The first thing I noticed while at the mall is that people tend to go shopping with people who appear similar to themselves. It may be because when a person is shopping, he or she is looking for his or her sense of self, and that sense of self is linked to their sense of others. People tend to have friends that fit their image. They also tend to wear clothes that express their sense of self.
This was not just a race or a sex similarity. The groups of people who I saw were of similar weights, clothing styles, sexes, and races for the most part. They wore similar styles of clothing and had similar mannerisms. If I had to guess, they were likely the same religion. This was among people who seemed to be friends or acquaintances “hanging out” at the mall.
There were other relationships that spoke to our culture and socialization. At the food court, it seemed that men were getting women food more than the other way around. Women seemed to allow their sons to get away with more than their daughters. This reflected much of the traditional gender roles in our society.
The groups of people tended to congregate around stores that fit their lifestyles as well. There were teenagers sitting by the Abercrombie and Fitch. Bath and Bodyworks had more mothers with strollers. The food court was the most diverse, but even then people tended to sit in areas near like groups.
The natural segregation of people in the mall may reflect differences forced by societal norms, or they may be a natural segregation of like-minded individuals. Mothers talked to other mothers, and young people talked to other young people. Similarly, they shopped at the same places. There was a certain amount of logic to the whole process. Everyone had at least one thing in common, and that is why they were all in the mall. However, you would not find these people together in many other settings.