why I don't shop at my local mall

Ever hear of the store Justice?

When Amara first received an outfit from there, I knew: it was the beginning of the end.

Walk in, and it literally looks like a flamingo threw up glitter over everything. Then mark up the prices three times higher than what you're used to for children's clothing. Oh and make it ever-so-skimpy but "acceptable" enough for a third grader. That's Justice.

So I was ever so grateful to find out there's a Justice outlet store nearby. Phew. Makes Amara happy. Which in turn makes Mom2Amara happy. Dad2Amara on the other hand still hates it. But I digress.

I visit Lodi Station Outlets more often than my neighboring mall. I actually only go to the mall for one specific store nowadays. And I. Hate. Crowds. Indoor shopping centers are the worst for me. I get all claustrophobic. Squeamish.

I am 20 minutes from said mall. So why wouldn't I drive a bit further to get better deals? I drive 40 minutes to work in the opposite direction so the same drive time to shop - to me - is a welcome change of pace. And because of it's location right off of I-71, we often stop in Lodi on the way home from Aunt2Amara's in Columbus.

We consistently hit three spots when in Lodi: Justice (for Amara), Pro Tools (Dad2Amara), and Ralph Lauren (me). So I was excited to visit some of the stores Family2Amara often overlooks during Lodi Station Outlet's VIP Blogger Day. So after some pleasantries, off we went.

And $100 later, Amara is well on her way for back to school. Her cousins got some new clothes. I didn't realize there was a Famous Footwear outlet there. And I always forget about the Gymboree. After all of that, I still had money left over for a cup of coffee. By shopping at the Outlets, we saved nearly $70 off retail.

I brought my mother in law, Grandma2Amara, for the first time, and I think she was highly impressed.

So after spending hours there, I realize Lodi Station Outlets does have a few "faults."
  1. Why isn't there a Coach outlet? Or a Kate Spade? Sony? Disney Store? I'd be here more often than I already am.

  2. It has a train. And train rides mean less time for me to shop because there's an Amara whining to go for a spin. It's genius really. Next time, I'll leave Amara with the grandparents to circle the Outlets on the locomotive while I browse store after store.

  3. Chugga Chugga Charlie.

    Oye. Mascots. Again, brilliant. So family friendly at the Outlets. But when Amara spots anything loveable and huggable, she beelines for it. Chugga Chugga Charlie was no exception. As I stood counting the precious minutes I was wasting as Amara played with Charlie, I realized I could again leave her with a responsible adult in the future as I lightened my wallet some. I'll plan better for next time.
Grandma2Amara is already plotting our next visit. And judging by Amara's reaction, seems she won't be complaining about our day-long shopping excursions now that she knows there's a Charlie and a train. Me? I'm much happier knowing I don't have to hit the malls. Thanks, Lodi Station Outlets for being so close!

Disclosure: This post made possible by Lodi Station Outlets. I received a gift card to experience the Outlets and a free meal to facilitate this post. Opinions stated, are always my own and never wavered by products received nor compensated unless, otherwise, stated.


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