My Problem With Specific Retail Stores, Volume I
1. Target - Okay, for the sake of argument, let's leave out how all these stores killed Mom 'n' Pop establishments downtown, and just look at them for what they are. Target is fuckin' awesome, but sometimes I don't know if it's awesome in comparison to what it used to be, or awesome empirically. I do know this: buying cheap crap in a clean new store with good décor is better than buying cheap crap in a dirty store that has flu strains on every cart. It's like Virgin America - I'd rather be cramped with ambient purple lighting than cramped on US Air.
2. American Apparel - I know the kiddie porn ads are offensive, and everyone seems to be stuck in a heroin re-imagining of 1981, but you can't beat the thin, comfy cotton, and it's all made here in the USA. But I just don't understand why they have to make all their T-shirts so long. T-shirts that go down to your thigh will only work on anorexic drug addicts - every time I buy a shirt there, I have to stitch it up six inches, and I'm six feet tall. Could they stop being such jerks about it?
3. The UPS Store, Mailboxes Etc. - There is a prerequisite for working at a box-n-ship place, which is "MUST BE A SHORT-TEMPERED, ILL-SOCIALIZED ASSHOLE WHO HATES HIS FELLOW MAN". Because of our frequent travels, I wind up in these places all the time, and 95% of them are manned by some of the meanest people imaginable. Does packing tape make a person crazy? Fuck it - if I wanted to be ignored and humiliated, I'd go to Home Depot.
4. Home Depot - Getting help at a Home Depot is like wandering around Kyrgyzstan with a blind dog. It's like they put every single building tool under a roof the size of the Matterhorn, and then abandoned it, leaving only two cashiers and one guy aimlessly driving around in a forklift.
5. The Gap - Oh, The Gap. What happened to you? It used to be the place you could always get solid basics, but now I just can't find anything I'd actually wear. Why does it feel so... cheesy? Did you change, or did I?
6. Orange Julius - Actually, there's absolutely nothing wrong with Orange Julius.
7. Brookstone - I see one of these places and I salivate with the kind of operant conditioning that comes from a lifetime of gadgeteering. But once you're actually in the store, I'm consistently amazed at how few things are actually appealing. And that's saying something, because most of you old friends know how hard it is for me to say no to a USB deep-fat GPS dongle. Plus, not to get all Howard Hughes or anything, but like fuck if I'm gonna sit in one of those massaging chairs after 700 people already did.
8. Barnes & Noble - B&N is beginning to be a place we'll tell our kids about, a holdover from a dead era, a little like the Illuminated Texts display at the Getty. If they really wanted to port themselves into the future, they'd have a little button in front of each book that would allow you to wirelessly download it to your Kindle, iPod, etc... sure, I'll still get Sector 7 in hardback for Lucy, but unless you gots big pretty pictures, why can't I just read it without felling trees?
9. Foot Locker, Athletic Attic, etc. - I don't get it - all you guys do is shoes, but if I want real shoes, I have to go to Modell's or Dick's Sporting Goods? I buy basketball shoes because I play basketball in them, god dammit - and all you've got are flimsy green Nike throwback low-tops? I'm not going to a barbecue, boys - I'M GOING TO THE MOTHERFUCKING RACK! Stop giving me fashion choices and GIMME SOMETHING THAT FEELS GOOD AFTER I THROW DOWN A THUNDEROUS MONSTER JAM!!!Posted by Ian Williams at January 7, 2010 11:21 PM