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Curfew challenges ardent shoppers

Claire Vecchioni, Staff writer

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With Black Friday approaching quickly, the curfew at the Towson mall is becoming increasingly bothersome. They call it “Parental Guidance Required” and justify it as an effort to make the mall a more “family friendly” commonplace.
As a young person who this policy negatively affects, I’m up in arms. The curfew states that on Friday and Saturday nights, no one younger than 18 can enter the mall after 5 p.m. without a guardian above age 21. I have been giving my money and business to the Towson Town Center for years upon years, and now, if I want to go shopping any time after 5 p.m. on the weekend, I’m out of luck.
I am a 17-year-old senior in high school. I’m currently making important life decisions like where I’ll spend my college years and what state I’ll be moving to. And yet, I don’t have the freedom to spend my money where I want after 5 p.m.
Initially, I thought the policy wouldn’t affect me. I assumed that mall security, with its minimal civil abilities, would only be able to question teenagers who were raising suspicion. I was wrong.
In early October, my friend and I went to Towson Town Center on a Saturday afternoon. We arrived at 3 p.m. and by the time 5 p.m. rolled around, we weren’t finished shopping. We left at 5:30 p.m., after receiving some stares from security guards, and ran into another friend in the parking lot. She had attempted to enter the mall after 5 p.m. and was stopped at the entrance and asked to show her ID.
I’m not oblivious to the fact that kids my age can be obnoxious. When present in herds, we can be intimidating to other mall-goers. But only the teenagers who are loitering or creating a disruption should be penalized. For others, the weekend is our only free time for things we enjoy, such as shopping.
I spend every weekday studying at school and then studying some more at home. I have hours of homework each weekend and now my free time falls between limited hours at the Towson Town Center.
I’m sure many adults will argue that kids can just plan around the curfew and go to the mall within reasonable hours. Even if that’s true, what should be done when it comes to Black Friday?
Every year, on the Friday after Thanksgiving, the mall is bustling with sale-savvy customers, myself among them. Many teenagers will pick up a day shift at their job because they’re off school. Will the deals be available to them when they show up that night? Nope.
There has been no news about whether the curfew will be lifted on Black Friday, a decision that would prevent age discrimination for holiday deals. As an avid shopper who places Black Friday right above Christmas on her list of favorite shopping holidays, I hope the mall will be open to my business all day.

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