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Is the Mall Too Crowded? Probably Not for Women!

Nov. 20, 2002

Mall Photo

Crowds are good for shopping, eating and entertainment... for some people.

Is the mall too crowded?  Probably not for women, says Dr. Kirk Wakefield, chair of the Marketing department at Baylor University's Hankamer School of Business.

Women like bustling shopping center

"Women get more excited when they see a crowded mall," explains Wakefield.  "Men, of course, want to get in and get out and don't care to have others there to interfere with completing the task.  Women welcome the interaction."  Wakefield asserts that the crowd cues women that "something good is going on in there."

Food court a mixed bag

What about the food court?  "That depends upon who you are with.  A crowded food court to a male by himself is seen as a hassle," he says.  "A crowded food court to a female by herself is more exciting, with more opportunity to interact with others and not be alone. 

"On the other hand," adds Wakefield, "two or more guys see a crowded food court and are relatively excited about the prospects.  Call it an 'act the fool' opportunity.  A female with a companion, however, sees a crowded food court as infringing upon the interactions she already has anticipated with her friend.  So, when she was alone, the crowd was good.  When she already has a companion, the crowd is bad."

Males distressed at crowded parties

Both genders look forward to some entertainment after shopping.  "Both males and females get excited about going to a night spot for some entertainment," he says.  "But as it gets more crowded, males get very distressed.  In contrast, females seem to handle the crowd just fine, hardly feeling distressed at all in a crowded place," he says.

Wakefield's observations are the results of his recent research in leisure retail venues.

About Wakefield

Since working as a secret shopper for the St. Louis Cardinals in graduate school, Wakefield has taken an interest in finding out what makes sports fans tick. He has conducted fan research in virtually every venue in sports, as well as a variety of other leisure retail venues, such as shopping malls. This research has led to over 30 publications and a forthcoming sports marketing book.

About Baylor University's Hankamer School of Business

Baylor business students encounter a variety of experiences that strengthen their value system, develop their leadership skills and help them build a global perspective based on a strong Christian foundation.  For more information visit Baylor Business on the web at

To interview Wakefield about his research, call him directly at 254-710-4267 or contact him by email at


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Cynthia J. Jackson
Director of Communications & Marketing

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