What Your Back-To-School Mall Trip Looked Like In 2001

While shopping could never really be boring, sometimes your excursions can feel a little stale. Window-shop the new arrivals, drop by the clearance rack, hit the changing room, rinse, and repeat. But back when the mall speakers were piping in "Drops of Jupiter" and your wallet's license window only held a photo of Heath Ledger cut out of YM, trolling your local shopping center was an event. An event you can live all over again, with just a little YouTube magic.
Step through the slightly creepy entryway into the belly of Hot Topic. Don't let the man screaming on the loudspeakers distract you from your task — buying a Tinkerbell tank top, a new pin to add to your messenger bag, and a bottle of pink Manic Panic you're thinking about trying (just a streak!). As an impulse buy at the counter, pick up a fuzzy wristband that says, "Do I Look Like I Care?" (You do care, but it's a really pretty shade of purple.)

Photo: Courtesy of Hot Topic.
Then, walk over to Claire's, where you debate between the glitter-spangled headband and the Hairagami. (Go with the headband, since you can wear it at school, and Hairagami just got banned.) Decide you're too old and mature for BFF necklaces — that is, until you find mood BFF necklaces, which gives the jewelry an obvious touch of sophistication.
Photo: Courtesy of Claire's.
Stare wistfully at the Build-a-Bear Workshop as you pass, remembering your youth, before pressing on to the Clinique counter at Macy's.
Step into Abercrombie & Fitch with the intention of buying jeans. When you realize a pair of jeans would cost all the money your parents gave you for back-to-school and half your birthday money, settle for a white tank on sale. Comfort yourself with the knowledge that you will go back to school emblazoned with this important, tiny moose — and with the Ab bag for your gym clothes.
Actually buy your denim at JC Penney, where your budget gets you two pairs of glitter jeans, a green belt with three rows of buckle holes, and a T-shirt with not only a rhinestone collar, but a picture of a monkey who also has a rhinestone collar.
Tell yourself you're not going to go into Limited Too, because you have, like, no money left over for Limited Too. But, at the last minute, realize you have just enough for swirled lip gloss that's half opaque and half clear glitter.
Treat yourself, after this exhausting day of shopping, to Dippin' Dots. They are, after all, the ice cream of the future. Totally on-theme with your new-school-year M.O.

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