Sunday, November 23, 2014

Last of the Blue Light Specials

When the official list of Kmart and Sears closures was released in October, I'm sure I checked it and no Arizona stores were included. Indeed, I went and found it again. Here it is. We go straight from AL-Huntsville to CA-Diamond Bar, with no AZ-Phoenix in between.

And yet, Baseline Road on Sunday afternoon was lined with these, at neat five-foot intervals, accompanied by a sign spinner next to the bus stop.

Watch therefore, for ye know neither the day nor the hour when the Mart of K goeth belly-up.

It says must act now, so I think there's very little choice but to go see! I've never been to a K-Mart going-out-of-business sale, and surely in the early 21st century, that's practically a bucket list item. See Paris. Eat at Morton's. Watch a K-Mart be dismantled.

First, though, a quick tour of what else was involved in the afternoon. To nobody's surprise at all, I'd gone in the morning on a long walk to the 99 Cents Only for groceries with a stop at its nearby CVS to see if there were more Sparkle Girlz fakies like I saw on Saturday. Short answer: no. Got marvelous groceries -- Jamaican empanadas! cream puffs! -- then missed the return bus and walked home, so having done a three-mile round trip, of course, it seemed logical to go on an even longer trek to south Phoenix in search of more CVS outlets and more dollar stores.

The CVS at Central and Southern had no Sparkle Girlz fakies but had extended its Nicole coverage to include the articulated quinceañera line.

Hola bonita.
The stock included the incredibly fabulous darker-skinned gal with platinum blonde hair.

Mi amiga se ve como Anne Hathaway, pero mi heroína es Paulina Rubio.
Quince Nicole is $5 cheaper at CVS than at TRU, being just $19.99 instead of $24.99. I'm still not past my reluctance about her face-up, but the pricing's getting better in relation to what she offers.

There was also the mysterious off-brand 99 Cent Store just above Baseline, which was mostly a make-up and party supply store where very little was priced at 99 cents. I bought mini hair clips.

Everything is cuter when it's tiny.
Krys, who was handy and has a lot of hair, demonstrates use of the mini-hair-clip. It works.

Wow. I can finally get some of this hair off my face.
I took moody photos of an 8-Seventh Avenue bus waiting at the Ed Pastor Transit Center.

Soy un autobús de mal humor.
I went to the Dollar Tree gigantesco in the plaza next to the K-Mart. One of the things I've been trying to find again at DT is the minis. This one finally had some, but close examination may reveal something odd about them.

Hint: the oddity is not my hair color.
Yes, she has an ambiguously brown head on an unambiguously pale body. This was the deal with all of the minis. That does not work for me as a look.

Meanwhile, the Dollar Tree Beauties have turned into mermaids. Let us pause for a moment to contemplate the meeting at the factory in China that led to that decision.

Mr. Li, we have run out of doll legs! What are we to do?
I also contemplated the shrine to the Virgin of Guadalupe at the corner of Central and Roeser.

Working on the iconography of who'd be emerging from under the Virgin's skirt...
not sure I want to keep working on this problem.
But now that you're champing at the bit for when I'll ever get to Kmart -- and I'm obligingly skipping an unexciting-though-large 99 Cents Only and a dull Family Dollar (which is having a half-off-toys sale on Thanksgiving Day, should anybody be feeling a need for Lovely Patsy leopard-outfit packs) -- it's time.

A Kmart generates the most excitement it has seen in years.
The place was mildly busy -- say, roughly comparable with Target on a slow afternoon. Toys were 30% off, which, at Kmart pricing... doesn't get most items down to Target or Walmart levels quite yet. Needless to say, things weren't flying off the shelves. The store had apparently been restocking down to the last minute before the ax fell, as it had Barbies with the new face, while all the clearance items were gone.

For a moment, I considered nabbing the last three-pack of identical deep-brown Swap Mart Beauties, but having the non-articulated underclass consist entirely of dolls of color is not really where I want to go with this, and I never like face-ups on the white versions.

However, I wanted a memento of the demise of the Kmart/Sears retail empire -- which I think is going to collapse after a disastrous holiday season. Maybe the plan to re-lease the space will work out wonderfully, scattering Whole Foods and Dick's Sporting Goods across working-class suburbs (though the defunct Kmart around Dreamy Draw took almost five years to fill with @Home), but the actual stores are probably at their last gasp.

Krys wonders what on earth is THAT?
It is the $1 baggie doll, now 76 cents with tax. Kmart had restocked, so there was now also a streaky redhead like Meygan, a pink-haired gal, and a faux Draculaura. The latter was cute and looked rather Asian, but I'm not going down the path of accumulating fake Draculauras. There are too many of them, and many that I don't like.

In any case, commemorating Kmart, home of the Blue Light Special, obviously called for getting the blue one.
"Rock" is a word little girls like, right?
The other merit of choosing the blue one is that it makes no sense that there even is a blue one: all the others have normal human skin tones.

Nothing online explains what a Maria Rock - Rock Doll is, whether these ever had characters or a back story. Agglo, the maker, apparently specializes in private-label toys for discount and dollar stores, so they may be behind an awful lot of Swap Mart Beauties, including the ones branded as Just Kidz. Or not. I suspect there's an entire district of Shantou devoted to making Barbie-ish knock-offs... and just for giggles, I looked up Shantou after typing that, and toys are indeed the city's major export.

Debagging proves traumatic. 

Like Cinderella, I have lost... my entire leg? Eep.
Getting the leg back on makes a squished bit, and I'm nervous about trying too many things to unsquish it. This gal is very thin plastic and very hollow.

As a result of my leg operation, I appear to have cellulite, just like a real woman.
Take that, Barbie!
She has molded panties and a molded bra.

Fortunately, Hanes makes undies that match my skin. Aren't panty lines the worst?

Since I was pretty sure this is different from Dolores the Dollar Store Beauty, I pulled out the latter for comparisons. She is no forwarder on her re-rooting. If I neglect it much longer, I may start over with something other than yarn.

We have dramatically different body types!
Dolores is shorter, with a narrower (twist-and-turn) waist and broader shoulders. Dolores also has a larger thigh gap. The blue gal has longer arms, too.

Put yo' hands up!
Dolores has much healthier calf muscles, but less arch to her feet.

We're not even going to think about how this pose was achieved.
However, Dolores can wear the blue gal's shoes. I don't know what I did with Dolores' shoes, so a trade wasn't possible.

There's no place like home... there's no place like...
The gals have different hand molds: Dolores lacks fingernails.

Only one of us gets manicures.
Blue gal's rooting is more dense than I expected. While her hair isn't especially well-styled, it mostly doesn't fall out when brushed.

Rerooting me would be a much larger project.
She has a pretty face. A bit stoned, perhaps, but not as truculent as the Moxie Girlz. I have no My Scene Barbies for direct comparison (they don't show up at thrift around here), but this could be an actual My Scene head mold with a more Monster High-ish face-up.

The sunset goes with my color scheme.
I found a store-bought dress for her in the stash and brought out some other gals for face comparisons.

Go west... life is peaceful there... Go west... in the open air.
While I'd expected status as a possible Monster High fakie would give our blue gal the strongest resemblance to Pippa or Hattie, she really has more in common with Julianne, the Barbie fakie. So that's another reason to lean toward believing the Maria Rock - Rock Doll line started as a My Scene knock-off and mutated.

Mini-Kyla is not sure what to make of the whole thing but thinks she will name her blue compatriot Kistiñe. This makes her Basque, which is perfectly logical.

My big sister is a bit spacey, but I love her.


  1. Replies
    1. Aw, thanks! I do my utmost. Kistiñe also thanks you!

  2. I love reading about these little jaunts of yours! Interesting news about K-Mart. I see that my closest K-Mart store (and possibly one of only two left in GA) is on the revised list of closings. I may venture out there this weekend. Their prices are normally too high for me to expect major mark downs just yet.

    1. Thanks! Good luck with your K-Mart. I'm thinking I might go back at the 70%-off level.

  3. Another interesting outing! Poor Kmart. If they had reasonable prices they might still be in business. I wont even blame it on Walmart pushing them out. Kmart prices were 20% more than Target. That's ridiculous.

    1. Thanks! Kmart is the distilled retail essence of disappointment.