Home » Teenage wasteland? The Galleria fire according to 10th graders
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Teenage wasteland? The Galleria fire according to 10th graders

Believe it or not, Sactown Rundown is only something I do when I'm not molding young minds.

OK, so being a substitute teacher hardly affords me the chance to change lives, but it did give me the opportunity to gain the audience of roughly 90 high school sophomores less than 24 hours after the devastating fire at the Roseville Galleria – and at a high school less than three miles away to boot.

To piggyback what Sac Press editor-in-chief David Watts Barton had to say about the ill fated fire which originated in a video game store (too much Halo, maybe?), there is perhaps no better way to gauge the effects of the loss of a grandiose mall than to informally poll its most frequent inhabitants: Teenagers.

For Midtown grid aficionados like myself, there had to be an inevitable twinge of consumerism come-uppance when we heard that perhaps the biggest disposable income abyss in the area had been gutted in a massive purging flame.

Don't even tell me there aren't plenty of you out there that had instant thoughts about Project Mayhem.

But look at this from a different angle: For the youngsters in the area that were practically breathing in particles of their favorite hangout, they lost something bigger than just a collection of shops. They lost a home away from home, and many of them lost a possible winter or summer job.

One student showed me a half completed job application for one of the mall's shops. He's now going to try his luck at the movie theatre.

One girl was on the verge of tears – although they were mostly thrown in for dramatic effect.

Most all of them spouted off the same smattering of answers when I asked them where they were going to go to shop: Online, and other malls.

That's a bigger trickle down effect than most people probably realize. Shopping revenue is going to be temporarily leaving town in truckloads until the Galleria partly or completely reopens. And it won't just be leaving town, it will probably be leaving county. With the holidays around the corner, that's far from an ideal situation, and as Barton lined out, it effects all of us down here in Sactown, even on the lettered and numbered streets.

But, economy aside, this is a real (albeit temporary) loss for the local youth. As much as I could tell that most of them tried to play it off, it was clear that many of them were aware that they'd just been deprived a hangout, and that's something that we should all be able to relate to – even if it means looking back to our own teenage years, when a trip to the mall wasn't a chore, it was a happening.

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