My husband and I drove to Mercedes yesterday to shop at the RGV Premium Outlets. It had been a while since we’d been there, and some things had changed.

Comparisons are never good, but I could not help but compare this shopping center with the one in Round Rock, Texas, because they are both owned by the same company.

Some of our favorite brands, like Cole Haan, G.H. Bass & Co., and Disney, are gone, but we still like some of the brands available today. We also enjoy walking around and window shopping and coffee at Starbucks.

Shopping should be a great experience, it should have the feeling of NEW! Shopping is where we buy new clothes that make us feel and look great. Stores should smell wonderful and be spotless. But sometimes things feel off like yesterday.

I wanted to sit down for a while to enjoy the great weather, but I had to clean the bird poo from the benches and hope the stubborn white feces would not stain my clothes.

Along the walkways, there are these dirt squares that could have been for plants because I noticed a sprinkler head. In my opinion, a hazard for pedestrians. Someone could get hurt.

Front windows are a big part when showcasing merchandise, and so many of them were smeared, dusty, and dirty – not a good look.

The place needs to be addressed. Many kiosks were closed, and a snack shop was closed too. I noticed when a young family tried opening the door, only to find it locked. The place is still in business, from what I gathered, but closed on that day.

I do not think the neglect has to do with poor sales, for most of the time the outlet mall’s parking lot is full, especially during the weekend. My observations do not have much to do with sales but with the maintenance of the place. We found some nice clothes, and the staff was friendly everywhere.

I also noticed some torn window awnings and could not shake a feeling of abandonment. There seems to be an issue with bird droppings, and we all know how that goes, but there is power washing. More effort is needed. We say in Spanish; No se ven las ganas -( we don’t see desire.) I only saw neglect.

I seldom write negative reviews, but I needed to share my experience, hoping someone who can make a difference would read it. The Valley deserves the same as Round Rock, where the shopping experience last month was better. It was clean, looked new and modern, and well kept.

Any thoughts?