I love to support businesses that call Boise home, so I'm a little embarrassed to admit that this experience led me to save my money to spend on Amazon. 

In full disclosure, prior to Old Chicago Downtown Boise closing, I didn't spend a ton of time at the mall. The main reason I've been to the mall more times in the past year than I have been in almost a decade is because it's now home to the only remaining OC location in the Treasure Valley. A girl's gotta work on her World Beer Tour some how. The evenings I'm there, I rarely wonder out into the concourse to do some shopping but Saturday was different.

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I had to pick up some things at Ulta and it was my birthday weekend, so I thought I'd go look around and treat myself to some gifts inside the mall. It was my first shopping trip in over a year and clearly, I wasn't up to speed on what the mall during a pandemic looked like.

I knew that masks were mandatory. No biggie. They stopped bothering me the minute my super cool Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D. mask showed up. Rocking a piece of my fandom makes the requirement a little more fun. What I didn't know was that the stores were closely monitoring capacity levels and had queue lines set-up outside their storefronts where you had to wait until someone left to enter and take a look around.

I only came to browse three stores. Each of those stores had people in the queue line outside. I was frustrated when I saw the first line. Discouraged when I saw the second. By the third, I was officially annoyed and out of patience. I left without stepping foot inside a store. There was nothing in those three stores that I couldn't buy online. So...I left and treated myself to some gifts from Amazon instead. I felt bad about it.

I appreciate the mall's management for their safety precautions, but as a shopper it made for a really poor experience. If I'm shopping at the mall, I'm shopping for instant gratification. Clearly, I'm not the only one who feels that way. Our friend Don at BoiseDev shared an article in the news outlet's Facebook group about how many stores have recently closed in the mall. Many of the folks who left comments expressed their frustrations with reduced hours, closed dressing rooms and lines.

Can the mall bounce back after the pandemic? It's hard to tell. According to the BoiseDev article at least eight stores have recently called it quits or are in their final days.

Listen to Michelle Heart mornings on 107.9 LITE-FM and download the free LITE-FM app.

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