(this post turned out to be a farce) woops
WASHINGTON—An alarming new study conducted by the Department of Education has found that 60 percent of all Americans are unable to locate the major retail outlet Payless Shoes when presented with an ordinary shopping-center map.
The study, which surveyed 200 consumers, has raised a number of troubling questions about the public's grasp of basic mall geography, its ability to identify key regional chains, and its awareness of the diverse brands and logos that make up today's world.
Dr. Howard Saunders decries the nation's lack of basic shopping-center knowledge.
"Not only did a majority of Americans fail to find Payless Shoes on the map, but, more disturbingly, many didn't even know which floor to look on," said Dr. Howard Saunders, a cultural studies professor and the study's lead researcher. "To see countless men and women point to the outline of a parking garage and call it the largest footwear retailer on earth—well, it makes you wonder about our priorities as a society."
Saunders, who stressed that knowing the location of various stores is one of the most relevant real-world skills Americans can possess, said he was deeply discouraged by the study's results. Of the 60 percent of participants who struggled to find Payless Shoes on the map, nearly 30 percent seemed to be guessing at random and 20 percent reportedly confused the shop with the similar-looking Foot Locker. Another 5 percent searched for assistance, but were unable to figure out how to get to a nearby information desk.
Even more shocking, Saunders said, was the inability of many Americans to pinpoint their own location, despite it being accompanied by a bright green star and the words "You Are Here."
"These results are far worse than we could have anticipated," continued Saunders. "It's almost as if these people had never traveled outside of a JCPenney before."
Secretary of Education Margaret Spellings, who personally monitored the study, said that the United States ranked behind 130 other nations when it came to mall-map comprehension—an embarrassment considering one-third of the countries surveyed didn't even have shopping center