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The Sun letter to the editor: Mall puts a damper on Christmas

Editor:
A popular chain store at our local mall has made me realize how smaller, local businesses may be the only ones that can keep the real Christmas spirit alive.

On Tuesday, Dec. 17th, one of the elementary school bands performed at the mall. Apparently, the chairs that were set up for the kids were obstructing the entrance to the store. This made the store manager complain to the mall office.

Because of this, the mall decided to not allow the high school bands to perform on Saturday, Dec. 21st, a date that was rescheduled, due to the weather. Even though some kids couldn’t make the rescheduled date, the other band members still wanted to play.

I called the mall office, to see what the problem was. The woman who answered the phone stated that the office received a complaint call from their tenant, who has a right to allow their shoppers to have access to their store.

I asked her if anyone from the office told the kids to move to a different location. Someone did inform the kids after a break and everything was OK, after that. The elementary school has been performing there for six years.

I explained that our family was planning to go see our son perform, as he is a senior and it is his last year. Her response was, “Didn’t he have a concert at school?” Well, yes he did, on a makeup day, but because of the snow, some family members couldn’t attend.

We had intended to go on Saturday with out-of-town relatives. I let her know our plan was to go to the mall, have dinner and shop, prior to the concert. But now we couldn’t do any of that.

She was unaffected by my comments. I am sure there were relatives and friends who came to listen to their kids perform and did extra shopping and eating, Tuesday. I believe the students even ate in the food court, that day.

I encouraged her to let management know that, as a parent and person who shops at the mall, I did not agree with them cancelling the performance for the reason given. I have been made aware of the store that complained and will have no problem telling others who it was and thinking twice about patronizing them, in the future.

After I hung up the phone, I realized how the meaning of Christmas has changed, over the years, and the focus seems to be more commercialized.

All the store cared about was getting those shoppers inside their store to spend money – not even thinking how important the performance was to the kids and parents.

Apparently, now the mall would only allow solo performances for the rest of the season and there is discussion they will no longer allow any performances, in the following years.

I had looked at Saturday night’s performance as a moment out of a hectic time of year, to hear the kids and enjoy the Christmas season with family and friends. The mall sees it differently.

Perhaps this makes a strong argument to support your local small businesses. I doubt they would have had a problem with the kids’ performing near their stores.

Diane Blair
Hamburg
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