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Paid Parking and Eight More Bad Money-Making Ideas for the Cherry Creek Mall

At Cherry Creek, the sky's the limit — but watch out for that expensive glass ceiling.
At Cherry Creek, the sky's the limit — but watch out for that expensive glass ceiling. Wikipedia
Starting this week, the Cherry Creek Shopping Center will begin charging for parking — not just in the structure, but in the outlying lots as well. (Sorry, Safeway.) Sure, the first hour is free, but who goes to the mall for less than an hour? The entire concept of a mall (and the ’80s) is based on sticking around and making a day of it. So you’re bound to pay the $3 for the second hour, or even the $16 maximum.

You might think that a dying concept like an indoor mall actually charging more would be a bad idea. And in that, you would be right. It’s like SeaWorld raising ticket prices. It’s like the rates for landlines going up. It’s like…well, like a very bad idea. In the spirit of what Cherry Creek laughingly refers to as "Smart Parking," here are eight other very unwise charges that the mall could institute in order to increase revenue.

click to enlarge This tile is specifically made for malls, movie theaters, skating rinks and clown mansions. - RUSTY CLARK AT FLICKR
This tile is specifically made for malls, movie theaters, skating rinks and clown mansions.
Rusty Clark at Flickr
8. Pay Toilets
Is there anything more insulting than forcing people to pay to use the facilities? It’s not like an Orange Julius, which you can decide whether or not to imbibe. When you have to go, you have to go — no matter if you have a pocketful of change or a dangerous lack of liquid assets.

7. No More Free Samples
Look, Hickory Farms, there’s a reason that Cherry Creek hasn’t welcomed you aboard, and it’s because the mall is already down with the forget-the-free-sample strategy. Because who likes free samples? People without money, that’s who. Bath & Body Works? Stop with the lotion samples. Panda Express? Keep your orange chicken to yourself. Cherry Creek doesn’t want to attract the wrong sort.

click to enlarge We'll just wait right here, dear. You go visit the genius bar and get a juice or something. - RICK AT FLICKR
We'll just wait right here, dear. You go visit the genius bar and get a juice or something.
Rick at Flickr
6. Charge for the Chairs
We’ve all seen them — and some of us have been them. You know, those folks who got dragged to the mall but don’t want to pretend to want to shop. So they stake out one of those quasi-comfortable cigar chairs and loveseats in the middle of the walkways, a slit-eyed repository for already-purchased items, coats and the like. They’ll defend those perches to the death — and ask their spouse or kid to keep their seat safe while they’re in the bathroom or grabbing a Starbucks. So why not make some money on that precious property?

5. Monetize Santa’s Lap
There was a time when the mall-Santa technique was pretty simple: Get in line, nuzzle up to a guy in a fake beard, have your picture taken, get a candy cane, get out. Then the place started charging for photos with Santa. Now the whole event is a virtual-reality experience (this past year, it was Santa’s Flight Academy), which in no way should be confused with a cynical effort to monetize the add-on expenditures of parents who desperately want to capture the memory in custom Christmas frames. Just charge everyone up front: Embrace the crass commercialism of the season.

Keep reading for for more mall money-making ideas.

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Teague Bohlen is a writer, novelist and professor at the University of Colorado Denver. His first novel, The Pull of the Earth, won the Colorado Book Award for Literary Fiction in 2007; his textbook The Snarktastic Guide to College Success came out in 2014. His new collection of flash fiction, Flatland, is available now.
Contact: Teague Bohlen