Girl Walks Into an Outlet Mall

Only in Texas would a massive, shade-free shopping center with tons of upscale discount stores be the state’s fourth most popular tourist attraction. (And in San Marcos, no less.) But enough of my spin. Where are the best bargains? Who has the coolest stuff? How do you stay hydrated? And—most important—what should you do with your husband?

IF YOU ARE PLANNING a trip to Texas’s fourth most popular tourist attraction, the side-by-side Prime and Tanger outlets in San Marcos, my first words of advice are these: Do not take along a Marxist or any other critic of the capitalist system whose sociological, psychological, or geopolitical worldview might weigh you down on your appointed encounters with supposedly gigantic markdowns on goods you absolutely, positively must have. This sprawling patch of Central Texas—a strip center on steroids just off exit 200 on the frontage road of northbound Interstate 35—is a place to travel light. Acknowledge any feelings of guilt or attacks of conscience (Do I really need a Gucci sweater? Don’t I have bills to pay?) and let them go. Otherwise, you will not be able to make the commitment necessary to shop in this weird and wondrous monument to consumerism, with its more than 225 stores from retailers the

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