Crazy for Close-Out Sales

I don't mean to alarm you but that top is only $7.99
I went to a going-out-of-business sale yesterday. Hoo, boy, I am definitely not woman enough to handle this.

It was crazy! Dillard’s in the Creepy Empty Mall in Lexington is closing, bringing the number of stores in that mall to a whopping 1. Wait, let me double check that count . . . yeah, it’s 1. This is one of those malls that every city seems to have. Opened in the early days of the enclosed, under-roof shopping era,  a developer took some plaza stores and built a mall behind, leaving some front-access stores there, but keeping some inside the mall. I’m sure in its day it was a huge success, with people flagrantly leaving their umbrellas at home and not wearing coats and shopping anyway. But by the turn of this century, it was struggling to compete with that guy on EBay who is selling the crap in his girlfriend’s basement.

I was desperate enough last Christmas to go there, thinking there might be some stores that were different, where I could find something outside the real mall. It was deathly silent, no Musack, no soccer mom chit-chat, no teenagers blabbing on their cell phones. As I walked through the concourse, past cages covering empty Hallmark, Spencer and Fashion Bug store doorways, I could only hear the squeaking of my own tennis shoes and the hockering of one old-guy mall walker (or maybe he was a homeless vagrant). I felt like I was in Langoliers and had to resist the urge to scream “Tooooooommeeeeeeeey! Craig TOOOOOOMEEEEEEEY!”

But even then, Dillard’s stood on one end, anchoring like a rock and drawing in the few customers it could muster. And now it’s closing, leaving the Creepy Empty Mall even creepier and emptier. 

Yesterday, when I went to drop off my son at the nearby CiCi’s Pizza, where he was meeting track team friends after their meet, I saw some cars parked strangely close to the Dillard’s entrance, so I dropped in. 

“Everything 75% Off Original Price” the signs said. They had roped off most of the store and huddled together what they were selling off into one area. It was a sea of bad colors, outdated fabrics and styles from the mid-‘80s.  You really had to work for that 75% off, and you know, I’m just not into that kind of effort. I did spend some time digging through one pile and managed to find a Jones of New York white blouse for a few dollars, regularly priced at $69. And a festive, Christmasy red shimmering top for another couple of dollars, regularly priced at $98. I’m not into designer clothes, so I didn’t recognize the name, but the tag was pure fanciness, so I’m pretty sure it was a good deal. I looked like one of the home entertaining hostesses in a December issue of Bon Appetitwhen I put it on. So I obviously had to buy it.

But otherwise, that place was a mess. People were rudely grabbing things and being otherwise greedy and stingy. I’m not cut out to compete with other women in a shopping setting. I wasn’t raised that way and I never had an interest in training for serious, competitive shopping.

And truth be told, the bounty wasn’t worth it. With the exception of a couple of necklaces and the two tops I bought, I don’t think there was $50 worth of stuff in there. I know for a fact that Dillard’s store didn’t have this junk on its racks at the time of the closing. They obviously brought in stuff that wouldn’t sell from all over the globe. In fact, I think I saw one of my sweaters that I donated to the Salvation Army last year. I wouldn’t be surprised if Goodwill stores throughout Kentucky are suspiciously missing lots of inventory.

Being the lightweight shopper that I am, that may be the last time I make a non-food purchase all this month. And it will most definitely be the last time I’m in the Creepy Empty Mall. At least until they fill it with a couple more stores and get a Starbucks in there.