Walking through the mall recently, it struck me that it was only a few years ago that I used to get all my clothes at stores that now seem to cater to kids who are too young to baby-sit. The clothing in my old favorite stores now generally looks like it should be sold with bibs and pacifiers, and maybe something that lights up and plays “It’s a Small World After All” when you shake it.
If I did buy something in one of my old stores, the sales people would probably politely wait until I left the store and turned the corner. Then they’d gather up whatever they had left of the item I just bought, take it out back, and toss it in an incinerator marked “OLD PEOPLE LIKE IT.”
I’ve graduated from my old demographic. Not that long ago, I was in the demographic of wearing jeans halfway down my backside and blaring Rage Against the Machine through the neighborhood. Now I’m in the demographic of elastic waistbands and feeling my pulse quicken when NPR’s Marketplace comes on. If I turn the bass way up, I can actually see my rearview mirror vibrate when David Brancaccio says the word “NASDAQ.”
I understand all too well that I’m not exactly the target audience for my old clothing stores anymore. Perhaps that’s why I find some current trends so difficult to understand. For example, why do clothing stores in the mall invent sports teams to put on their t-shirts? I’ve never been to an American Eagle lacrosse game, but apparently they have a team. Do they play pick-up games against Friendly’s and Hallmark?
If I were on the American Eagle Lacrosse team, I’d be sure to show up for the game against Spencer’s Gifts. I’d psyche out my opponents by waving my big lacrosse stick around and yelling things like, “You know those fake fire pots with the wavy orange paper blowing around in them? Yeah, well they don’t even look like real fire!” and, “The only thing shocking about those hand buzzers you sell is how bad you are at lacrosse!”
Okay, I wouldn’t be that good with the insults, but that wouldn’t matter, because while they’d be paying attention to scoring goals, I’d be putting “Beer Belly Helper Wacky Pills” into their water jugs. I wouldn’t be exactly sure what to expect from those pills, but if the packaging is any indication, hilarity would certainly ensue.
Oh, and the Abercrombie Ski Patrol — what exactly is that? It must be an elite team that’s always on call in case anyone gets hypothermia in the baby-doll tee section, or breaks a leg while reeling backwards from a pair of $148 jeans. And I don’t mean in any way to impugn the integrity of the Abercrombie Ski Patrol. Someday I might launch off a mogul, attempt a daffy to spread eagle combination, then wipe out on the stretch boxer-briefs display, showering tight-fitting yet breathable men’s underwear all across the store. If that ever happened, I’d sure be glad that Abercrombie has a stringent certification process in place for all of its ski patrollers.
Certification process: “Hey kid, would you pay thirty bucks to wear an advertisement for my store? Great! You’re on the team.”
Perhaps I’m just bitter because the depressing reality is setting in; it is only a matter of time before I’m going to have to buy all my clothing at stores that also sell chainsaws.