This weekend, police were called to an Ikea store in Glasgow, Scotland when employees learned that thousands of people had signed up on Facebook to play an unauthorized game of hide-and-seek in the maze-like building. According to The Scotsman, "groups of youths who looked like they were only there for the game were turned away from the shop.
" From The Scotsman:
The trend for using Ikea’s giant warehouses for games began in Europe a few years ago - and has seen people hiding in fridges, under beds and in the firm’s big blue shopping bags.
However in 2015, IKEA was forced to impose a ban because the events were getting out of control.
Citing health and safety a spokesman explained: ‘We need to make sure people are safe, and that’s hard if we don’t know where they are.’
Rob Cooper, IKEA Glasgow Store Manager said: “The safety of our customers and co-workers is always our highest priority. We were aware of an unofficial Hide and Seek Facebook event being organised to take place at our store today and have been working with the local police for support.
“While we appreciate playing games in one of our stores may be appealing to some, we do not allow this kind of activity to take place to ensure we are offering a safe environment and relaxed shopping experience for our customers.”
"Police called to Scottish IKEA after thousands sign up for hide and seek" (The Scotsman)
image: Google Maps
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This is The Mall, opened in Huntsville, Alabama in 1966 and demolished in 1998. The footage above--collected by Highway Explorer in 1994 as this former retail haven was taking its dying breaths--could do quite well with a dark vaporwave (or mallwave) soundtrack. From Highway Explorer:
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This footage was shot on a very quiet Saturday night in February 1994 only a few years before its demolition. Books A Million is still there, and Home Depot is there now too. The sculpture used in the fountain sits in the traffic circle between Home Depot and Staples. The site is now called The Fountain.
Across America, semi-homeless "nomads" drive from big-box store to big-box store, hunting for items on clearance that Amazon customers are paying a premium for; when they find them, they snap them up and add them to the bins at Fulfillment by Amazon warehouses, whence they are shipped on to consumers.
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Police banned a woman from a Walmart in Wichita Falls, Texas after she allegedly ate half a cake while shopping and then, at check-out, insisted that she should only pay half-price for what was left. This follows on another unusual Wichita Falls Walmart incident a few months back when a different woman spent several hours zipping around the store parking lot while gulping wine from a Pringles can. She, too, was banned.
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Party City, the brick-and-mortar retailer that's a one-stop-shop for single-use, brightly-colored plastic crap and other festive decorations, is closing 45 of its 900 stores across the country. Store profits are down due to the shortage of helium on the planet; Party City historically makes big money from filling balloons. From CNN:
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The Earth holds pockets of helium buried under rock, but it's notoriously hard to capture because it, well, floats. When drilling or fracking for natural gas, energy companies capture some helium and sell it. But helium makes up a tiny percentage of the gasses trapped under rock formations.
Over the past few years, some drillers have claimed to find troves of helium buried underground, but those haven't always panned out. Party City said it really started feeling the pinch in August 2018...
The good news for Party City is it signed an agreement with a new helium supplier. Party City believes the new supplier can help it return its balloon business back to normal starting in the summer, and it hopes the supplies will last for the next two-and-a-half years...
(Party City CEO) Harrison cautioned, however, that the additional helium wasn't a sure thing. Party City's new supplier might believe it is sitting on a lot of helium, but it can't know for sure until it bottles and sells it.
Mallwave is a microgenre of bedroom electronic music and smooth jazz meant to evoke nostalgia for the vibrant mall scenes of the 1980s and 1990s that many of the music's composers are too young to have experienced or at least remember.
Think of Mallwave as a hauntological soundtrack for an Orange Julius-fueled consumer culture where Suncoast, Merry-Go-Round, and Spencer Gifts anchored suburban reality. (Or, in the case of some of the moodier tracks, the kind of muzak that might play in your mind as you wander an abandoned mall in a Ballardian trance.)
From Hussein Kesvanio's feature in MEL:
“The nostalgia is so real you can cry and wish you went back in time,” reads one comment underneath the video “Neon Wave Mall (Vapor Mix).” “I feel a certain sense of… familiarity watching this footage. Almost like I myself have set foot in these places,” adds a viewer of “Corp Palm Mall.” Under the same video, another person opines: “Why wasn’t I born in this time? This video makes me realize how much things were not as advanced as we have now but it was better. I could be wrong, but sometimes I feel like living around the ‘90s sounds fun. Lifestyle is different, mindset is different and not as much laziness.”
According to writer Joe Koenig, this kind of feeling — a “nostalgia for a past you’ve never known” — is called anemoia. In his ongoing project, The Dictionary of Obscure Sorrows, Koenig describes it as “the desire to wade into the blurred-edge sepia haze that hangs in the air between people who leer stoically into this dusty and dangerous future.”
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Buy a single item at CVS and you can end up with a 4'-6'-long ribbon of register tape, a kind of orgy of coupons and come-ons.
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Ocado robots zip around simultaneously filling orders without bumping into each other in this fascinating look at a modern warehouse. Read the rest
Since the earliest days of ecommerce, analysts have predicted that retailers would use their estimations of their customers' willingness to pay to invisibly, instantaneously reprice their goods, offering different prices to each customer. Read the rest
Back in 1989, you could purchase these fine garments at JCPenney inside their incredible Pee-wee Herman Store .
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Waterstones was at death's door when it was purchased by Russian billioniare Alexander Mamut, who hired James Daunt -- an investment banker who'd founded the successful, six-store Daunt Books -- to run the chain. Read the rest
Mary (AKA @sapphicgeek) works in an Indiana comic shop, and Saturday, she met a customer, a distraught teen girl, looking for Supergirl. Read the rest
Bloomberg News hired a lab to analyze samples of store brand aloe gel purchased at Wal-Mart, Target, and CVS. As the first or second ingredient (after water), all the products listed aloe barbadensis leaf juice — another name for aloe vera. None of the samples contained any. From Bloomberg:
Aloe’s three chemical markers — acemannan, malic acid and glucose — were absent in the tests for Wal-Mart, Target and CVS products conducted by a lab hired by Bloomberg News. The three samples contained a cheaper element called maltodextrin, a sugar sometimes used to imitate aloe. The gel that’s sold at another retailer, Walgreens, contained one marker, malic acid, but not the other two. That means the presence of aloe can’t be confirmed or ruled out, said Ken Jones, an independent industry consultant based in Chapala, Mexico.
Target Corp. declined to comment. Spokesmen for Wal-Mart Stores Inc., CVS Health Corp. and Walgreens Boots Alliance Inc. said their suppliers confirmed to them that their products were authentic.
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Bright Sun Films' Abandoned series looks at Circuit City's steady rise and dizzying fall in the world of retail consumer electronics. Read the rest
Review Meta has published an in-depth analysis of 7 million Amazon reviews and found that "incentivized reviews," those with a disclaimer that the reviewer got the product free or discounted, skew substantially higher than non-incentivized reviews. Read the rest
The trademark was granted to discount eyewear company Specsavers, whose slogan is "should've gone to Specsavers." If you object, you have until October 12 to file with the IPO. Read the rest
If you're an Amazon seller and you pay people to review your products on Amazon, the company may sue you. The online commerce giant sued three sellers today for using sockpuppet accounts to post glowing but phony product reviews. Read the rest