Two Way Hard Three | Las Vegas Casino & Design Blog

October 26, 2011

STOP IT: Hostile Shopping Mall Design

Posted by Hunter

Just a quickie post about a pet peeve that is reinforced every time I'm in Las Vegas: hostile shopping mall design.

You see this at The Crystals (photo below) and also at the Forum Shops - instead of allowing someone to walk directly to their destination, the guest is re-routed, sometimes way out of the way, to put them in front of more stores. It's beyond annoying.

Now, this is nothing new. Companies like Disney are the masters of putting retail in your face. I don't realistically expect this to stop anytime soon.

Still, blow me.


Read archived comments (14 so far)
October 26, 2011 11:35 AM Posted by DuLac55

I couldn't agree more.
What's MGM's liability when someone tries to climb over it and ends up falling down a story?

October 26, 2011 11:53 AM Posted by Aaron_B

Sunday I hit the dead end you have pictured trying to get to the “Aria Express” tram to get back to Bellagio. The small shop that is placed between the escalators in the Forum Shops forcing you to walk all the way around the second level is a pain as I’m usually just cutting through the Forum Shops on my way up the strip & will definitely not be spending any extra $$ just because some architect decided to make me take the long way around.
Despite the dead ends trapping people inside Crystals still seemed dead this weekend compared to other high end shopping like the Forum Shops, Via Bellagio, the Canal Shops, and the Wynn Esplanade. I can’t imagine that Crystals is bringing in as much money as MGM had hoped it would.

October 26, 2011 12:15 PM Posted by Brian Fey

When they did this with the latest addition of the Forum Shops, It made me insane also. Its such a waste of time.

October 26, 2011 12:23 PM Posted by Paolo Mello

I've only walked through Crystals 3 times, but I've run into this dead end every time. This design seems like it was intended to dare people into climbing over to make it to the other side, because finding your way around it is so damn infuriating. I'm sure people have done it.

October 26, 2011 3:14 PM Posted by zoddiac

HA! Even better... first time walking thru Crystals from Aria to Cosmo, I stopped to ask a security guard. He gave us some roundabout route (go down the stairs, go around and up the stairs) rather than just direct us around the other side of the mall.

October 26, 2011 7:55 PM Posted by jinx

My first visit to Crystals I walked in and wasn't really thrilled with the antiseptic feel, upon walking into this dead end, I turned around retraced my steps and walked out.

The only time I've ventured in there since then is because I've figured out the path from there to Cosmo.

At least with the Forum shops you know that you have a straight one way path once you get in there. Not that it's better, but if I'm going to visit them, I can plan it for walking in and going through the whole mall. Since Crystals has less accessible shops for average folks, there isn't any reason to 'walk' through it in my opinion.

October 26, 2011 10:28 PM Posted by Mike E

Didn't The Steve declare with the opening of WLV that, "If customers want to gamble, they'll find the damn casino!"

Shopping is no different. Don't force it on me. I don't ever say, "I'm fucking lost! But let me know if you see a Gaultier store along the way."

October 28, 2011 9:16 AM Posted by girlygirl

When I run into these "dead ends", I make sure NOT to stop and buy anything because they are making my visit a big pain in the a$%.

October 28, 2011 10:18 AM Posted by SouthLooper

The tram stations at City Center are so far out of the way, you might as well walk or take a cab. You walk a long way east into Crystals, go up a huge escalator, and walk a similarly long way west in an empty corridor, which ends with another escalator up to the tram station. That tram station is just above Beso and practically above the front desk. Why the circuitous route? It forces you past a few (like three) shops in Crystals.

The kicker is that the tram ride to Bellagio is like two minutes.

October 29, 2011 12:05 AM Posted by John

I've never once hit this dead-end or had a problem finding my way through Crystals. I honestly think there's something wrong with all of you. Like, really.

October 29, 2011 12:08 AM Posted by John

I love saying "circuitous!"

October 29, 2011 2:30 PM Posted by Hunter

Not a question of getting lost. It's a question of them blocking off the most direct route for no (good) reason.

November 1, 2011 4:09 PM Posted by stevecovington

The whole Crystals complex is pretty much a nightmare, I think. This is really a time when they should have "borrowed" the layout of an existing strip shopping mall (Bellagio) instead of designing something so confusing to the average tourist (but I guess that's pretty much all of CityCenter, Isn't it?) If they had went with something in terms of size of Bellagio or Wynn's retail promenades and just funneled guests up to the casino with a big escalator atrium just north of the pocket park, they could have created a fool-proof access point for the biggest money maker, the casino. This would have opened up some valuable real estate around Veer towers and strip adjacent, perhaps extending the casino area up to LVB..


November 18, 2011 2:48 PM Posted by Jana

Another way that the retailers get you is to re-arrange the merchandise so that just when you know where to go, it's in a different place! So you're either walking yourself to death trying to get there, or walking in circles once you've arrived. No wonder so many people are shopping online.