Friday, November 28, 2008

"'These are the things they want, and they’re going to get them like they always do'"

Christmas shoppers in Houston. What was it Faith Popcorn said about being "'irresponsible'" during a recession? (I know. I'm obsessed with that prediction. Or at least, I'm obsessed with how easily that prediction has already been accepted as fact.)

As for stores around here, this Dallas Morning News article is OK but it's weird that their own shopping blog has nothing.

First-hand frenzied shopping report

I had no good reason to go other than I couldn't sleep but I was at Kohls before 6am. Surprising: there was a long line of people waiting in the rain for the nearby Target to open. At Kohls, the parking lot was crowded and the check-out line wound back into the store aisles. Most surprising, though, was that Kohls managers were there, keeping everything moving. It was actually almost pleasant. But I'm not going back out again until, I dunno, next week?

Wednesday, November 26, 2008

Looks like crap

After all these years, I updated the template and I think the results are semi-disastrous. I feel like Pepsi: why'd I bother?

Anyway, did I really think I was going to add a gadget? Me? C'mon.

Tuesday, November 25, 2008

Wanna go to the mall? Maybe get an Orange Julius?

JCPenney CEO Myron Ullman: "People psychologically want to be in a discount or freestanding box environment.” Is he speaking specifically of Walmart? Is he saying that freestanding stores in general are better off? Have malls become toxic? What will all this mean for NorthPark purse-snatchers?

But this is interesting. At Penney stores, "Women's and children's apparel and family shoes were the best performers while jewelry and home divisions continued to be weak." Apparel?

What will happen to Paris Hilton during a recession?

As a symbol of excess and unseriousness, she now seems a bit out of step: "Paris Hilton's popularity has plummeted. The heir-head, whose show, 'Paris Hilton's My New BFF,' on MTV has low ratings, was booed so badly at the Kress in Hollywood this weekend, she refused to take the stage."

What Would Tyler Durden Do could have it right: She's "boring."

"And Marques Haynes to show you how"

It's hard to make anything of the NBA-Harlem Globetrotters marketing partnership -- "Terms of the deal were not disclosed" -- but that's OK. I've finally found the Harlem Globetrotters Popcorn Machine and this is as good a time as any to sit back and let the mid-70s memories take over. And: bonus! The Hudson Brothers too.

Monday, November 24, 2008

"consumers are no longer 'behaving like Sarah Jessica Parker' in 'Sex and the City.'"

I take that as a good sign. But "it’s not simply a cooling of the desire for fashion that is affecting women’s apparel retailers. 'Corporate headcount reductions and rising fears of future unemployment have made our client cut down or even cut out her spending all together.'"

Well. Don't be too quick to dismiss a cooling of desire. What does everyone expect when "animated kewpie dolls" are our style icons?

Friday, November 21, 2008

I was so naive to think that a discussion about holiday decorations would be cheerful and non-polarizing

Oh my dear Lord: "Those inflatable snow globe-esque thingies that everyone with a small yard seems to have gots to go. They anger me." Thank goodness for Jane. And for Anonymous who wrote "Christmas is for everyone, not just kids. It's even for people with no style. Happy Holidays!"

ADDED: I wasn't too clear here, was I? I just think it's mean -- soullessly mean -- to make fun of how people decorate for Christmas. Kinda misses the whole point. I feel this same way about Christmas sweaters. You may not feel that Christmas sweaters are dignified. Or tastefully understated. Or whatever. But the people who tend to wear Christmas sweaters in earnest always seem to be the same people who bring the best food to the office potluck lunch. The kind of people who always make a new pot of coffee instead of leaving the dregs to burn. Those people are great.

Wednesday, November 19, 2008

Is that Glade woman idiotic? Or hot?

An intriguing debate.

Yay Sherman brothers

Yay Stan Lee, Olivia de Havilland and Richard Brookhiser. And everyone else awarded National Medals for arts or humanities.

While I go in search of "Alibi Ike" -- Ring Lardner! -- let's all sing.

Tuesday, November 18, 2008

"I work at Wal-Mart and they treat me a lot better than you spell"

You can't even read about how well big-ticket items are selling at Sam's Club without the comments quickly becoming a rehash of the same, tired, standard Walmart debate. (To be fair, writer Ann Zimmerman herself encouraged this when she made the WWE crack. Honestly. These white trash jokes have been around for years and people still bother to type them out as if it's all somehow original and clever.)

This is the interesting part though: "Sales of groceries and other consumable products—life’s necessities—account for more than 40% of Wal-Mart’s sales....Target Corp. is also a discounter, but its sales last month slipped 4.8%.... more than 40% of Target sales come from apparel and home furnishings, products that shoppers have decided they can live without in these tough and uncertain economic times."

Numbers confuse me. But wouldn't have been helpful to note what percentage of Walmart sales come from apparel and home furnishings. It could be as much as 60% right? Why can shoppers live without Target's non-necessities but not Walmart's? What does all this mean for Target designer collaborations? I'm still going to be able to get tattoo-print fabrics, right?

Thursday, November 13, 2008

"And step upon it heavily"

I didn't realize that This Is The Army was finally released on DVD on Veterans Day. And I had no idea about this: "'This is the Army' has circulated for decades only in cut, poor-quality prints and videos because of its murky copyright status. Warner Bros., which donated the film's whopping $9.5 million profit to the Army Emergency Relief Fund, donated the film itself to the organization in 1950, so it wasn't included in the hundreds of pre-1948 WB talkies sold to TV later in that decade. Warner Home Video's George Feltenstein says the official DVD release was suggested by the Rogers and Hammerstein Organization, which administers the rights to most of Berlin's songs and shows. R&HO don't own the rights to the songs in 'This is the Army' - Berlin donated them to the charitable God Bless America Foundation, which he started in 1938 because he didn't want to profit from that song. So Warners licensed the movie from Army Emergency Relief and the God Bless America Foundation." Amazing.

Wednesday, November 12, 2008

I'm beginning to worry about Mr Calatrava

Chicago's Calatrava Spire is in trouble. "The celebrity architect for the 150-story building, Santiago Calatrava, has filed a lien on the project....the developer hasn't paid him $11.34 million for his work."

Add to this Dallas' Calatrava bridge which at first was merely millions of dollars over-budget then modified and now delayed "due to a shortage of steel and coin." The indignities! And if it really is true that "luxury consumers don't want fashion that screams luxury; it's 'irresponsible' during a recession," will it follow that they don't want buildings and homes that scream luxury? Gasp! Perhaps Mr Calatrava should pursue a Target home furnishings line. Oh. Being a celebrity architect is hard.


Tuesday, November 11, 2008

Good question: What is UP with stores?

I realize New York is a different world and boutiques are a different world within that different world but still: "What is UP with only putting sizes S and XS out on the floor? Really?....Do I really have to ask for help if I want something that will fit my giant, medium-sized ass?"

These labels simply don't want their clothes seen on anyone other than a XS, right? Bad for the brand image. Probably, also, they lack the skills to design and cut a garment for anyone other than a stick figure but mainly, they've chosen to cater only to the XS as if that alone will create instant cache. It might work.

Friday, November 07, 2008

"'people aren't shopping to feel better. They actually are not shopping to feel better.'"

Do you believe these new stories: "Wendy Liebmann, chief executive of consulting firm WSL Strategic Retail, has noticed that the economic downturn is accelerating mainstream acceptance of the thriftier behaviors of the green movement, like cutting out bottled water and growing vegetables. '"People are saying, 'We are going to save money, and we are going to save the environment,"' she says."

Or do you think it's almost boilerplate?

Because to me, it sounds a lot like how people talk about their eating habits: "a lot of McDonald's customers say in focus groups that they want healthy food, but less than 10 percent actually buy the salads."

Maybe we're all foregoing expensive luxuries but we're still shopping. And there's nothing about Halloween decorations from Walmart that seems "green" or "thrifty."


Is the unbelievably brilliant Vanessa Williams the only reason to watch Ugly Betty?

No. Ana Ortiz and Tony Plana are wonderful too. And Judith Light always reminds me of those halcyon days when One Life To Live was borderline dirty. But the show really does need to ditch attempts at a Betty love angle and resist the allure of extra shiny bright guest stars. Oh damn. Well. Sigh. If only they could bring back Santos.

"Off The Hooker"

I love you New York Post.

Thursday, November 06, 2008

I've bought American cars all my life but I will stop if there's a bailout for the US auto industry

I don't get this. Why do taxpayers have to help GM buy Chrysler? Why should tax money cover union benefits? I have a 10-year old truck and I'm ready for a new one. But why should I give my money to people who are already taking it from me forcefully?