip to the mall, I'll spend the next few months with a case of bad fashion. Fortunately, I didn't return to Chapel Hill with a new pair of green corduroys that looked good in the trick mirrors at the Mall of America.

"What happened, man?"

"Minneapolis. A moment of weakness."

As we walked around the Mall, I felt like I was in Amsterdam's red light district. Tourists from all over the world window-shopped. Only they wanted the black dress behind the glass, not the girl wearing the black dress.

But who am I to judge? Shop. Indulge. This whorehouse takes credit cards. And there's plenty of fun for the kids. Let them experience the joy of consumerism at the Cereal Land (featuring only General Mills cereals) or the Lego Imagination Workshop (imagination sold separately).

Wait! There's more! There are FOUR Mall of America gift shops. So in case you couldn't find enough crap you don't need in the 250 stores, you can buy something to commemorate your day of shopping.

"My friend got screwed at the Mall of America and all I got was this lousy Mall of America T-shirt."

Brian can be reached at

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