30 November 2001

Missing – a family day shopping

IN RESPONSE to Monster Mall is ultimate experience, US style, (Farmlife, Nov 28), it was certainly that and more! On our first visit to America staying with relations near the Twin Cities of Minneapolis/St. Paul, we were promised a day out at the Mall of America – the shopping highlight of our trip.

The great day arrived. My pen pal, Christie, had organised for our three girls, her daughter and youngest son, to go on ahead with an old family friend – who knew the Mall really well – while she, her eldest son James, my husband Simon and I returned to our rental car.

At 1pm we were all to meet up just inside the main entrance, north door. Scurrying in late at 1.15pm, and glad to be out of soaring 90F+ heat, we were not too concerned that no one was there.

Then 1.30pm came and went, maybe they had the wrong entrance. Simon and James volunteered to walk across to the south door to check. Christie and I got to wait. Simon and James decided to go to the east door. Christie and I waited and waited. No children. Simon and James managed to see the entire Mall of America and probably every shop. Christie and I waited for two hours in the same spot.

By 2.45pm I was beginning to panic – eldest daughter had to be at the airport at 4pm to fly home and we had her luggage, passport and airline ticket!

Simon and James return at 3pm. They have spotted family friend, no children but she does know where they are. At long last the family arrive – they were waiting at the east door at intervals and shopping in between. I got to go in one shop. Its so unfair. Yes, the Mall of America is a terrific experience, but dont let your family out of your sight, or at least make sure that everyone knows the exact time and meeting place, and do have a contingency plan.

Mrs M Jones

Troed-y-Rhiw, Llanigon, Hereford.