#9 You'll never find a clock in a mall. Here’s why!

And no windows either! Let's understand the Gruen effect.

#9 You'll never find a clock in a mall. Here’s why!
World's first mall

You are reading the 9th edition of our fun + informative APH newsletter :)

To everyone who is new (and also old) here - WELCOMEEE!

Every Wednesday, we share:

  • 🤯 A WOAHHH! fact
  • 💭 A Quiz for you (with the answer at the end)
  • 🤗 An Arey Pata Hai?! Update
  • ❤️ A Comment that made our week

All the CRAZY 8 previous editions + one special edition can be read here. Now let's jump into malls (virtually).

🤯 WOAHHH! fact

Ever been to a mall to buy just 1 thing but came out with 2 more things that were never on your list?

It isn’t your fault…it is the "Gruen Effect". More on that in a bit.

Malls have all the features to make you spend more & buy on impulse. A few examples:

  • No windows or clocks: Makes you lose the sense of time so that you don't realise it's been hours since you were there! 
  • Vibrant music & good lighting: Makes you happy & relaxed. You shop more when you are in a good mood.
  • Confusing layouts:  You can't reach the product you want easily. On the way, you get exposed to more products, increasing the chances of buying something.

What's happening is the "Gruen Effect" or "Gruen Transfer" - a psychological tendency of shoppers becoming disoriented and making unplanned purchases.

It is named after Victor Gruen - the architect who designed the world's first mall. But The Gruen effect is the exact OPPOSITE of what he intended to do...

Dreams and Regrets | Landscape Architecture Magazine

It is 1938. Victor Gruen came from Austria to NYC. He was known for designing retail spaces. He came up with the idea of making well-designed window displays to attract shoppers.

Now he wanted to make a "third place" for Americans. A place that's neither your home or your office but where you can just go and hang out with other people.

This was his vision for a Shopping Mall - a place with greenery, statues, fountains, multi-use facilities, medical centers, child-care facilities, libraries etc. A place to connect with your community. Shops were just a small part of it.

He made the first mall in the world - Southdale Center, in 1956 in Edina, Minnesota.

Overview - Southdale Center: The First Indoor Shopping Mall - LibGuides at  Minnesota Historical Society Library
Yup, this was the world's first mall

But over time, malls evolved to solely being a retail space. Gruen disapproved of such malls and the manipulative techniques involved to make one spend more. But they were here to stay...

Tell us if you observed any of these techniques while you were at a mall?


This is the first mall of India - Spencer Plaza. The original Spencer building was built by the British in 1863. In which city is it?

Tracing Spencer Plaza, India's first mall

Hint: It was neither in Mumbai nor Delhi.

🤗 This week at APH (Arey Pata Hai?!)

Making this wrap-up was full of "pinch-me" moments :') And then getting SO much love from you all on that was just 🍒 on the 🎂

We also finally got to use to the craziest screenshots we had ("aedhi phata hai" is our FAV haha).

Lesson Learnt: Take those screenshots when you are small. They are super precious later.

ALSO: We shoot tomorrow. It's getting too COLD here in Gurgaon to use our spray bottle. Please suggest some creative punishments 🔫

💌 A comment that made our week

Okay we look like creepy stalkers. But this conversation made us smile :)

Thank you Pausali & Rajeev :))

✅ QUIZ answer

Spencer Plaza is located in Anna Salai, Chennai! It was made by the British in the Madras Presidency.

👋 See you with another fun fact, next Wednesday. Time to visit a mall ;)


Team APH

PS: Special edition newsletter's Quiz-Wiz answer was interrobang. Yup, that's our logo?!

PPS: Takes us hours to put this together, but will only take you a few seconds to reply to this mail. Let us know if you liked reading this, we don't mind that little dopamine ;)

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Read all the previous editions here. Promise they are all equally interesting🤩

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