Shoes: Betseyville, Macy's
Bag: Betsey Johnson, Macy's
Earmuffs, Betsey Johnson, Macy's
Once upon a time, the Echelon Mall was the place to be. It was the mall of my childhood, the place where I'd pick out my "prize" after every dentist's visit, embark on first day of school shoe shopping sprees, and gorge on My Favorite Muffins (I still miss you, pineapple cheese). Its premier department store was Strawbridge & Clothier, which seemed like a more glamorous yet humbler Macy's. Then, when I was in my twenties, Strawbridge went out of business, and the Voorhees store morphed into a Macy's. Not long after that, some of the other stores started closing, and the Echelon Mall turned into the Voorhees Town Center, encompassing a new crop of nearby condos and restaurants. These days, even Macy's is splitting the scene, leaving only Boscov's, an Auntie Anne-less (not to mention My Favorite Muffin-less) food court, and a smattering of doctors' and realtors' offices. Yes, you read that right. This mall no longer has an Express or a Hallmark, but if you're looking for a two-story colonial, then you've hit pay dirt.
So, I had to get to Macy's before it locked up for good. On one hand, I was nostalgic and wanted to see what it looked like. On the other, I was an accessory-a-holic intrigued to gawk at the weird stuff on offer.
Oddly, the most noteworthy items were the mannequins. Naked and in various stages of dismemberment, they stood sentinel in what was once the children's department. It was like the "Westworld" prop closet, and I couldn't help but snap a few pictures.
And good thing, too. Tammy (the Torso, a.k.a. my mannequin) was over the moon to see her brothers and sisters. Even if Kim Cattrall had gone suspiciously AWOL. (Although I did hear that Andrew McCarthy was caught smuggling out a life-size Santa.)
That macabre merriment out of the way, I was free to feast on the spoils. Such as they were. The Macy's overlords had clearly ferried in lots of old stock from some secret warehouse, and it looked as out of place and embarrassed as a new, slightly awkward zoo creature. For one thing, the entrance of the juniors section was glutted with Lady Gaga/Elton John paraphernalia from some long-ago, unsuccessful merch mashup. You'd think such a duo would inspire a colorful array of products, but, alas, every top, scarf, bag, and water bottle was black and white with a sad dab of lilac. The other big come-on was an influx of Betsey Johnson Trolls accessories, which had been created to coincide with the movie of the same name. Now, I have to pause a beat to explain just how off-put I was by the cinematic reincarnation of my favorite bridge-dwelling buddies. The trolls of yesteryear were awesome . . . because they were ugly. Don't get me wrong. They were most definitely the cute kind of ugly, all endearing scrunched-up faces and unruly hair (as evidenced by the notebooks and attic escapee below).
But that was part of their charm, whether they cavorted in wizard or princess costumes or just bare-assed in mall kiosks across this great nation. That said, I gave the svelte, smooth-faced, sleek-haired newcomers the stink eye (no disrespect to Justin Timberlake or Anna Kendrick). Not only was I not going to see the movie, I was most certainly not going to support these new-fangled upstarts by buying wearables emblazoned with their likeness. Of course, that was before I received a darling pair of hot pink Betsey Johnson Trolls earmuffs for my birthday. "Alright, no big deal," I thought, parading around with them in 50-degree weather, "they're just earmuffs; no one can tell that they're from the Trolls line." But then I went ahead and ordered a trolls-printed tee shirt from Macy's, rationalizing that it was okay because I just liked the colors, and also because it was only $3.00. So, when I was met with a mountain of pink, turquoise, and black earmuffs in the outerwear department of Macy's that day, I was terribly tempted by the turquoise (which should surprise no one, as this blog is filled with accounts of me declaring my hatred for things only to fall headlong in love with them). I marched up to the makeshift counter with my 80% off find only to be told that that register was for real fur purchases only. Well, excuse me for preferring unnaturally colored and sensibly priced synthetics to costly animal pelts. I stalked off to another counter, where the sales clerk smirked as she attacked the label of my fuzzy new friend with an angry black marker, lest I try to reclaim my $6.40 at some still-solvent Macy's. Indeed, the once-obsequious staff had turned kind of surly (not that I blame them, what with getting the boot -- and I don't mean Manolos).
I (ahem) trolled the rest of the Betsey Johnson trinkets in search of more souvenirs but didn't have the heart to get another necklace or purse charm. You know how sometimes you buy stuff that you don't really want? Just because it's cheap and it's there? Like, if you had a bag of Oreos and you ate the whole thing even if you didn't like Oreos very much? Wait, what am I saying? Everyone loves Oreos! Let's go with Triscuits instead. Because that's how I felt about shopping that day. Content with my parting gift of electric blue fluff and in no mood to force down whole-wheat crackers. So I left that old mausoleum/museum in search of a store that would endure forever.
In other words, I went on Amazon.