10 mall chain stores I can’t believe are still in business

September 11, 2008

Ever been to the mall and wonder, “How the heck does that store stay in business? No one is ever in there!” Well, I do too. I present you with my list of 10 stores at the mall I can’t believe are still around…

10.) The Thomas Kinkade “Art” Gallery:
If Anne Geddes photos are your idea of art, the Thomas Kinkade store might be for you. After all, who’s buying Picasso these days anyway?

I’ve never seen anyone in the Thomas Kinkade store, except during Christmastime. If they’re not buying paintings, they’re stocking up on the fugly keychains/calendars/coffee mugs. I imagine the “artwork” is quite expensive. Every painting is a  “limited edition” even though every damn one of them has the same glowing thatched roof cottage and sugary-sweet nature scene. His “work” is nothing but an expensive Paint-By-Number. Why not save yourself hundreds of dollars and go to Ben Franklin and create your own?

However, what I wouldn’t give to see his rendition of dogs playing poker…

9.) Dots

If Kim Kardashian was broke, she’d shop at Dots. If you thought that Fashion Bug, Rainbow, and DEB were the lowest rungs on the women’s clothing store ladder, then you obviously haven’t been to DOTS. DOTS is disposable clothing at its finest. Think neon colored shirts with attached necklaces, hot pink bras, checkerboard patterned pants, plastic booty shorts, and just some absolutely BIZARRE “trendy” shit.

Clothing made with any natural fiber is nowhere to be found in this boutique – it’s a GHETTO-LICIOUS polyester paradise. Everything in the store used to be $10 or less, but I believe their prices are a bit more these days. The only Dots I know of in the Twin Cities area is located in the Har Mar Mall in Roseville.

I suppose it stays in business just because it is so cheap. It’s just that it’s so incredibly tacky I can’t imagine why anyone with a smidgen of fashion sense would shop here. Why not save your $10 and put it towards an outfit at Macys that will last through at least one spin cycle?

8.) Payless Shoe Source:
Payless catapulted the BOGO phrase into pop culture and made the dyed-to-match satin bridesmaid shoes a gold standard at weddings. Other than that, it doesn’t have much to offer, except for the obvious,  of course –cheap plastic shoes that give your feet a blister the minute you put them on and ugly knock-off monogram Louis Vuitton bags.

Last time I bought a pair of shoes at Payless, the plastic made my feet sweat so bad that I had to carefully peel the shoes off my feet, as not to tear away any of my skin.  Never again!

Why do people torture themselves like that? You’ve only got one pair of feet – treat them well. It’s amazing that people still shop here.  Spend $10-$20 more and get a better pair of shoes at the department store that won’t cause your feet to insta-blister or sweat.

7.) Cache:

Outfitting mob wives and cougars since 1990

Cache: Outfitting mob wives and cougars since 1990

If Carmella Soprano owned a store, Cache would be it. Cheap-looking, flashy, vinyl Vegas wear — it’s like BeBe for the over 40 crowd. This is where Cathy Cougar shops for her “night on the town” outfit to reel in that 21 year old college student at First Ave.

The clothing in this store is incredibly overpriced and tacky and I NEVER see anyone shopping in this store or anyone in the mall carrying a Cache shopping bag. How they stay in business is beyond me.

6.) Love from Minnesota: It’s a local chain found in nearly every Minnesota mall, but I’m sure whereever you’re from, your state has one of these tourist memorabilia stores filled to the rafters with generic screen printed t-shirts, cheesy postcards on a rotating rack, and ugly overpriced chotchkies in your shopping centers. The Mall of America alone has about 50 of these stores spread throughout the mall-so if the impulse hits you to buy a teddy bear with “Mall of America” on its belly or a t-shirt with a written profession of your newfound love for the land of 10,000 lakes, you’re never more than 50 feet away. Are tourists really purchasing this pricey shit? I don’t know about you, but if I go to Missouri, I don’t feel the need to buy golf balls with an “I <3 Missouri” inscription.

Let's be realistic here. Bears do not drink coffee or read newspapers. They want the good shit, like watermelon rinds and day-old pork products.

Let's be realistic here. Bears do not drink coffee or read newspapers. They want the good shit, like watermelon rinds and day-old pork products.

They’re also well-stocked with those ugly ceramic black bear collectible figurines. For the record, I hate that shit. Those bears are always doing something ridiculous that a REAL grizzly bear just cannot do. Like playing on a teeter totter or drinking tea. Fuck. Where’s the “black bear ransacks through the trash” statuette? Now THAT I’d buy.

5) Dress Barn

Dress Barn

A women’s clothing store named after a building in which farm animals live? Just by its name alone, it’s a wonder this place gets ANY customers. Its name implies that you’ll look as big as a house wearing their clothing — and judging by the matronly look of most of their apparel, it isn’t that far off. I guess the name “Dress Barn” is better than, say, Trouser Trough, Slacks Sty, or Clothing Combine. Despite its horrible name, chubby middle-aged moms who’ve “given up” and senior citizen women alike FLOCK here for the frump.

If you’ve ever wondered where Dowdy Darla at the office gets here wardrobe, there’s a good chance she’s shopping at Dress Barn. This is where they still sell elastic waist jeans, ’90s style business attire, boxy twinsets, and shapeless tunics. Think QVC-style clothing in a brick and mortar setting.

4) The Body Shop
I never see anyone in this store. The mall could have a Bath & Body Works AND a Body Shop – Bath & Body Works is packed, and The Body Shop will be empty. The store is so tiny that I feel like a bull in a china shop. I don’t know what it is, but it seems so dark and depressing – if I’m buying yummy-smelling bath products, I don’t want to shop in a gloomy store. Plus, their products are kinda…out there. Weird hemp products, strange scents…I bought a blueberry body butter and when I opened it up, it looked like Crisco. Yuck.

3) Franklin Covey:

Franklin Covey is shooting itself in the foot by being closed on Sundays

Franklin Covey is shooting itself in the foot by being closed on Sundays

Who the hell uses paper daytime planners these days? You can’t sync your leather planner with your Outlook calendar, unless you want to get writer’s cramp. And there’s just a downright pretentious feeling to the place. With the faux stone columns of its storefront, I feel like I’m walking into a museum of binders. A little foreboading, perhaps? Paper planners and organizers probably WILL be in a museum in next few years. Adding to the pretention, they’re closed on Sundays. While that’s great for the employees, if you have a RETAIL business that markets items toward the 8-5 crowd, why close on a day when your target market has the free time to shop?

2) Glamour Shots:
Pancake makeup! Fat ladies in boas! Prom hair and fuzzy lighting! Over-the-shoulder poses! Yes, ladies, Glamour Shots is STILL around, providing headshots for realtors since 1992, Although they’ve toned down the cheese factor a bit over the years, it’s still the place to go if you want wallet-sized photos of yourself in all of your foxy badness.

Every girl, no matter what age, wanted a Glamour Shots photo shoot in the ’90s. If you were getting your highschool senior portraits done here, they’d make you look like you were 40. They made all little girls look like Jon Benet Ramsey. Adult ladies looked like daytime soap stars from 1987. But no matter age you were, the photographer would the obligatory “denim studded jacket with a cowboy hat shot” -  Gah.

1) Radio Shack:
High pressure sales on AA batteries? No thanks! Not when I can go to Target and buy the same batteries CHEAPER and without the sales associate trying to “upsell” me a remote controlled car. And who plays with remote control cars these days anyway?

I think I’ve only purchased one thing from Radio Shack in the last 10 years. It was some sort of video cable that I probably could’ve bought at Best Buy. They made me give my name, address, and telephone number for a $4.99 CASH purchase. Who knows, these days they’re probably asking for your Social Security number, mother’s maiden name, and the name of the street you grew up on…and then having you to pass a “word verification” test to make sure you’re human.

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6 Responses to 10 mall chain stores I can’t believe are still in business

  1. Serena on October 9, 2008 at 7:00 AM

    The sad thing is that with my wide feet Payless is one of the few places I can buy shoes… and considering how much I love shoes it’s just tragic! *weeps*

  2. [...] trends, lists, malls, top 10 lists, Wu Tang Clan |   In the spirit of my previous post – 10 Mall Chains I Can’t Believe Are Still in Business – I present to you the top 10 stores I wish were still in business. Not saying that I would actually [...]

  3. Calli Arcale on January 22, 2009 at 3:32 PM

    You have to be a particular type of geek to like Radio Shack. Yeah, you can get cables at Best Buy — but can you buy individual resistors there?

    (Admittedly, Radio Shack isn’t doing as well at catering to their traditional core market anymore — the electronics hobbyists.)

    Regarding Dots, I believe there is still one in one of the saddest, most depressing strip malls I know: Signal Hills. Used to be a wonderful covered mall. From Herbergers to Dots. *sigh* Now there’s a mall that could give you material, if you could find information from it’s heydey. It was a wonderful mall, but got killed by the guys who wrecked Har Mar. Now it’s a strip mall, anchored by Dots, with a desolate Big K in the parking lot. *shakes head*

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