Arctos: Mall (Part 1) [Interactive]

Here’s the start of the next interactive! The theme for this one is Arctos related–the company has opened a mall, and we’re going to see how the various shops and and places inside change the folks who shop there. I’d like to do a few shorter episodes, focusing on a few different characters, until I get bored with the setting, or a different idea strikes me, as it does on occasion.

The mall. What was once an institution in every major city and any number of small towns has largely disappeared, leaving behind massive, decaying relics in their place. After all, who needs to go to a mall anymore, when you can get everything you need online? But where some people just see ancient history, other companies see opportunity–companies like Arctos, for example.

And so, in this small city, in the skeleton of this mall, now just a shell of its former glory as a retail destination, Arctos buys the entire property, and every single store front, and gets to work. People drive by, see the construction being done on it, and most of them are confused. Who in their right mind would revitalize a mall of all things? And who in their right mind would go to one? Well, Arctos has never been a company to shy away from tough retail problems, mind you–and once they’ve established a customer base somewhere, they have a way of doing just fine, generally.

And so, one sunny day in June, there is a soft opening. The doors are open, the shops are ready, movies are screening, fountains are bubbling, and slowly, people find their way inside, wondering just what sort of thing this Arctos company might have in store for them. One such person, on this day, is Jeremy.

Jeremy is a tall, skinny fellow, in his early twenties. He’s home from college and bored out of his mind. The mall is just a distraction, really, something he doesn’t really expect much from, but it’s something to occupy an afternoon at least. He walks the concourse, from the department store at one end, to the gym, fitness center, and bathhouse at the other–he is not sure what a bathhouse is or why there would be one at a mall, but in all honesty, this is not like any mall he had ever been in before.

For one thing, there were none of the recognizable shop fronts from other malls around the country–every single shop was something…well, strange. Even stranger than that, none of the mannequins in any of the windows seemed to be…well, women. Instead, the only clothes on display were for men, and Jeremy could see that several of the middle aged mothers who had come in with him were a bit dismayed at the strange selection. Still, Jeremy wasn’t interested in clothes–what he needed was a distraction.

He had seen a few possibilities as he’d walked the concourse in the first direction, and he decided to head for the one that had intrigued him the most. There was Tiny’s Barbershop–Jeremy’s hair was a bit of a mess, and maybe a new style would improve his outlook. There was Saul’s Sweet Shop–he had always had a sweet tooth, and the candies, ice cream, and chocolates he’d seen in the windows were very enticing. Third was Nate’s novelties, which seemed to have a collection of odd gifts, toys, and who knew what else packed on it’s shelves. Lastly, a small had caught his nose on the way, and tracing the source had led him to Bigg’s Tobaccos–he wasn’t a smoker, but the smell had him wondering what in there might smell so good. One thing was certain–no matter how Jeremy decided to spend his day at the mall, he was sure to leave a very different person than the one he entered as–after all, that’s what Arctos was best at, no matter what it was selling.

Here’s the first poll below. Patrons have their bonus poll over here as well!

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