NYC Enforces Ban on Stores Air Conditioning Sidewalks; We Explore Other Retail "Crimes"

The city has served nine stores $200 fines for air-conditioning sidewalks with doors wide-open, the New York Times City Room Blog reports. In 2008, the city banned the practice of luring customers in by cooling them down on the grounds that it's a gross waste of energy. And maybe that's so, but sometimes a little cool air coming out of a store when our face feels like it's a sweat fountain is -- uh -- not the worst thing in the world? Inspired by the $200 AC fines, here are the top five retail other trends we wish would cool off:

1. Bedbugs First, an army of tiny maroon creatures infested Hollister; days later, Abercrombie, but the mere thought of a retail infestation puts a damper on shopping. How do we know we're safe? It's bad enough to think that someone who opted not to shower on a hot day may have tried on that linen shirt before you, but at least stale sweat can't suck your blood -- elgh. (But: We hear the heat can kill bedbugs!)

2.Overbearing Employees "Are you sure you don't want me to start you a fitting room? Are you sure you're sure?" "Of course those [two sizes too big, hideous color, MC Hammer-style] pants look great on you. Seriously, your butt looks awesome, and I know you'll meet your future husband if you just go out and rock em'!" "Do you want to try this shirt? It's 50% off. Or these shoes? They're buy-two-get-one-free. Or this scrunchy? It's a bonus item for listening to me tell you about all the things you'll never want, ever."

3. Escalators that Make No Sense I have a theory that many furniture store designers also moonlight as department store designers. Go up one escalator, realize that what you want is actually on the previous floor, and it's highly possible you will be lost for an hour looking for the down escalator. In the meantime, you will walk past every item that you don't want, and when you finally locate the floor you're looking for, you'll be accosted by #2s trying to sell you more nonsense than you could ever fit in your closet, even if you're lucky enough to have a walk-in.

4. Perfume Tunnels This one's a classic. In any movie that portrays a bewildered shopper, the poor person inevitably passing through the cosmetics department is swarmed by perfume-sprayers with French accents dousing them with disgustingly floral and nauseatingly fruity eau de blahblah. Note: When you mix several colors, it usually comes out nasty brown; when you mix lots of perfume, you smell like you-know-what.

5. American Apparel In case you haven't noticed, American Apparel is proliferating like a colony of rabbits. You can't stop on a street corner without finding yourself face-to-face with a chick spread-eagle in some rancid combination of lamé spandex and Day Glo-hued lace. It's the best place to pick up a pair of leggings or an elastic headband, but do we really need one on every block with soft porn billboards everywhere? Enough.

Did we forget anything? Vent in the comments.

[LM]


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