Time Out takes a funny look at shopping in Dubai with the nine most terrifying things about Dubai shopping malls
9. Fear the unknown You’re certain that you walked by this same branch of OshKosh B’gosh ten minutes ago, but if that were true, you’ve been walking in circles and are helplessly lost. The Dubai Mall covers more than 13 million square feet, meaning it’s larger than 50 football fields. When was the last time you covered a greater area than 50 football fields for the purposes of anything other than shopping? You haven’t, of course, but would not think twice about setting off without a map to look at different types of glitter pen you have no intention of buying.
8. Late nights Many of Dubai’s malls have cinemas, meaning you can exit a late-night screening and walk through a deserted shopping centre after midnight. Except they’re still packed and not just with other nocturnal movie buffs. Window shoppers trudge around the shops, their faces more expressionless and empty than the shop mannequins they look up at, murmuring quietly about giant discounts and buy-one-get-one-free scented candles. 7. Parking The sign says there are 632 available parking spaces, yet the mall has been open for all of 17 minutes. And it seems every other driver would happily shove you down a garbage chute rather than relinquish a place closer to the entrance than the one directly next to it. It is tough out there.
6. The smell of baking You only popped in to get some socks and a bottle of shampoo, but then the smell hits you. A certain cinnamon roll provider seemingly blasts it out of its sticky buns directly into the path of passers-by and it’s irresistible. Before you know it you’re back home guiltily licking the frosting off your fingers and wondering why you still have smelly feet and dirty hair.
5. Attentive staff Your mouth might say “just looking thanks,” but your eyes betray what you’re really thinking. And that is, “Please will you just leave me alone. I’ve been in the store less than a minute and I have already told you I don’t need any help three times, but still you’re close enough that I feel the desperate breath of customer service training on my neck.”
4. Scary attractions There you are walking along, minding your own business and thinking to yourself that you might like to buy one of those novelty mobile phone cases you’ve been wanting and look up to find yourself face to face with a school of teeth-baring sharks staring hungrily out at you. And you might think Mall of the Emirates’ penguins look cute, but we’re sure they once looked directly into our eyes when gulping down a fish.
3. The crowds They’re just shoppers, not a legion of the undead swarming in search of live flesh to bump into and get in the way of, they’re just shoppers, not a legion of the undead swarming in search of live flesh to bump into and get in the way of. Keep repeating this mantra to yourself and the queues, bustle and minor shoving at a sales counter might not seem so overwhelming.
2. Taxi ranks The modern world can seem to move at a dizzying pace. Unless you’re in a taxi rank queue with bags of shopping… then it moves with the stealth of sinking sand. It might not be quick, but once you’re in its grip, it will slowly pull you down and there is nothing you can do to escape.
1. Shopping rage All we will say is stand between a determined consumer and the last 75 percent off maxi dress in the store at your own peril. We’ve seen ugly scenes over beautiful garments when there is only one left on discount day.
Will Milner is a regular contributor. He mostly shops online.