Friday, March 7, 2008

Irresponsibility at the Mall?

Much like homeowners are responsible for the goings-on inside our own dwellings, mall owners may need to assume a more authoritative role in what happens in the shopping centers they own.

If I permit underage drinking in my home, I am accountable. If I distribute cigarettes to the teens who visit my kids, I am to be held responsible. Should mall owners accept the same accountability?

A report this morning on ABC’s “Good Morning America,” titled “Morality at the Mall," questioned retailer Spencer Gifts’ practice of selling sex toys and games in suburban malls around the country. While the retailer maintains a chainwide policy of refusing the sale of sexually explicit items to minors, many stores didn’t honor the ban—and sold freely to kids the same ages as my own—14 and 17.

Would I want my children to be able to drive down the road to our local mall and buy sex toys at the Spencer’s store (which, by the way, neighbors a slew of other retailers that skew young) or any other store for that matter? I don’t even need to answer that.

I don’t suggest that malls be liable. But I do feel they should assume a more active role in assuring that a tenant follows the dictum of its parent company.

Visit to view the ABC report.

—Katherine Field

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