With "the worst economic crisis since the Great Depression" becoming the second most commonly heard phrase of 2009 (the first being a collective "whaaa?" by viewers of ABC's "LOST"), it's a common sight to watch stores all around the country close up their doors and shutter their windows, just after offering weak liquidation sales to the public that decided they didn't care to shop there. Examples include Circuit City, Linens & Things, and Whitehall Jewelers. Additionally, many stores have closed several of their outlets or made economic cutbacks in preparation for the downturn.
With all of these closings, it boggles the mind to see what stores are still open and, seemingly, thriving. We'll take a look at three store chains and an entire niche industry that we cannot believe are still able to make money in this recession.
#4. Ross: Dress for Less
Recession or no recession, Ross clothing stores should have folded a long time ago. Have you been in one of these places? It looks like a sixteen year old's bedroom. Apparently having decided that keeping clothes on orderly racks was outdated, the Ross model calls for clothing to be carelessly strewn about the floor, with very little rhyme or reason to the categorization.
Perhaps to make up for the unstructured disaster zone that is the clothing section, Ross offers several aisles completely dedicated to whatever random shit they could find and put a price tag on. Need a DVD of The Beast of Yucca Flats? They've probably got it. How about an ornamental Buddha? Sure. Super Mario coloring book? Wooden Horse Keychain? Half a box of Kleenex? There's no limit to the yard sale that is Ross. Maybe this randomness explains Ross's ability to stay afloat. It's the "I'll trade it for what's behind Door Number 2" effect. People just like the idea of a store that is basically an enormous grab bag of junk.
#3. Bed, Bath, and Beyond
Speaking of enormous grab bags of junk. Bed, Bath, and Beyond is a particularly puzzling case, seeing as how they are Linens & Things in all but title. They sell the exact same merchandise for the exact same prices, stock their shelves with the same curious mixture of "As Seen on TV" crap, and are equally abhorrent to anyone born with a penis. There is literally not a single difference, other than the fact that Christopher Walken never sold remote controls out of the back of Linens & Things. You can hold a Bed, Bath, and Beyond in your hand and turn it back and forth, and it will literally become a Linens & Things, and then turn back, just like that holographic belt buckle I had in the third grade.
Now you may be thinking to yourself, "Yeah, didn't Kmart go out of business like ten years ago?" No, they indeed did not. What you may be remembering is their file for bankruptcy, but in America, bankruptcy doesn't necessarily mean you're going out of business. It could just mean a fresh start, minus the hassle of paying all those creditors. Though Kmart has been around longer than either, it's hard to imagine how they are staying afloat in the age of Wal-Mart and Target. Wal-Mart has sewn up most of the market, and Target is just Wal-Mart, except for people who wear shoes.
Where does this leave K-Mart? Who is still shopping there? The only thing that comes to mind is that K-Mart is for people who don't feel like getting all dressed up for Wal-Mart. That. . .that's almost too fanciful to believe.
#1. Adult Video Stores
You see, there's this thing. It's called the Internet. Though it provides news, Facebook, humor, and a place for your bad writing, it's primary purpose is porn. This was actually established by the FFOTWWW (Founding Fathers of the World Wide Web). So why are people still going out to adult video stores to rent movies they could watch for free on their computer? Is it the comfort aspect? Are people that dedicated to watching DVDs on their big, flat screen TVs that they'll risk the utter embarrassment that comes with bringing Virtuous Vixens 6 up to the register? Will a disguise even suffice?
Even more confounding are the independent video stores that rent regular movies, augmented by a "back room" where the porn is kept. At least at a dedicated porn store, you have the comfort of being surrounded by fellow perverts. At a 2-in-1 type of place, you have to actually segregate yourself from the rest of society to get to the video you want.
And, of course, you then have to pick up at least two regular movies that you have no intention of watching just to make it look like everything's just as normal as can be. "So you've got Forrest Gump, Baby Geniuses, and Supersize Knockers VII, will that be all?" This, when the Internet is so full of porn that even the most innocent of Google image searches will bring up something anatomically improbable. In fact, the more innocent the search, the more depraved the porn. Just try "wet muffin"!.