Do you guys remember the days before Kam Man, do you remember…dare I say it without crying…Bradlees? Long gone are the days of your mom pulling up her station wagon to the discount mecca that was Bradlees, complete with staff in maroon smocks, an electronics department the size of a shoe box that literally only sold VCR’s, walk men and a few movies such as Milo and Otis, and Police Academy. Hungry? Hit the Bradlee’s snack stand and grab a soft pretzel and wash it down with an icee. Don’t eat too much though, you want to be able to fit into those Lee dungarees your mom bought you while back to school shopping. If you’re truly brave/ghetto, order one of those hotdogs that have been cookin’ on those rolling heaters for a month or two. Now you can only pick those bad boys up at a 7-11…pfffhhhh! If you got bored at Bradlees, and you were a responsible child, chances are your mom would let you leave and go check out the new cassette selection at Strawberries while she finished her shopping. Maybe she would even buy you the Ace of Base cassette. Before I moved from Dorchester to Quincy, my mom used to take my siblings and I to the shopping center in Fields Corner to hit up that Bradlees location. It would later turn into a similar store called “B.D.’s”. I remember the sign looked as if they had taken the letters “B” and “D” from the old Bradlees sign and made a new sign. Maybe that’s why we moved to Quincy, but I can’t be sure.
Another hip spot for middle class moms to take their kids back to school shopping was Caldor in Braintree. I can still recall the longing I felt to ride on the stupid carousel in the entrance to the store, but there just was never enough time in the day. There was stale popcorn to be bought, cheap clothes to be tried on, and icee’s to be slurped. Plus we still needed to hit up Stop and Shop on the way home…what the fuck mom?! This Caldor is now Cardi’s furniture (I think?). Like we need more furniture. Fuck that, we need that carousel back. We need to get those endorphins going by going round and round on a plastic horse for 1 minute with kids we don’t know who might puke on us. I wish life was still that simple. That gum balls and carousels would make people happy, instead of happy hour/hardcore drugs.
It’s bittersweet that these K-Mart-esque stores are closed now. We miss Caldor, Bradlees, Woolworths, and the Harborlight mall. But while it is disheartening that we can no longer peruse the graphic t-shirts section without a care in the world at Bradlees, we can be grateful that we now have a one stop location for Bubble tea, hello kitty merchandise, and illegal/fake coach bags at Kam Man. Carpe diem it the fuck up, and go ghetto shopping this weekend. Do it in honor of soft pretzels, sodium, and maroon smocks.
Happy Friday!I love you all.