"People who dislike malls go there as well, simply because they take away the alternatives."
They don't, by themselves, "take away the alternatives." PEOPLE do that. I.e., if they want to keep the mom-and-pop places around, they should choose to go shop in those places so they stay in business. And in some cases, that's just what they do--I myself do it. I live in the city, and the malls are in the suburbs--HARDLY convenient for me.
The Mall of America is 8 miles from my home, yet I've only been there twice in all of its existence--once to see it out of curiosity, and once to take a friend from out of town there who wanted to see it out of curiosity. I'm not a "mall" person--I like to go into a store, get what I want or need, and get out. If I'm seeing a girl who likes malls, she can go there by herself, thank you. There is always constant heavy traffic around the places, and finding parking.... Plus the crowds.
There's a K-Mart right in the city, 8 blocks from my house, where everything is cheaper than the mall stores. I get my clothes, housecleaning stuff, and other basic stuff there. I get CDs at the Cheapo's (a new-and-used CD store down the street), books at various small bookstores all over the place. I don't NEED to drive out to the burbs for anything except work....