Another weird year in retail has just passed. Because we're all looking for excuses to delay the New Year's resolutions we'll inevitably give up, we've compiled a list of all the best trends (read: travesties) the retail industry brought us in 2019.
Take a minute to sit back, relax and reflect on the year's worst moments. Here's to hoping 2020 won't be as unsightly.
Starbucks unveiled an Instagram-able drink that caused baristas everywhere to collectively sigh
The coffee giant tempted its Instagram-obsessed customers yet again with another colorful concoction: the Tie-Dye Frappuccino.
The blended frozen beverage was made using tropical Crème Frappuccino with bright colors swirled in made from red beet, turmeric and spirulina, the company said. And while Starbucks didn't explicitly indicate what the beverage should taste like, many customers reported the drink having an artificial banana taste, which by our measure, is the absolute worst artificial fruit flavor available.
But even worse than the taste of this disaster drink was the unrealistic marketing for it. The beautiful swirls of blues, greens and yellows Starbucks shared in its announcement were nowhere to be seen IRL, according to customers.
ok so i got the tie dye frap at starbucks and it's supposed to look like this (left) but i got it like this (right) and it tastes like actual trash lmaoo just don't waste ur money kids pic.twitter.com/TGudam3Rto— ???? ♡ (@imaaaaaagine) July 10, 2019
But before you give baristas a piece of your mind, remember that creating this dumb drink basically sets them up for failure. You know those watercolor paint sets kids use in art class that ultimately become a palette of brown after the first use? Well this is essentially the same thing. We can't tell you what to do, but you did your community a service if you did not order this beverage. Instagram survived.
literally everyone tomorrow: omg can i try the tie dye frappuccino??— cryst ???? (@Witty1ove) July 10, 2019
every starbucks barista: sure! pic.twitter.com/ngE4efvFdY
And let's take a look at those nutrition facts, shall we? The American Heart Association advises women to consume no more than 25g of sugar a day, men no more than 36g and children no more than 25g. Every single size of this drink exceeded that: Tall (39g), Grande (58g) and Venti (75g).
Because the only thing a group of already amped up tweens needs is more sugar. Starbucks, do you hate your employees?
Louis Vuitton parody bag is s---, literally
The wide array of weird kids toys were on full display last holiday season with everything from Doggie Doo (self-described as "The Famous Dog Poop Game") to Cubcoats (which are essentially wearable stuffed animals). However, it took just one toy to scare the crap out of Louis Vuitton.
MGA Entertainment Inc, maker of the infamous L.O.L Surprise! and Bratz dolls, released a new toy in their Poopsie Slime Surprise line of products called Pooey Puitton. Although the toy purse was poop shaped and filled with slime-making materials, it was the name and markings on the bag that upset the luxury designer, who later filed a complaint against the California toy maker.
My daughters latest acquisition The Poopsie “Pooey Puitton” Unicorn Poop.— Sehr Pirzada (@SehrPirzada) December 26, 2018
Louis Vuitton are you ok with this? pic.twitter.com/ganILcZHbe
MGA fired back, according to Reuters, claiming the product was parody protected and that no reasonable consumer would confuse it with the real thing. We wish that was undeniably obvious, but in addition to making the classic Neverfull, Louis Vuitton also suffered through heavy fashion misses like the New Age Traveler Backpack (adorned with all of the spiral telephone cords and tassels you could imagine) and the Raindrop Besace, which is essentially a $1,960 trash bag. Somehow, a poop emoji handbag doesn't seem so unreasonable anymore.
Maybe this really wasn't about customers getting confused. Maybe Louis Vuitton was really just upset that they didn't think of the design first.
The '90s live on
Fashion inspired by the 1990s has been cropping up everywhere lately, and now that fad is extending beyond apparel. Bandai America, the maker of the Tamagotchi toy that first debuted in 1996, announced that the toy is making a comeback. The new Tamagotchi On toy comes with a colored display and was launched at Target, Amazon, GameStop and Urban Outfitters.
The new "Daycare drop-off feature" allows users to "leave their My Tama in good hands while they take some time off (and go to school)," the company said in a statement. This may come as a saving grace, because at least for us, we have fond memories of being stressed trying to care for a digital pet and get an education at the same time. So much responsibility for such young souls.
I've been wondering for so long when they'd release colour Tamagotchi in the west and HERE WE ARE BOIS pic.twitter.com/Tx5WvSWkbO— Cheesu ⚡ (@cheesu_cake) May 7, 2019
But the '90s fun doesn't stop there. Asos on Twitter advertised a product it's selling that looks strikingly similar to the outfit worn by Britney Spears in her "Oops! … I Did it Again" music video. And because nothing gets by the Twitter community, people were quick to notice.
And for consumers who want in on the trend but in a more luxe way, there's an option for that, too. Fendi in its Salleria Roma/Amor collection unveiled several styles from purses with neon touches to tiny shades. But most notably, the fashion house blessed us with the best gift of all: platform sandals decked out in the signature "F" (clearly for "Fashion") pattern.
Neiman Marcus' products go to the dogs
For retailers struggling with their finances, it would make sense for them to make an effort to get their act together, right? But unfortunately for them, this doesn't seem to be the case.
Forever 21 — which filed for bankruptcy in September — made a lot of apparel missteps this year. The fast-fashion retailer has had its fair share of eyebrow-raising collections, everything from Cheetos, to the United States Postal Service, to a collaboration between Honda and 21 Savage. Not to mention its marketing mishap in July when it included Atkins diet bars in some customers' orders.
The trend doesn't stop there. Barneys, which filed for bankruptcy in August, had a surprising assortment of "new releases," including a puka shell necklace. Perfect for anyone looking to transport themselves all the way back to 2003.
So when we saw Neiman Marcus' meager attempts to woo consumers over with its fresh merchandise, we can't say we were surprised when it didn't deliver. CreditRiskMonitor gave the luxury department store a FRISK rating of 1, meaning it has about a 9.99% to 50% chance of filing for bankruptcy within 12 months. Don't worry, though, Neiman's on it. And by on it, we mean it decided selling a $7,100 couch that looks like a giant hot dog would somehow help trim its $4.5 billion debt load.
Neiman Marcus sells a couch that looks like a hot dog for $7,100. What a time to be alive. pic.twitter.com/NZOonDnALK— Timothy Aeppel (@TimAeppel) September 12, 2019
During a time when consumers want fast and free shipping, the $295 charge to have this wiener delivered to you wasn't making matters any better. (WHAT IS GOING ON OVER THERE??)
But wait, this wasn't the only food-related fail up Neiman's sleeve. The department store also sold an eight pound jar of rice for $75. To put that in perspective, you can get a 20-pound bag of rice AND a hot dog from Costco for about $20.
This isn't to say these retailers aren't trying to become financially healthy again. But when there's little room to fail, maybe a piece of furniture inspired by a meat log isn't what you should bet your success on?
Fast-food chains serve up the unconventional
Long gone are the days of fast-food chains simply selling burgers or fries or tacos (or food for that matter). Taco Bell last year rolled out several "Friendsgiving"-inspired sweaters and Hardee's earlier this year unveiled limited-edition ski suits (practical). But even those drops couldn't prepare us for the sheer number of ridiculous things restaurants released recently.
McDonald's (in an overtly obvious move) teamed up with furniture brand La-Z-Boy for a sweepstakes where fans could win a McDelivery Couch, which came complete with built-in McFlurry coolers, phone chargers, light-up cup holders, adjustable seats, La-Z-Boy iClean stain-resistant fabric and a McDelivery with Uber Eats blanket. Because why would someone want to win the $625 million powerball jackpot when this exists? This is what late-night, infomercial couch dreams are made of.
To enter, fans needed to tweet about their favorite McDelivery/Uber Eats item using the hashtag #McDeliverySweepstakes and tag McDonald's until April 8, which was not so coincidentally the date of the NCAA championship game. McDonald's already knew we were going to be glued to the TV for the foreseeable future, so having us order food straight to the couch was pure genius. May the fries be ever in your favor.
But because one is never enough, Dunkin' announced it was re-launching its Saucony sneakers in honor of the Boston Marathon, proving that America still literally runs on Dunkin'. The shoes, which flew off the shelves when they were first released last year, were made available in kids sizes this year, too. Now the whole family can proudly rep their donut-grabbing selves through their footwear. To be clear: No one asked for this.
And to top things off, Burger King rolled out a coffee subscription service where consumers can enjoy a hot cup of coffee every day for just $5 a month. This isn't the first time a fast-food company has dipped its toes into the subscription model though: Arby's released a service called "Arby's of the Month" in which subscribers receive a curated box of products each month.
However, the shade Burger King threw directly at Starbucks is a new one. In the promotion, the company said: "Enjoy BK Cafe for a month for the price of a large cappuccino from Starbucks." Yeah, BK just @'d the green mermaid — yikes. But it appears Burger King came to fight in its recent campaigns. The chain offered its Brazil customers free Whoppers if they virtually set fire to its rival's ads by using Burger King's app.
We applaud their marketing team for the creativity, but we also have to ask: Are you OK? Do you need a hug?