It's been another weird week in retail. Controlling the adult luxury market is no longer enough for Balenciaga, a giant sinkhole is forcing an outlet mall to set up a shuttle service for customers, and it turns out that good-looking men standing sentinel at retailers' doors actually convince men to spend more money than women.
This, and more, in this week's retail therapy.
A rant about Balenciaga's overpriced products
It's been a while since we've written about Balenciaga charging thousands of dollars for products that are, at best, mediocre, so we decided to rectify that by writing about not one, not two but three products that make us want to spend thousands of dollars at literally any other retailer.
First and foremost — purely because it is the most expensive and therefore the most worthy of mockery — is the "Printed Leather Tote Bag," reported by Hypebeast. Hiding behind that deceptively innocuous name, though, is a bag printed with a kitschy photo of a puppy embracing a kitten (we're not even going to go into the realism aspect of all this) that costs $2,250. Worse, Balenciaga claims the childish tote is actually just the company taking a "unique approach" to the animal print trend.
At least the "Triangle Duffle S glittered leather bag," reported by Hypebae, doesn't try to be anything it's not. It looks a little bit like a street sign and a lot like something a 90s sitcom barfed up, but that's really all there is to it. But do not be deceived by its inutility and the fact that it will always match your kid's barbie better than your outfit — the product description tells us that the "glittered leather enhances the irreverent appeal" of the bag… and is therefore worth over $1,500.
And yet, somehow, this is a less-disturbing display of consumerism than the $500 Balenciaga tracksuits that parents are buying for their children, per Kidspot. It doesn't even really matter that the sweatpants and hoodie are a combined $500+. We could forget for one second that this means that some parent, somewhere, spent half a grand on something their child will shortly grow out of and this would still be problematic.
Because it means there is a child somewhere in this world, desperately trying to fit in with all of the OshKosh B'gosh overalls, and wearing a $300 hoodie with a Balenciaga logo on it.
Giant sinkhole steals Christmas
A sinkhole opened up at a mall in Pennsylvania earlier this year and probably won't be fixed in time for the holidays.
While the sinkhole didn't consume any stores at the mall — just parts of the parking lot and several cars — it's hard not to make a connection to the bankruptcy sinkhole consuming every mediocre retailer consumers have long forgotten about it.
Don't worry, your local mall will still be there. An article by Penn Live noted that Tanger Outlets was working to provide "shuttle service" for shoppers trying to use the mall on weekends and during the holidays. So, it'll just be there in an even more inconvenient way than before.
And people say retailers don't have an answer for Amazon's two-day shipping.
Those buff men outside stores aren't there for the women
In a surprising turn of events, the male model-like store associates posing outside stores — perhaps most associated with Abercrombie & Fitch, though the company is quick to comment that they ended the practice in 2015 — actually convince more men to purchase than women, CNBC reported.
Call it the "wow, how can I get myself to look like that guy" effect, but whatever the case, a study published in the Harvard Business Review found that attractive, fit men at the front of stores caused men to spend much more than usual — especially men of a "shorter stature."
"We think this is because the physically fit male we used activated the classic male competitive instinct," Professor Tobias Otterbring of Sweden's Karlstad University said. "We know that tall, athletic-looking men typically have greater success in economic and mating markets. So when male shoppers saw him, we suspect, they sensed a rival and responded by signaling their own status: they opened their wallets."
Looks like teen retailers really do have a strategy.
Where has this makeup art been all my life?
There's brand loyalty and then there's "I love Fenty Beauty so much I spent part of my life drawing Rihanna's face on my leg in makeup."
And yet, that's exactly what someone did — more than once — according to Teen Vogue. And we're not trying to knock Rihanna or Fenty Beauty, we're just really curious what a retailer has to do to get someone to tattoo themselves in a temporary material out of sheer love for the brand.
Then again, Burger King fans told the fast food chain that they loved its chicken tenders when the company had not sold them for years, so if it's a choice between falsely recalling really good memories or using makeup to commemorate brand love, we might also tattoo ourselves with Rihanna's face.
Hey, at least the Rihanna fans are using Fenty Beauty products for something marginally useful instead of burning products in rage.
think you’ve had BK’s Crispy Chicken Tenders already?— Burger King (@BurgerKing) September 20, 2018
think again. they’re available for the first time today. pic.twitter.com/vqjWQNBg2a