Thursday, July 6, 2017

Adventures in Monroeville

Last year Half Price Books threw a massive clearance sale at the Monroeville Convention Center, with millions of books all $2 or less. This year it’s happening again… and I confused the date and drove all the way out there for no reason. But since a pretty decent mall is in the area I decided to make a day of it and had a fun time anyway.

We are currently living in a time known as the retail apocalypse, an era where brick and mortar stores are closing down as online shopping reigns supreme. And nowhere is this more evident than the dark and quiet halls of America’s shopping malls. All over the world, malls are closing down left and right, but the Monroeville Mall made famous in George Romero’s Dawn of the Dead is surviving another kind of apocalypse.

One of the ways many stores have survived the retail apocalypse is by adapting to current consumer trends, even if it means shedding their original image. For GameStop, that means selling collectibles and blind bags. For Hot Topic, that means more anime shirts and less hardcore band shirts. Most malls are lucky enough to be kept alive by a GameStop and an American Eagle (two brands that have actually opened more stores than they’ve closed in recent years) but the Monroeville Mall actually holds my attention with half a dozen stores to satisfy my geeky hunger for pop culture goodies.

Inside the mall, you’ll find the aforementioned GameStop and Hot Topic as well as Spencer's Gifts (gone the way of Hot Topic with more superhero mugs than novelty sex toys), an arcade with zombie themed laser tag, and a movie theater where we saw the Digimon Adventure tri. dub one night only event. There is also a buy/sell/trade store called Cash-In Culture, where you can fill the retrogaming hole in your life that Gamestop can't.

After leaving the mall I went out to the Barnes & Noble, Half Price Books, and other stores in the area. Even though I was almost a month early for the big Half Price Books event, I still managed to pick up a bunch of cool stuff. Check that haul out below!

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