Teens banned from shopping alone on Black Friday at Mall of America

Mall of America

Do you drop your kids off at the mall for a little post Turkey Day shopping or take them with you but let them go off on their own to browse the holiday sales?

If you shop at the Mall of America, the nation’s largest mall, you won’t be able to do that this year during peak holiday shopping times if your children are 15 or younger.

After a chair-throwing meleeinvolving unruly young people during Christmas week last year, the Bloomington, Minn., mall is extending its parental escort policy this year, the Pioneer Press reported this week.

The policy, which requires kids under 16 to be accompanied by someone 21 or older on Fridays and Saturdays after 4 p.m., will be in effect during mall hours on Thanksgiving and Black Friday, and from the day after Christmas until New Year’s Eve. The mall has had the weekend policy since 1996.

The chair-throwing incident, which was caught on video and posted online, wasn’t the primary reason for cracking down on unaccompanied young shoppers, said Dan Jasper, the mall’s vice president of public relations, who cited a record number of shoppers last year on Black Friday.

“We had never opened at midnight on Black Friday prior to last year,” he told TODAY Moms. “We had 217,000 people that day, including some unaccompanied kids who are 14, 15. Just for the safety of everyone, we expanded the policy.”

“The reason behind it is to make sure this is a safe environment,” he said.

While some who weighed in on the TODAY MOMS Facebook page supported the move, others said it was wrong to keep well-behaved young teens from shopping without a grownup.

I think it is unfair to all teens to be treated the same as they are not,” wrote Judie Beford. “There are a lot of good ones and I am proud of them.”

“Not all teens are disrespectful and troublemakers like these kids clearly are,” Pamela Chapman wrote. “In fact, it's been my experience that most are good kids.”

Irene Miscia Martin suggested the mall beef up its security. “Don't make one bad apple spoil it for all the good ones,” she wrote. “We have wonderful teens in our family that love to shop and that would be just wrong.”

Some thought the extended ban on younger kids shopping alone or with friends could hurt sales.

“I think they will be hurting themselves because the thousands of well behaved teens still need presents for their family members,” wrote Jessica Brown.

But Jasper said the policy has helped sales, by encouraging families to shop together.

“Retailers love the policy,” he said. “When we first implemented it, there were concerns that sales would drop. But sales increased following the implementation and remain strong. It encourages more families to come out with their kids and sales went up.”

At a meeting a month ago to discuss holiday shopping, Jasper said the policy was discussed.  “Every single tenant was thrilled because they know it’s a policy that keeps everyone safe and leads to increased sales,” he said.

The mall first started its policy after officials noticed that parents were leaving children as young as 10 at the megamall.

“Families were dropping off their kids and using Mall of America as a babysitter,” Jasper said. “That’s just not safe for everybody.”

Now, he said, the policy gets enforced a handful of times each weekend.


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Why is it multiple children are obese, and the parental stated reason they don't go out is it's "too dangerous"....yet parents will drop their kids off at a mall alone as early as age 10? I don't understand the disconnect.

  • 2 votes
Reply#23 - Tue Nov 20, 2012 4:00 PM EST

Haha, no idea! But you are right. They'd rather their kids stay indoors, and be safe then let them outside. But yeah, at malls or heck, even at the beach kids have been dropped off. Makes no sense.

    #23.1 - Tue Nov 20, 2012 5:22 PM EST

    I know what is obese coming from those comments of yours, rudegubminworker, and that is your head, and ditto for you, NyNy - 2742735. People who love being fat and health Nazi people like Michael Blooomberg, Jillian Michaels, and Jaime Oliver are BOTH evil, period.

      #23.2 - Tue Nov 27, 2012 9:10 PM EST

      I'm actually kind of torn on this one. As a teenager, I was perfectly capable of shopping by myself and never got into any trouble. On the otherhand, I stopped going to our local science fiction convention because too many people were dropping their kids off and leaving them completely unsupervised. (Note to parents: science fiction, fantasy and anime does not denote "child-friendly". If your kid was in the hentai screening room, you only have yourself to blame.) A lot of events I paid money to participate in were interrupted or ruined. I've also had some bad experiences with packs of unsupervised teens on a cruise ship.

      • 2 votes
      Reply#24 - Tue Nov 20, 2012 4:03 PM EST

      My thoughts exactly. I certainly went shopping on my own from time to time as a teenager-perhaps even as young as 13 or 14, and this was only a few years ago as I am 22. I certainly wasn't a problem at the mall, which is a five-minute walk from my house or the grocery store, which is a ten-minute walk. BUT at the same time, I have certainly seen teenagers-sometimes even LATE high school- that can cause BIG problems and act as if they are hyper six-year-olds even though they are six feet tall. I admit that I support this, because it is not during ALL the hours and because it is a safety thing. If it was a complete ban on being alone, I might not support it, but during those peak crazy hours, sure. There are plenty of other times that if they need an hour or so alone to shop for their parents that they can do so. I was at the mall of america once on a school trip several years ago. I was 17, so it wasn't a concern for me (although we were told under no uncertain terms to MAKE SURE WE HAD OUR ID WITH US), but the 15 year olds had to buddy up with a teacher, and I'm not sure they liked that too much. It was a friday night, and we were stopping there for dinner and 'tourism' on our last day of an 11-day music tour...

      I actually remember very little of the mall, I was coming down with a bad cold and just wanted to get some root beer and sit down...

        #24.1 - Sat Nov 24, 2012 4:33 PM EST

        Make their parents pay + interest. What's the prob?

          Reply#25 - Tue Nov 20, 2012 4:05 PM EST

          It should be EVERYDAY BAN and not just during black Fridays. This will help with reducing on abductions as well.

          • 4 votes
          Reply#26 - Tue Nov 20, 2012 4:08 PM EST

          I worked at the Mall of America from 1996 when the weekend policy was implemented to 1998. Before the policy implementation, it was difficult to walk through the corridors without being, at best, delayed by slowly-moving clumps of teenagers to, at worst, being shoved and verbally abused by them. Once the policy went into place, it became a much nicer place to work, and safer to get to my vehicle after closing up.

          The MoA is a HUGE place of BUSINESS. Children age 15 and younger do NOT need to be at the mall on Black Friday by themselves.

          • 5 votes
          Reply#27 - Tue Nov 20, 2012 4:19 PM EST

          I was at the Mall during that riot. If they want to avoid that happening again, they should BAN BLACKS on Black Friday and every other shopping day! Look at the videos: they were the problem!!!

          • 5 votes
          Reply#28 - Tue Nov 20, 2012 4:27 PM EST

          Umm. The roaming groups of unruly teens I experienced on a cruise ship were all white. It should also be noted this was one of the more expensive cruise lines (i. e. not Carnival or Disney) so I doubt any of them were from less than upper middle class backgrounds. Pack mentality knows no color.

            #28.1 - Thu Nov 22, 2012 11:31 AM EST

            I'm sure lots of under-16ers will feel all hurt and discriminated against by this rule, thinking there must be a better way than a ban. But the mall is going to deal with this the easiest and cheapest way they can, and they did. It's all profit-driven. Welcome to the world, kids.

            But don't worry; when you turn 16, you'll be right back there at that mall, sans parents, waiting in line to get the latest and most bad-ass smart phone or running shoes, like the obedient shopping drones you're being raised to be.

              Reply#29 - Tue Nov 20, 2012 4:32 PM EST

              I would never let my kids go to the mall alone until they were old enough to drive. I let them go with a responsible friend or sibling when they were maybe as young as 14, and they were required to stay together, and behave.

              Here's an idea - how about the mall issues a Mall Pass for teenagers under 18. To get a Mall Pass, they have to read the rules of behavior and sign it. If they misbehave, a security guard can take their pass, and they are banned for a period of time.

              • 2 votes
              Reply#30 - Tue Nov 20, 2012 4:49 PM EST

              That would be nice, but could it be done for adults too? I mean, in all honesty, some adults act like five year old's. They throw hissy fits, trample others and are rude. In a perfect world, this would work!

              • 1 vote
              #30.1 - Tue Nov 20, 2012 5:21 PM EST

              So all teens 15 and under should be discriminated against because a very small number misbehaved. That's what the MoA and ban supporters here seem to be saying. Don't any of you remember being 13 - 15 and wanting to just hang out with friends?

              I wish the teens being discriminated against had the organizational skills to launch a boycott against MoA.

              • 2 votes
              Reply#31 - Tue Nov 20, 2012 4:50 PM EST

              "I think it is unfair to all teens to be treated the same as they are not,"

              Blah, blah, blah............

              I'm just waiting to hear someone threaten to sue. If you're the parent of a teeny-bopper girl, I'm sure Gloria Allred will oblige...... if you can afford her, of course.

              • 1 vote
              Reply#32 - Tue Nov 20, 2012 5:00 PM EST

              What if they do not bring a lawyer but settle it by other means, Letusbeunreasonable? Do you honestly KNOW how much a lawyer costs these days? Also, some people will not have the patience to deal with things in such a manner. Finally, if you truly hate a police state, then you will be against this policy and you will train your children to defend themselves against these evil, demon-possessed individuals because what happens to the youth of today will be put upon you tomorrow. "Do unto others as you would have them do unto you."

                #32.1 - Tue Nov 27, 2012 9:14 PM EST

                I agree with the poll, I think children under 15 should not be allowed to walk the mall unaccompanied. Just because they're 15 does not mean they are safe! You have a LOT of people there, older, stronger adults who could take the child or teen.

                This is a safety measure, nothing more, nothing less. It is not made to punish good kids, it's made to protect them from unruly teens, and adults.

                • 3 votes
                Reply#33 - Tue Nov 20, 2012 5:19 PM EST

                The mall just wants the teens to bring the parents with the deep pockets with them. It's all about the money.

                • 1 vote
                Reply#34 - Tue Nov 20, 2012 5:23 PM EST

                I totally applaud this action, I only wish our major mall would make a similar decision. It has been years since my children were teens, but they were never allowed to go to the mall by themselves, until they actually got an after-school job working at the mall. Mall of America has caused some this problem themselves making the mall a place of entertainment and not exclusively shopping/dining. I go to a mall to shop and all the "extras" that Mall of America has just take up space. Why is it that we need to be entertained while shopping?

                • 1 vote
                Reply#35 - Tue Nov 20, 2012 5:27 PM EST

                There wasn't much of a problem when I grew up, granted that was in the 50s. But in the 50s, kids were expected to behave themselves. A lot of this is due to parents trying to be friends with their kids, instead of parents. No morals, God has been taken out of everything. When you have an immoral society, this kind of behavior is what you get. Obama is a good example of an immoral person. He lied about Benghazi and all of the democrats are pushing general Petraous under the bus.

                • 3 votes
                Reply#36 - Tue Nov 20, 2012 5:31 PM EST

                god has nothing to do with any of this, but does serve as a convenient rationalization for justifying any right wing viewpoint you want, i.e, hating gays, declaring your political opponents as immoral, or venting your anger at teenagers you've never even seen. You act as if your religious beliefs should govern the country, down to the smallest decisions about how a shopping mall operates.

                You'd probably be more comfortable in Salem, MA... in about 1692, where you could track down witches and burn them for the glory of your god.

                • 2 votes
                #36.1 - Tue Nov 20, 2012 5:50 PM EST

                Ric Steinberger, (pimp smacks the stuffings out of him so hard that he nearly decapitates him) shut up, you judgmental, amoral, elitist, immature, hypocritical, fascist jerk. A lack of morals, ethics, and good character building is precisely what leads to such draconian laws being enforced and what also leads to broken homes, pedophiles, and more and more criminal actions. "Do unto others what you would have them do unto you" meant a lot back many years ago and if you had a single sub-sub-protozoan brain cell that is inside of that big, empty space that you dare refer to as a brain, then you would understand this all the more in your life.

                  #36.2 - Tue Nov 27, 2012 9:18 PM EST

                  I'm guessing the 10% that voted "It's ridiculous" haven't been to the MOA. I avoid that place like it's the Plague anyway.

                  • 1 vote
                  Reply#37 - Tue Nov 20, 2012 5:52 PM EST

                  I for one am staying home this Black Friday, like I always do. The crowds are terrible whether it's teens or adults. NO THANK YOU. I will roll out of bed, make some coffee and then turn on the computer and shop at my own leisure. No pushing, no shoving and especially no LINES. Ain't life grand??

                  • 3 votes
                  Reply#38 - Tue Nov 20, 2012 6:02 PM EST

                  This generation of "youngsters" are out of control and need to be reined in. Good decision by whoever made it. Hopefully other malls will follow.

                  • 1 vote
                  Reply#39 - Tue Nov 20, 2012 6:56 PM EST

                  "unruly young people"

                  Why is MSNBC afraid to call it what it was.. a flash mob of up to 200 people!

                  • 2 votes
                  Reply#40 - Tue Nov 20, 2012 7:03 PM EST

                  Poor parental influence and control make one bad apple statistically bigger. The mall has the right to say who can or can not be there. There is no government financial support given to the businesses there, so the discrimination rule does not apply. Think about that before you claim it.

                    Reply#41 - Tue Nov 20, 2012 7:21 PM EST

                    While I agree that kids shouldn't be there 'coz of the danger aspect, it's more for the danger of stupid ADULTS then the children. I mean, most of the shootings and major violence is from the adults, not the teenagers, So, maybe we should ban people over 18? I mean, from the logical standpoint..What it really is is "Kids don't have money, and we don't want them crowding the area where paying shoppers could be fighting over a half priced toaster"

                    • 1 vote
                    Reply#43 - Tue Nov 20, 2012 8:01 PM EST
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