Last weekend included a trip to the mall. I escaped with the purchase I had come for, a lingering headache, and an urgent need for a nap. Why had I spent so long in there? Perhaps it was due in part to the "Gruen transfer", the term for shifting from targeted buying to impulse buying that seems to have been publicized by anti-consumerism scold and Media Virus author Douglas Rushkoff. Architect Victor Gruen was one of the creators of the modern mall (and not, despite what you may read, the cannibalistic leader of Uganda); he designed America’s first modern strip mall, Southdale Shopping Center in Minnesota, which is still in business today. Gruen had ideas about the new American city which were seized upon by Walt Disney, but while Gruen, like my home town‘s founder, shopping mall and suburban developer James Rouse, seems to have genuinely wanted to improve urban America, his invention ended the era of the downtown department store and directly contributed to the demise of the city as an everyday destination. Gruen’s employer, the Dayton-Hudson department store chain, is still around, but it’s evolved as the department store declined and the big box retailers (usually located in strip malls) arose to replace them; the company is now known as Target, and I can’t seem to leave its stores without buying something I didn’t intend to. None