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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Maybe it's just because I'm only 23 & I was a teen not very long ago, but i find this a bit much. I'm sure it has already been mentioned, but if you go and look at all the real incidents on Black Friday's of the past few years, it is ALWAYS a GROWN ADULT that has caused problems, damaged property, injured and even KILLED others. Yet adults aren't banned.

And please, do me a favor and don't tell me that there's some excuse why it's okay to ban ANYONE under 15, yet never even think about taking a preemptive strike against moronic adults.

  • 2 votes
Reply#46 - Tue Nov 20, 2012 8:10 PM EST

yeah..I'm twenty-seven and I agree whole heartedly with you.

  • 1 vote
#46.1 - Tue Nov 20, 2012 8:22 PM EST

So it's OK to have kids wandering around malls unaccompanied when you know that adults have "caused problems, damaged property..." Great environment for the younger set. Please wait a few years to have kids yourself; you've still got some growing up to do.

  • 4 votes
#46.2 - Tue Nov 20, 2012 8:30 PM EST

I'm 22 and I agree with this rule. Okay, I found it a little bit silly when I was 17 and on a school trip and the 15 year olds had to buddy up with a teacher, but that was only because it felt unfair if we were there as a whole group to have that. It's not ALL the time, only a small portion of the week. But let's just say that I do frequently cringe when the young teenagers come through the mall in the packs at an insanely loud noise level, blocking the way of anyone else, etc, etc. There are other places to hang out besides the mall...I certainly didn't hang out at the mall when I was a teenager...and I have a mall a FIVE MINUTE WALK from my house.

  • 1 vote
#46.3 - Sat Nov 24, 2012 4:39 PM EST

ljhays, politely shut the fahk up, go back in time, tell your parents to swallow, and then travel back in time further to tell them to never meet at the frat party, okay? Holly Ferguson and Mrs. Jessie (who sounds like she is married and may have children of her own, by the way) were completely in the right to tell you fascist, hypocritical, judgmental, arrogant, discriminatory, prejudicial, nitwitted morons the business like they did. In all honesty, it is the ADULTS, yes, the seemingly mature, responsible adults, who do things like raping, torturing, kidnapping children and, oh, yes murdering them and going to malls and being obsessed with stupid things like Black Friday and trampling over one another, over children, and damaging property (kind of like soccer/European football fans do regardless of a victory or a loss) and yet the children are supposed to let things like that go? Any of you young people that promote such a rule is already a Sith Lord or Lady and you as well as you immature "adults" need to check yourself or else these rules will be enforced upon YOU one day, too. "Do unto others as you would have them do unto you." Where did that lesson become forgotten in modern-day society?

    #46.4 - Tue Nov 27, 2012 8:53 PM EST

    ljhays- Let's get something straight:

    Nowhere in my post did i say "it's OK to have kids wandering around malls unaccompanied" blah blah blah don't need to quote the rest! I said that i found this flat ban to be A BIT MUCH, as well as talking about how adults misbehave too but are NEVER banned AHEAD OF TIME! I didn't speak rudely to anyone, i didn't curse at anyone or make nasty comments...

    So even though it's none of your business, [and I'd like to know what qualifies YOU to decide when someone is ready to have children??] i DON'T plan on having children for at least a few more years! I'm 23 years old, I'm in no rush to become a mother, thank you very much. Though it has absolutely NOTHING to do with my skills and abilities to take care of children. I have been involved in childcare since i was around TEN YEARS OLD. I've taken 2 full years of Early Childhood Development classes, psychology etc.

    I've been pursuing childcare jobs as my career path for more than 5 years now. I am GREAT at what i do! Every family that i have ever worked for has had nothing but high praises for me.

    So... explain to me why it is i would need to wait "a few years" if i decided i wanted children now??

      #46.5 - Tue Dec 4, 2012 9:39 PM EST

      Freedom is free. They hate us for our lack of freedoms.

      No one under 16 admitted without an adult- to a shopping mall. LOL.

        Reply#47 - Tue Nov 20, 2012 8:19 PM EST

        While I agree what those teens did last year was anything but what you should do in a public place, how many adults have we seen act terrible as well? Fights break out when people are waiting in line to get the big deals and someone breaks line at the last minute. Or how about the adults fighting each other over game consoles and games. Some of the examples that some of these kids have, aren't very shining. I refused to buy during the craze of black Friday. I think I'll just stick with Cyber Monday and buy from online stores. Less stress, less fighting lines, and get what I want, and in a timely manner.

          Reply#48 - Tue Nov 20, 2012 8:24 PM EST

          Why would parents allow children under 16 to be unaccompanied at a mall, especially during the wacko holiday season? Please brush up on your parental vocabulary: words like k-i-d-n-a-p, c-h-i-l-d-m-o-l-e-s-t-e-r. I applaud the mall for trying to keep kids safe.

            Reply#49 - Tue Nov 20, 2012 8:27 PM EST

            Parents leaving kids as young as 10 years old alone in the mall. What the frick is wrong with these people?

            What a hunting ground for pedophiles. What is wrong with these parents. If any kid is found without a parent they should be charged and the kid or kids taken away. There is no excuse for using the mall as a babysitter.

            • 1 vote
            Reply#50 - Tue Nov 20, 2012 8:54 PM EST

            51 deleted, Glenns with a nonsensical diatribe about how black people have an 'innate violent personality' and 'black teens chimp out in the Mall'. Banned, flameout - put the racism somewhere else, folks.

            • 2 votes
            #50.1 - Tue Nov 27, 2012 4:47 PM EST

            okay 10 is tooo young to be alone at a mall (or just about anywhere). 16-18 are allowed to be alone and are just as likely to throw chairs, or shoes or smoke pot in the dressing rooms. So 11-15???? well, hell, the Mall will probably implode with all the mischief they could do. UNLEASH HELL!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

              Reply#52 - Tue Nov 20, 2012 9:12 PM EST

              Why do I get the feeling that most of the folks who are against this rule don't understand that parenting is not the job of the mall OR they're really teenagers (or not far from it), crying wolf over their rights being taken away?

              If the teens really were spending much the Mall wouldn't be imposing this. They're doing so to protect the stores, their employees, their shoppers. The people that really spend the money.

              I've got a niece I'd have NO concerns about going off to a mall like that, who's 14. Would her parents ever let her? No way! Kids that age in a pack don't make good choices. Even with her being a good kid... you just don't go there. It's stupid.

              Too many idiots harken back to 'when I was young...' Yeah, well when I was young, urban brawl in a mall wasn't heard of. Neither was bringing a gun to school. Or flash mobs of teens shoplifting (happening in my area.) Or kids beating up kids on the bus for their iPhones/tablet/insanely expensive gadget in the hands of an unaccompanied kid.

              It's a different world and business have every right to protect themselves - and the comfort - of the folks actually there to shop.

              Cry all you want kids, about how you have the cash or the card to buy... it won't change the fact that 90% of your peers are there to hang out, buy something at the food court, and do nothing but 'hang out'.

              Like pigeons.

              In a mall, it's honestly a nuisance. But if you try and chase them off, they're likely to @#$# on you.

                Reply#53 - Tue Nov 20, 2012 9:21 PM EST

                Last year people where beaten, killed and robed as people where walking to their cars after shopping. That's not where I want my kid. No one should be doing their shopping alone!

                • 1 vote
                #53.1 - Tue Nov 20, 2012 9:36 PM EST

                It's not the well behaved teenagers that I'm worried about this year. It's the misguided adults that would pray on them. Keeping your kids safe should be your number one concern. Please keep them safe! The man standing next to you in line may be a pedophile waiting for you to turn your back. I make sure even my wife takes her gun with her and stays very alert when walking to and from her car. Don't walk alone and keep your hand on your panic button (the lost car, horn button) on your key chain. If you hear a car horn going off investigate as a group you may save some ones life.

                  Reply#54 - Tue Nov 20, 2012 9:30 PM EST

                  You can teach them to learn to rely on themselves and to beat said potential predators to a pulp if you truly loved them, Confussed - 1578043. You can guard your children all that you want but in the end, it will be up to your child to learn how to defend themselves in case of such an attack. Granted, it might be a bit too much for a small child to learn such things, but by the time that they are 12 or 13, they should be learning to stand a bit more on their own and be at least capable of evading an attacker and/or using basic combat skills to neutralize said attacker.

                    #54.1 - Tue Nov 27, 2012 8:59 PM EST

                    Shopping is bad enough, having to wade through groups of people, teens or not, just hanging out has to hurt the merchants. They pay for store front rental, I think this is fair.

                      Reply#55 - Tue Nov 20, 2012 9:44 PM EST

                      The hoodlums dont add to the economy,keep the leash short

                      • 2 votes
                      Reply#56 - Tue Nov 20, 2012 9:59 PM EST

                      I'm guessing the same types of parents who let their 10-14 year old children roam the malls unaccompanied are the very same parents who let their overly hyperactive children run through restaurants without so much as a single reprimand.

                      • 1 vote
                      Reply#57 - Tue Nov 20, 2012 10:26 PM EST

                      MOA is right to do this. I'm tired of the bad parenting that's allowed in this society. Mall cops aren't there to supervise your thug children.

                        Reply#58 - Tue Nov 20, 2012 10:31 PM EST

                        ...and you wonder why you are like your namesake and that even porn sites, DVDs, sex toys, your hands, and your own genetalia have divorce papers and restraining orders against you, Dateless Nerd, and do not even get me started on the restraining orders from other people.

                          #58.1 - Tue Nov 27, 2012 9:01 PM EST

                          Shopping on Thanksgiving is what should be banned. Americans are nothing more than greedy consumers of stuff, stuff, and more stuff. The American Dream has been watered down to nothing more than capitalism. The funny thing about it is that while the average bear gets whipped up into a buying frenzy to save a few dollars, the goods purchased are no different than anything else. In the end, the stuff you buy on Black Friday will offer you no more happiness over the long term than anything else purchased at any other time.

                          Americans are nothing more than stupid sheep, slathered up by ads and then herded like cattle. Yes, all of you bent on shopping are as sophisticated as barnyard animals. And, in line and on the roads, your behavior will reflect this!! Happy shopping.

                          • 2 votes
                          Reply#59 - Tue Nov 20, 2012 10:41 PM EST

                          Yes, it is disgusting that the retailers don't respect this wonderful uniquely American holiday.

                            #59.1 - Wed Nov 21, 2012 6:19 AM EST

                            ...and you are another stupid sheep, Troy - 2251798. Tell me where you live and what you do for a living and why you are such a bitter, hate-filled individual? A business has a right to do business but only through honest, moral, ethical, and legal means. Anything else is just plain evil and your ban on days to shop is in violation of all four tenets of good business practices.

                              #59.2 - Tue Nov 27, 2012 9:03 PM EST

                              How about we ban these teenage rats everywhere.

                              • 1 vote
                              Reply#60 - Tue Nov 20, 2012 11:39 PM EST

                              How about we go back...how old are you...whatever, how about we go back in time to how many years ago that you were born and ask your parents to swallow and then go back further in time to tell them to never meet on that beach, mmm1379? Yeah, that is right, son, you were once a teenager but now, you are just a bitter, hate-filled Dark Lord of the Sith! If there is anything that needs to be banned, it is the idiocy of people like you and like Troy - 2251798! You all pollute the gene pool with your stupidity and you need to be ashamed of yourselves, for you are just as bad as the parents with unruly, wild children. We need to chlorinate the gene pool.

                                #60.1 - Tue Nov 27, 2012 9:07 PM EST

                                I lived in Edmonton, Alberta, which has a mall which is even bigger than the Mall of America. The kids who hung out in the mall all day (yes ALL day) were called "mall rats" and they really were becoming a problem. Older guys would also sort of troll the mall for younger girls to invite to "parties" - and finally one 13-year-old was picked up and sexually assaulted and beaten to death. It is too bad that mall did not have a ban on unescourted young teens like the Mall of America does.

                                • 2 votes
                                Reply#61 - Wed Nov 21, 2012 6:17 AM EST

                                It shouldn't be the responsibility of the Malls to keep teens out and safe. Where were the parents? Enough said.

                                • 1 vote
                                #61.1 - Tue Nov 27, 2012 2:56 PM EST

                                Children of this generation at not taught morals or to respect their elders or others property. Now days, I think this should be a permanent policy for all hours and days of business. I am tired of loud, unruely and disrespectful teens. This should be the rules for grocery stores also, if your child is screaming, unruely or touching merchandise the parent should have to remove the offensive child until the parent can gain control of said child. We just have a lack of parenting these days.

                                  Reply#63 - Tue Nov 27, 2012 2:27 PM EST

                                  If I had a teenager there is no way I'd let him/her shop alone because I would then have no clue what they are buying.

                                  Also in this day and age letting a child alone even in a mall is not safe as they could be kidnapped.

                                    Reply#64 - Tue Nov 27, 2012 3:32 PM EST

                                    This was a good idea, not just because of certain rambunctious teens, but because of out-of-control adults also. I saw news reports about several different cases of violence either threatened or actually committed by adults on Black Friday.

                                    • 1 vote
                                    Reply#65 - Tue Nov 27, 2012 4:55 PM EST

                                    The FEW always ruin it for the many. The few whose parents NEVER taught their children how to behave like responsible HUMANS. It happens in work and in private life. And lawyers did this. I was told by my 11 year old son that he can do whatever he likes and if I punish him, then he would report me to the police like the lawyer told him in school.

                                      Reply#66 - Tue Nov 27, 2012 7:41 PM EST

                                      KBelle, I say that, as a survivor of an attempted kidnapping and attempted murder (the latter one happening four times to me), that teaching your children how to think and defend themselves in this hostile world is the absolutely right thing to do in their lives AND to think for themselves as well, madam. If you do not teach your children to think for themselves rather than a bunch of megacorporate fascists, the shcool system, you, or some religious or anti-religious group, then they will never truly become adults in the sense of the world and they will become meek and blind little sheep that are ready for the slaughter by the wolves. By the way, KBelle, it was not the unattended teenagers that were to blame for the stampede that had happened there last year, it was the even more immature, obnoxious, rude, fascist, judgmental, arrogant, narcissistic, power-tripping, power-hungry, egotistical, hypocritical "adults" that started that whole fiasco, as in the ones that probably supported this kind of thinking in the first place. Did you see the same events as I did or are you just practicing your selective memory skills?

                                        Reply#67 - Tue Nov 27, 2012 8:46 PM EST
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