I am a sucker for off-rack clothing stores because I love bargain shopping. I am a fan of T.J. Maxx, Marshalls, Ross, and Nordstrom Rack – although I don’t shop as frequently now that I am self-employed. There were also a few more obscure stores that I frequented many years ago that are all out of business – Dimensions in Fashion, Extreme Value, Value City, etc.
I am forever amazed when I walk into a Burlington Coat Factory. I have purchased items here over the years, but the ugliness factor of their clothing has increased at a greater rate than inflation. And going to one location in particular is as good as Walmart for people-watching – and I am being kind. Nowadays, if I am in the neighborhood, I walk in here for sheer amusement, not expecting to buy anything. Most of the clothes are so hideous that I cannot believe that they were made in the first place, and secondly, that anybody would buy them. I have never seen a single soul parading around in some of the freakish creations they sell on the racks here.
Loehmann’s and Filene’s Basement both folded – although the former now has an online shop. While some of their merchandise was of much higher quality, they were also a dumping ground for some pretty weird stuff. There were times that I found haute couture at both of these now defunct stores – a word that doesn’t exist in the Burlington dictionary. So why did they go under and Burlington is still in business? Well, I believe that Burlington is a depot for ugly clothing, or as Jeff has said, a clothing graveyard. After all of these other stores have tried to sell stuff without success, these items find their way to Burlington. This may be the case for some items, but then again, the degree of hideousness is far greater at Burlington than at any of these other stores.
On occasion, there is a needle in the haystack – or something wearable among the ultra-ugly abominations they call fashion. My favorite tank top of all time was bought at Burlington a decade ago, but the quality of their goods has deteriorated in recent years. In the few minutes I was in the store this week, I saw Calvin Klein, Michael by Michael Kors, and Lucky Brand Jeans among the dreck. Mind you, these were oddballs – perhaps seconds, which supports our theory about Burlington’s merchandise.
Their housewares section is pretty pathetic – nearly every shower curtain on display is out of stock, they have a paltry selection of bath towels that look like cast-offs from other stores, and many of the pots and pans are damaged. I was looking for a bath rug and ended up buying a far nicer one for less money at Ross. The home decor or artwork – forgive the use of that word, is atrocious. But in all fairness, so is the home decor at all the aforementioned stores, as well as at Hobby Lobby, Bed Bath and Beyond, Meijer – and most stores in this category.
One of the things Burlington has in common with Marshalls, TJ Maxx, and Tuesday Morning, is the food selection, which is geared towards gift-giving, for the most part. The prices are grossly inflated, but Burlington takes the cake – or pickle. I spotted large vacuum sealed dill pickles priced originally at $4.99, reduced to $2.98! Are you frigging kidding me – is there a hidden prize inside this disgusting looking pickled cucumber? And maraschino cherries on sale for $1.98 – that is hardly a bargain when you can purchase a similar jar at Aldi for 99 cents or so.
I nearly bought the bizarre candy on sale near the register – sour candy Grillz (appealing to the gangsta crowd?) and Blood Sucker teeth clearly playing off the Twilight craze. Just as I was gazing at these, three generations of shoppers walked in the store. I was briefly distracted by the 60ish-year-old mom who had basketballs on her chest, her totally flat-chested daughter, and the baby. As I said, this place is as good as Walmart for people gawking. Heck, for that alone, my trip to Burlington was worth the 25 minutes I spent there.