Friday, August 22, 2014

Don't go to K-Mart until yours has its going-out-of-business sale, which we all know is going to happen

The expedition to K-Mart, I blame on the cherished memory of the time I hauled my mother to K-Mart, in hope that they were so disorganized as to still have two-year-old Liv stock, and discovered the body horror of the Novi Stars.
Top: Barbie got a deal on a used PT Cruiser convertible.
Bottom: Babs drives a Chinese-made Chery.
Although K-Mart looks like a 1980s Target (i.e., before Target was fabulous) as recalled through a veil of nightmare, K-Mart is no longer a discount store. Prices suggested shameless gouging of any shoppers too poor and stressed to take the bus another thirty blocks to a Walmart.

The visit did, however, give the opportunity for a one-to-one comparison between the Barbie car (~$22) and the Just Kidz car ($10). Especially striking is how Imitation Babs' vehicle provides seating for only 1-1/2 people.

Should Imitation Babs look faintly familiar. . . yes, she bears a remarkable resemblance to the Girl Friend Trendy Doll Set at TRU Express. In fact, her friends appear to be the same three-pack in different clothes.

We are the Latter Day Saints version of Swap Mart Beauties,
modestly dressed and ready for a life of productive contributions to our community.

Just Kidz appears to be K-Mart's "exclusive" line, though it's pretty clear the factory in China is churning out the same products for other retailers. Once upon a time, there was apparently a silver Mustang, so odds are that'll show up in Park 'n' Swap packaging any day now.

Since I know Moxie Girlz only as the line with pets that literally shit rainbows, I was surprised to see the girlz also practice archery.

I am too pink and purple to be an implied Duck Dynasty tie-in, right?
Of course, no junket to admire obsolete stock is complete without answering the question "What's Yasmin been up to?"

Yasmin is the next Lady Gaga.
Yasmin turns out to be an aspiring songwriter. I definitely see her as going into pop, if not hip-hop. Yasmin would never move to Nashville to write delicate country songs that go nowhere on the charts because all country radio plays these days is songs about trucks and beer.

Cloe, meanwhile, turns out to be working on developing the next casual-gaming craze like Draw Something or Candy Crush.

Cloe is a geek! Cloe is a girl permitted to do something other than music or fashion!
Cloe also demonstrates K-Mart's theory of discounting. Note the original price: $20.45. Note the discount price: $20.00. Yes, that is a whopping 2.2% discount!

Being on the clearance shelf meant Cloe was marked down an additional 20%, which would make her $16. A quick check of eBay and Amazon determined that this puts her at the high end of consensus pricing for that doll.

Nonetheless, confronted with actual geek girl, I circled the aisles and dithered for a bit. I finally reached the conclusion that if I'd turned down the $10 Strut It! Meygan at Big Lots three times (or is it four now?) when I can re-body her for $1 (largely on grounds that Bratz are all over Goodwill), I did not need to blow $16 on Cloe but was mostly suffering from an urge to have something to debox and photograph and croon over.

It therefore seemed obvious to go to Bookman's (which no longer has action figures -- how can this universe exist?) and thence to the Fry's Marketplace on the west side of town, which has very large owls.

This Fry's has a big toy section and understands the concept of "clearance," so Ghoulia Yelps and Cleo de Nile as Lab Partners were on sale for $14.40. Upon consideration, I decided my urge to debox did not stretch that far, also that I don't really need a third Cleo. (And eBay has already had the "look, I got inventory at clearance!" sales listing surge, so prices and sell-through are way down.) But at least it was more fun to consider at that price.

After an agonizing wait for the 19th Avenue Connector, I ended up sitting with a man who was taking his bird for a ride and having a nice talk with the bird, also named Cleo. Since that bus stops right by my usual Target, I decided to go see if it was similarly understocked to the one at Arcadia Crossing.

Short answer: yes. The toy section is larger, but there are lots of gaps. Life in the Dream House is gone without ever having been discounted. Management was holding a pep rally with seasonal hires over what amazing things they were going to do to clean up toys. Woodzeez have single-figure packs with a few accessories for just under $6: I considered one with pots and a pie, than decided my urge to deboxery didn't stretch even that far.

Meanwhile, Ever After High is capitalizing on its "storybook" theme by doing its own version of the 3-Ring Binder Dollhouse that's all over Pinterest. Apparently this has been out since spring and I somehow didn't notice it? Or my Target didn't stock it?

With enclosed storage for the doll in the book spine!

This, however, I'm pretty sure hasn't actually happened yet. It is apparently a sort of Monster High Dream House.

I have to wonder about both Mattel and Target,
that there's no more productive use for shelf space.

Otherwise, Target ran mostly to Inner Monster and Freaky Fusion, plus the basic dolls who appear to be moonlighting as waitresses. There was no bird on the train home.


  1. My Kmart's bit the dust a long time ago. Their overblown prices were quite the death of them here.

  2. This is a late comment, but I was reading through your last month of posts and wanted to chime in anyways. We have just two Kmarts in the metro Atlanta area that I'm aware of, and neither is close to where I live. I make a point to pop in and see what they have whenever I happen to be near one. Your comment about their price gouging is spot on. I will say that one of the two locations has been known to run some decent mark downs, but they're far too random for me to make regular trips.

    1. It's never too late to commiserate about the horrors of K-Mart.

      The two I can get to (which may be all we have around Phoenix) are each about an hour one-way on the bus because they're way out to heck and gone.

      Someday when I'm really bored and can't live without trying the donut place in South Phoenix, I shall venture to the second K-Mart to see if it's any better because I don't learn from my own mistakes.