As I made my laps at Valley View Mall this morning--walking inside to avoid cold and wind--I found it interesting that a long line of young African-Americans stood quietly outside one of the sports shoes stores at 9 a.m., awaiting a 10 a.m. opening. I asked what the deal was and one of the kids said, "Shoes," as if that told me everything I need to know.
A few laps later, I ran into a young fellow I know from Wendy's (one of the counter people with a sparkling, sunny personality) and got a better explanation: the new Air Jordans were apparently in Nike has public release dates for its Air Jordans; see here) and the store across the mall had sold out its February complement almost immediately, my pal said. This, I guessed, was these kids' version of a new iPad or fancy phone. The cost was well over $150, my buddy told me.
About 15 minutes later, as I was winding up my mileage, a large piece of plastic shot across the floor in front of me and I heard a commotion inside the store that had been open for an hour or so. As I neared the front door, I saw a group of boys huddled around two who were scuffling and two more off to the side who were slugging it out. They tore into displays, knocking them over, rolled around on the floor entangled and broke signs. Shoes flew around the room. The staff looked helpless, not wanting to get in the middle of it.
The ancient mall cop came over at his personal high speed (a slow trudge), talking on his shoulder-mounted communications device, reporting the disturbance, I guessed, to the Roanoke constabulary. He did nothing beyond watch and he followed the boys toward the exit as the fight moved away from the store, to the hall and then outside the building.
I didn't get a strong sense anybody was in any real danger (even the boys fighting didn't look all that mad at each other), and, frankly, the mall was almost empty except for the shoe buyers. It would seem to me, however, that security should be a smidge more secure.