"People were telling us that the stores were too dark, gothic and intimidating to the average customer," said Hot Topic’s Chief Financial Officer James McGinty in a press conference, as quoted in this CNN article.
McGinty’s announcement marks a noteworthy attempt to soften the black-clouded blow of the “I like cheese”/”I hear voices”/”People like you are the reason people like me are on medication”-tee-shirted masses of Good Charlotte-listening, Napoleon Dynamite-laughing, vacant-staring-from-too-much-video-gaming clientele.
Generalizing aside: after enduring three years of declining sales (post the store’s '90s success), Hot Topic wants to go softer. Seriously. McGinty says HT is responding to changing customer interest, that the style of the store’s regulars is changing, and scaring away seemingly normal people isn’t making money anymore.
Now that’s business sense.
Forget a long-vested commitment to prickly exteriors. Forget ANGRY BOIZ finding love when accidentally touching hands with HOTT REBEL GURLZ while perusing a rack of parachute pants. Forget said ANGRY BOIZ defining said HOTT REBEL GURLZ by the size of their plastic-y messenger bag purses. Forget piercings paid for by allowances. Hell, forget everything the red-bleeding logo letters stand for.
Sure, paint over the black walls, brighten the color scheme, and re-organize the merchandise displays. I’m guessing HT could be (er..?) more marketable then. But in essence, McGinty & co. are making a tragic error: providing an easy platform for complaints from their exclusive market of dissatisfied ANGRY KIDZ. Great. Another thing for said ANGRY BOIZ and HOTT REBEL GURLZ to want to eat my puppy over, besides inner-conflicts over suburbia, growing up, and the boy/girlfriend they met while perusing the parachute pants rack that never understood their conflict over... suburbia and growing up. Mmmm. Things will be nice.
As long as a change is in order though (something that would be worth looking into), Mister McGinty is eliminating Hot Topic’s uninviting smell (a rank balance of incense, cheap fabric, and ass). That ought to round up some customers faster than you can say "Jesus Christ, Marilyn Manson kills puppies! OH MY GOD! I heard he eats puppies! Live! Who the FUCK kills puppies? I know you think it's an urban legend, but he even looks like a fucking puppy killer!"
Alright, so -- air fresheners, McGinty, please?
On that note, ANGRY BOIZ: maybe it isn’t your imposing parachute pants that pushed that aforementioned rack-perusing (HOTT REBEL GURL) honey away. This is the anthem. Throw all your hands up. Seriously. I’ll rub some Teen Spirit under your arms so fast you won’t smell the hygiene hitting you.