I was panhandled at the Santa Rosa Plaza this weekend. Living close to the Haight, I'm used to being panhandled, but I was taken completely by surprise when it happened in such a suburban setting. This was no street urchin. The girl who asked me for money looked like a typical suburban teenager, with converse shoes, Levis, a hoodie & salon highlights. She looked clean and well-fed. I though she was asking for change for a dollar, so when she said "I just need to buy a hamburger," I was completely taken aback. What's that about? Have parents stopped teaching their children that it's rude to ask strangers for money?
This mall seems to attract a disproportionate amount of teenagers. Is it the only place for kids to go in Santa Rosa? The stores could certainly be a draw to this audience. The stores are pretty typical mid-level retail with a high emphasis on teenwear: Forever 21, Hot Topic, Torrid, Gap, Express, and a few blah staples: Bath & Bodyworks, Victoria's Secret and Lane Bryant. The anchor stores are a bit grotty: an old, unrefurbished Sears, a low-end Macy's and an OK Mervyns.
Mall security is fairly vigilant. I was told not to take any pictures for "copyright reasons." What's behind that weird rule? How does taking pictures of mall stores violate copyright? It's not like sneaking photos at a fashion show in Milan to copy in a back street sweatshop.
1071 Santa Rosa Plaza
Santa Rosa, CA 95401