{My Lifelong Problem with Kiosk Vultures at the Mall}

I’m extremely non-confrontational by nature. Learning to stick up for myself is something I struggle with almost constantly, even now. As a child, getting in trouble was one of my biggest fears. When faced with confrontation, not only does my heart start pounding and my ears start ringing, but I break out into rash-y looking hives on my neck and cheeks.

That’s why it is no surprise I hate the kiosks at the mall.

And really, I cannot fault people for trying to find meaningful work. Heck, it’s more than I can boast for myself, and that’s the truth.

But riddle me this: Why–why–must those dadgum kiosk workers at the mall be such vultures?

All I wanted was a salted pretzel from Auntie Anne’s, but the route was heavily guarded by three different dreaded kiosks: one for Swarovski crystal-bejeweled hair clips, one peddling mineral face powders, and another–much more threatening than the others–vending cell phones.

Image from here.

No, it isn’t worth it,” I decide. I could forgo food forever if it meant I never had to walk past another Kiosk Vulture.

There’s always a slight chance of survival if shopping with another person, because at least then I have someone with whom to conspire, “Quick! Look right into my eyes and talk to me about something really important…”

But even that doesn’t always work if the Kiosk Vultures catch my eye before “really important” conversation can begin.

photo courtesy of Chris Gregerson

cgstock.com Stock Photography

“Hey, ladies,” I hear from ten feet to my left. I can’t ignore it. Try as I might, I cannot walk by without acknowledging the person who I know was talking to me. But that look–that one tiny glance and slight little nod–is cause for certain capture. Every time I think I can smile and walk on by…

…and every time that same maddening voice in my head screams, “How can you be so rude? He was talking to you! You were raised better than this–you cannot treat this human being like dirt.”

Of course, my one tiny glance and slight little nod are all the Kiosk Vultures need to ask more questions–questions I can hardly ignore: What cell phone service do I have? Do my hands feel dry? Do I like free things? Would I care for a sample?

Telus™; surprisingly; of course; yes, thanks. I have to answer–I don’t know how I couldn’t.

But why? Why are they shouting at me? Why do these people think it’s okay to yell inconsequential questions at me from across the corridors of the mall? In what other situation is it acceptable to yell at a complete stranger, “HELLO! DO YOU HAVE STAINS ON YOUR LIVING ROOM CARPET?!” I fail to see how it’s any of your business, fellow human being. Especially since there is no way I would ever purchase wares from a Kiosk Vulture–it goes against everything I stand for.

And in these difficult times, the problems is only getting worse. Now, with 20-minute teeth whitening and remote-control helicopters and hermit crabs and sarongs/scarfs/headwraps and 100% UVA/UVB sunglasses and vintage portraitry and Crocs™ and VitaChangeYourLifeForeverMineralJuiceOfTheUniverse and genuine leather luggage tags and *take a breath* Seaweed-Kelp Body Butter…

…is nothing sacred?

About Camille

I'm Camille. I have a butt-chin. I live in Canada. I was born in Arizona. I like Diet Dr. Pepper. Hello. You can find me on Twitter @archiveslives, Facebook at facebook.com/archivesofourlives, instagram at ArchivesLives, and elsewhere.
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14 Responses to {My Lifelong Problem with Kiosk Vultures at the Mall}

  1. Anonymous says:

    I could not agree more! I hate the vultures. I am thinking there should be a way to fix it so that kiosk vultures can keep thier jobs and innocent shoppers can navigate the mall without the fear of being victimized. This is my proposal: every kiosk much have a boundary marked on the floor around said kiosk. Let’s just say a nice gray duct tape. Anyway, those who stip on or inside the duct taped area are fair game to the vultures. Those of us who prefer not to talk to them just need to watch our step and not go on or in the taped area. The vultures are not allowed to approach anyone outside of the taped area. Wouldn’t that be nice? Then I could act naturally in a mall instead of ducking and hiding from vulturous vendors. Julie

  2. Anonymous says:

    You are so hilarious. I always feign extreme interest in whatever window is nearby when I am walking next to a kiosk. If one of the kiosk people try to talk to me anyway I say no thank you and keep on going or pretend I didn’t hear them. They’re used to it, believe me.

  3. chelsie says:

    I feel so privileged that i was there with you as moral support through such a trying experience.
    It’s a good thing we have eachother to get through things as horrific as these.

  4. HeatherPride says:

    Oh, how I hate them too! I just put my head down and bust a move until I’m safely through. I used to feel rude, but then I rememebered how I never just butt into a perfect stranger’s conversation (unless he’s on fire, I might say something then).

  5. Anonymous says:

    You could always try this. Look right at them and then after a long moment of silence shrug and give a confused face. Then continue to walk.


  6. Anonymous says:


    Sounds like you need to stay out of the mall.

  7. Zach and Whitney says:

    I hear ya! I always walk really fast like I have little time and need to get things done so they leave me alone. I dont feel bad when I do get stopped at saying Im so sorry But im in such a hurry. Thanks though. They dont mind that. I promise

  8. Anonymous says:

    i feel bad sometimes too. they can be so dang annoying, though, and after i walk past them , i get over my feeling of guilt really quickly. so it’s all good

  9. Loralee Choate says:

    So…your big secret was that you hate mall kiosks?

  10. Geneva says:

    But Camille, I can’t live without my VitaChangeYourLifeForeverMineralJuiceOfTheUniverse

  11. HeatherPride says:

    Hey, I just gave you an award! Check it out at my site!

  12. Raygon says:

    I am echoing Loralee, what is your secret?! The kiosks?

  13. A Letter To Kayleen says:

    mall kiosks make my palms sweaty.

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