A Hole Other Story

I asked AI this question: “with reference to a shopping mall, is there a formal word to describe a large expanse of undecorated wall space?”

What a strange question, but while driving from Alabama to Naperville, there is a lot of time for strange questions to arise.

AI had many wonderful and provocative answers, like:

  • Blank wall
  • Featureless wall
  • Undressed wall
  • Available wall surface
  • Unoccupied wall plane
  • Bulkhead
  • Neutral canvas

I love them all! Let me tell you my story, and maybe you have some even better ideas:

Back when I worked as marketing director for a regional shopping mall in Columbus, Ohio several years ago, we had a large blank wall. This featureless wall was very high up and to the left of one of our anchor stores. That store no longer exists, nor does the mall. Progress!

Anyway, one of the first things I noticed upon joining the mall is that there were about a dozen small, BB gun pellet-sized holes in that undressed wall.  I might be a keen observer of the retail environment, but these holes were pretty noticeable to all.

I asked my boss about the holes in that available wall surface. He said that not long ago, there was an event in the mall that involved a lot of helium balloons and a few just kind of got stuck up there against that unoccupied wall plane. So some of our maintenance crew members got their BB guns and shot the balloons down. Hence the holes.

I did some research (today, not back then) and discovered that latex balloons, the typical round kind, lose helium the fastest. They can stay afloat for anywhere between 8 and 48 hours. Thank you, internet!

Why didn’t we just let the balloons fall? BB guns!

Why didn’t we just fix the wall? Asbestos!

If we so much as touched any part of that bulkhead, we’d have to tear that whole neutral canvas out and replace it.

We ignored the ugly problem to avoid the expensive one.

Leaving both problems hovering over us, literally.

What do you think?

See you tomorrow.