Cheryl shops...King of Prussia
For the Fourth of July weekend, I agreed to accompany MW to Philadelpha, where he was covering a chess tournament for his upcoming book. I was looking forward to it at first because I'd never been to Philadelphia before, but my excitement waned when I discovered that 1) Philly is not really a shopping hotspot and 2) the Live 8 concert was taking place approximately four blocks from our hotel. So while MW was doing much interviewing and note-taking and Beyonce was singing her lungs out, I decided to take the bus to the King of Prussia Mall. Now, even though I grew up in Chicago, I was actually raised on outdoor malls, but in the summer heat (and the winter cold), I do enjoy an indoor mall. And what a mall King of Prussia is--over 400 stores and restaurants, and two actual malls. And, as one might expect, there's something for everyone, from Hot Topic to Hermes. I started at the Plaza (the bigger, figure-eight-shaped mall), and my first stop was Nordstrom, a store that I really, really wish we had in NYC, primarily because the service there is incredible. I had a lovely salesgirl helping me find all the Marc by Marc Jacobs stuff on the sale rack, and then she put me in a dressing room that was about half the size of my apartment (for the record, I got a cute top for about 70% off). I also had a friendly salesgirl at Bebe, which I think was a first for me. Neiman Marcus was disappointing, sale-wise, as was Arden B, which I've decided is just way too trashy for me. I was very successful at the Rampage store, which always has way cuter stuff than what they sell in department stores (they had some great Joystick knockoff tees and tanks, very current accessories, and tiered skirts galore), and Diesel had a great sale. Also, I'm happy to report that Forever 21 was just as messy at the Union Square store, and that Wet Seal, my former employer, is still alive and even trashier than I remember. The trashiest girls, however, were at Old Navy, where I saw a store employee and a customer almost throw down (the employee accused the customer of shoving someone, which, if she worked at Wet Seal, would definitely be in violation of the 10-point customer service plan). But overall, I was kind of stunned at how friendly all the mall workers were, from Hermes, where I scored a free catalogue, to Abercrombie, where I was called "ma'am."

The Court, the other mall, is anchored by Macy's and Bloomingdale's (both owned by my now-parent company), neither of which was anything to write home about. Nor, for that matter, was the rest of the Court. There's a huge, spacious, clean Urban Outfitters, a nice Coach, and a ho-hum H&M, but that was about it. Unless, that is, you're my mom, in which case you'd be thrilled by the Talbots, Coldwater Creek, J. Jill and Chico's, all in a row (plus Talbots Accessories, Talbots Petites, Talbots Woman, and Talbots Mens--no, I am not kidding). So, yeah, unless you're a 50-year-old woman, not so much for the Court.

Mall fix satiated and all shopped out, I hopped back on the bus and arrived back in Philly just as Live 8 was finishing up. And while, okay, there is some shopping in the city (Walnut Street in Rittenhouse Square and Third Street in the Old City), King of Prussia is definitely your most concentrated option. And probably the most entertaining.

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