Mall within its rights to enforce dress code
Sept. 1, 2002
The management of Bonita Lakes Mall is well within its rights to enforce dress code provisions that technically have been in place since the commercial shopping center opened in 1997. As one mall manager put it the other day, the mall is private property with public access.
It is true that shoppers are invited in through media advertising and in-store displays, just as it is true that many people enjoy "walking the mall" for exercise with nary an intention of buying anything. While opinions may vary on whether enforcement of dress code will help sales or ensure safety, it was becoming obvious that something needed to be done.
There were just too many complaints from shoppers and personnel who work in many of the stores that they felt uneasy when large groups of, mostly, ill-dressed teen-agers wandered around with their caps or bandanna colors or pants legs indicating possible gang activity.
We'd like to think people will respect the private property/public access nature of Bonita Lakes Mall and respond accordingly. We'd like to think shoppers of all ages can continue to enjoy the mall's offerings. If that means enforcing appropriate dress and behavior, then so be it.
We hope it doesn't come to the point where people entering the mall are asked what their intentions are, or whether the baby carriage they're pushing is really theirs, or to empty their pockets and walk through a metal detector. Such extremes probably would not contribute to increased sales.
In the meantime, today as always, it just makes good sense to behave responsibly when you're out in public even, maybe especially, if you're on private property.
Meridian is fortunate to have Bonita Lakes Mall as a shopping option and people who work there or go there to shop must feel secure in their surroundings.