Most Irrationally Annoying Shop of 2008 Award

Another year, another bizzarely boring and silly retail idea: glassybaby. While Christmas shopping and running errands at Bellevue Square, I spotted the following store. (Keep in mind that this is during the INSANELY busy season, on a particularly insanely packed evening. And yes, that is one lone customer you see. I actually peeked in a few more times over the course of the evening and saw no one at all.)

When one of these shops turned up in U-Village months before, I was perplexed and then quickly irritated. I like retail real estate to be filled with cute and /or useful shops that contain a variety of delightful goods, not sparse minimalist spaces displaying a single product that is… a little glass candle jar. Not even the friggin’ candles to put in the jar, mind you: just the jar itself. AND OH MY GOD THEY ARE FORTY DOLLARS APIECE THAT IS BALLS.

WTF? Number one: How the hell is such a store still in business? Number two: Who the hell buys these? They’re not even that attractive, in my opinion. And the e-store opens with a page of… different exciting shades of WHITE. Now THAT’S putting your best face forward! Number three: Why do you maintain a storefront that’s even less busy than an Apple Store, when your product is all about how nicely the simple, minimalistic design fits into a (presumably decorated) home? Why not show the mighty votive jar in its natural habitat, instead of the retail equivalent of a lab cage? Number four: Is that REALLY the best name you could come up with? I mean, the lame-ass candle shop Illuminations at least has a cool name. Maybe all the good domains were already registered? (And maybe the artist/owner is independently wealthy?)

Seriously. It turns out that every single thing about this store irritates me to an irrational degree. I normally support small local businesses of any sort on principle, but I’m secretly (or not so secretly anymore) kind of hoping this one goes out of business soon, to make room for places I might ever enjoy shopping or even browsing at. And I know that’s and bitchy and unnecessary and selfish and just plain weird, and that some must find these little jars charming and special and local and durable and bright and all other sorts of adjectives you can read about on their about page. Turns out, in this case, I don’t give a damn. To each their own, I suppose.

More power to ’em, though — perhaps this is a case study which means that one day, when I finally open a ridiculously narrowly catered and necessarily expensive skincare shop/studio, I’ll be able to break even and maybe even turn a profit. Or at least puzzle all the other disgruntled shopping gurus as I manage to stay in business for at least a calendar year with my oddly decorated, overpriced, and ill-trafficked joint. Here’s hoping!


  1. But these things were on Oprah’s list of “Favorite Things.” So it really doesn’t matter what they do with the store, or if they even HAVE a store. Bojillions of woman around the country are buying these things.

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