I am not a shop-till-you-drop shopper. I would rather try to find something on Nassau or Witherspoon Street, partly through laziness, partly through loyalty to the “buy local” efforts, which are being updated with a new “One Princeton” card and a new “repunch” card.
But last weekend I acquired a new respect for the entertainment that shopping can provide. In Maryland we hosted five college freshwomen (one my granddaughter) on fall break. They shopped for four days straight, having fun together. After two days, when we finally had some pretty weather, I thought for sure they’d do something outside. But no, gleefully, back to the malls. They didn’t actually buy that much but they sure had fun.
And I remember shopping sprees with visitors from overseas. Several years ago I helped a friend from Ghana load her suitcases with presents. Visitors from Africa and other countries are honor bound to bring back treasures from America. We made repeated trips to Dress for Less, Marshall’s, DSW, all the discount stores. Trip after trip after trip to Nassau Park and Mercer Mall.
It was a chance for us to get to know each other, a way better experience than 30 years ago, when I was helping two rather gruff male students from Russia buy bathing suits for their wives. Not an experience I would care to repeat.
But when I got a press release from long-time colleagues, Ken Ellens and Anne Sweeney, about the Outlet Collection at Jersey Gardens, I thought — now THIS is the place to take visitors from abroad. Everything cheap, and under one roof.
My granddaughter and her friends would love it.