Recently my family of four made the 700+ mile trek from Indiana to the Northwoods of Minnesota for a family reunion. On the way back we figured we should stop in Bloomington, Minnesota (a Minneapolis suburb) to visit the famed Mall of America. Upon arrival, we discovered the Twin Cities Ikea sitting just on the other side of the road. So, we made the stop for Swedish meatballs and a few incredibly cool and incredibly inexpensive lamps. Then we drove the the 4th or 5th floor of the Mall of America parking lot to enter what has been hyped as a shopping Mecca. I was completely unimpressed. What I saw was more or less four floors of repetitive shops (a Lidz on each floor, With Love from Minnesota repeated on three floors, many dollar stores), some okay restaurants, a small amusement park and a miniature golf course. The best way I've been able to describe it to my friends is this: take any large mall and copy it three times. Stack those on top of each other. Stretch them out to make room in the middle. Plop a roller coaster and a couple spinning rides in that space in the middle. Then, put some decent stores at four corners (Sears, Macy's, Bloomingdale's and Nordstrom). I have no need to ever visit again, though if I'm at Ikea, I might make a trip to Nordstrom alone.