I had a hard time selecting a blockquote from Douglas Coupland's essay on retail shopping because every paragraph is a gem.
I was really excited to go to Harrods in London and when I got there everything was . . . shiny. Everything looked like it was designed by the same guy who did Michael Jackson’s wardrobe, which is fine. I guess I was expecting a whole other level of luxury, which sounds so corny. And what would a whole new level of luxury look like, anyway? In the old days, more luxury meant more jewels and shiny stuff. These days, it usually means a lot less, like Muji or airport interrogation rooms. Humanity actually seems to be split down the middle on luxury: those who want gilded leopard-shaped teapots, and those people who want to live in the white box their iPhone came in.
"Kmart Solutions" in-store video from 1998.
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It's a good idea to do your best to avoid this.
I am a recent transplant to Los Angeles from Manhattan. Like many New Yorkers, I didn't drive a car when I lived in NYC. Now, like many Angelenos, I must.
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At Medium, Robin Sloan writes an appreciation of Nerdhaven, the archetypal shop in Everytown "catering to comic book readers, the D&D players, the gatherers-of-Magic."
A shopper fled from an Asda supermarket in Edinburgh, Scotland, after being confronted by a "dragon" in the toilet
—a creature that turned out to be a harmless monitor lizard. The lizard was rescued by animal welfare officers, who have named it Lulu. [The Scottish Sun]
The Newsstand is a subway shop inside Brooklyn's Lorimer/Metropolitan station that specializes in zines. Great idea! (And yes, it's already been nicknamed the "hipster newsstand.") Paper magazine interviewed the proprietors:
Lele Saveri: I think the zine idea was also because of the location. You're in the subway and people are used to grabbing something to read for the train ride. If it's not a newspaper or magazine, you just download [something] on your phone. [Zines] are something people can get for cheap and a unique thing. Also, you're [physically] underground and zines have always been about the underground world.
Jamie Falkowski: I think that space is really interesting because it's so different from going into a regular newsstand. You have to spend time and look at all the different titles and find the thing that speaks to you.
LS: Everyone who works at the stand are people who have been related to the zine world forever. They know exactly what they're selling. It's not like a dude who sells magazines and doesn't even look at them. Every day there's a new person and every day the person is curating or moving things around. I swear you'll see new stuff every day.
"MEET THE FOLKS BEHIND THE LORIMER STATION ZINE STAND"
From the BBC:
The severed head of a deer was left on a self-service supermarket checkout, prompting a police investigation. The innards of the animal were found in one of the aisles of the Tesco shop in Saffron Walden, Essex, police said. ... A spokesman for Essex Police said nobody had been arrested. A spokeswoman for Tesco apologised for "any distress caused".
I don't know what the big deal is. Don't we all do the same when the stupid self-checkout won't beep something?
Expect America's malls to soon become orange-scented. A new study by Washington State University researchers suggests that "simple scents" -- they tested orange -- can stimulate a bump in retail sales. This is compared to no smell or "complex scents" like an orange-basil-green tea blend used in this study. From WSU:
The researchers say the (simple) scent is more easily processed, freeing the customer’s mind to focus on shopping. But when that "bandwidth” is unavailable customers don’t perform cognitive tasks as effectively, says (Eric) Spangenberg, (dean of the College of Business)...
"WSU researchers tie simple scent to increased retail sales
The Cedar Rapids Gazette
: "A doe and her two fawns tried to get a jump on the Black Friday sales in Coralville on Monday morning when they surprised the staff at Kohl’s by entering through the automatic front doors.
The United States Geological Survey is having a great big spring sale
, with lots of maps, charts, and publications—some of them mid-century vintage—discounted to $1. Yes, $1. At that price, you can't afford to not own entirely too many USGS maps. (Via Travis Weller)
Muji sells high quality generic products at inexpensive prices; think Ikea with better taste and a Japanese flavor of minimalism. This is its background music. Bruce Sterling: "More starkly minimal than the muzak from lesser outlets of capitalism."
At an LA-area Wal-Mart today, one shopper pepper sprayed rival bargain hunters
, and the horde tore down the video game stands. #Occupy Aisle 13! But Wal-Mart's reckless encouragement of Black Friday stampedes—it sounds whistles
in stores to kick them off—isn't always a joke
. [LA Times]