Journal: News & Comment

Friday, June 03, 2005
# 10:26:00 PM:

Morbid stats for shopping malls

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[eat play shop]I wonder how often people die at the mall?

What brings me to this question is that yesterday, when my youngest daughter and I were shopping, I noticed a man sleeping in one of the now-ubiquitous comfy chairs at our local mall (Canada's second largest). He looked old, and not in the greatest health. What, I wondered, would happen if he never woke up?

There must be procedures, probably the same as for any medical emergency, for when people die in a mall. Given how much time so many of us spend in such places, it must happen from time to time, even in non-accidental ways—from heart attacks and aneurysms, for example. Even simple old age. Yet we don't hear about it, so I have no idea what the numbers might be. In a year at a busy shopping centre, would it be one or two deaths, or a dozen?

There are worse places for the inevitable to happen. Those who don't avoid thinking about dying altogether usually imagine it happening in a hospital or their homes, or fear car accidents or murder. But when my time comes—many decades down the line, I hope—the mall would be an okay place for me to go.

On the other hand, I'd prefer not to cause the inevitable disturbance, so I won't plan on it.


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