(crossposted on Motherboard)
The Internet is nothing if not a powerful enabler of the very best and the very worst in ourselves. Its anonymity allows trolls that would otherwise be spending their time under bridges to spew hateful garbage in Tommy-Gun patterns without fear of reprisal, while its versatility fosters vibrant, passionate communities capable of changing laws and toppling dictators.
This post is about none of that, however, because for most people, the Internet is usually nothing more than biggest, weirdest, niche-iest mall of all time.
For example, while stumbling through StumbleUpon yesterday, I came across a page forTrunk Club® Men’s Outfitters. Initially hoping it had something to with either elephants or vintage bathing suits, I was almost equally amazed to discover it was actually a start-up devoted to helping men “who want to look great without having to go shopping in stores or online.” Wait a second, I thought. I want to look great without having to go shopping in stores or online!
So naturally I signed up for an account, at which point I was asked to enter my physical measurements (though not all of them, ladies!) and various personal style choices, such as how I dress at the office — “Business Dressy (Ad Agency, Law Firm)” vs. “Casual (Silicon Valley Start-Up)” — and how I roll on the weekends — “Classy (Country Club)” vs. “Relaxed (Bumming Around).”
Annoyingly, though perhaps predictably, after about five minutes of filling out style-preference questions related to the potential contents of my first trunk, I still hadn’t come across a single reference to what the hell this might all be costing me. Then I got to the final page, where I was told that, “Now that we know what you want, save your shipping address and credit card below to expedite your order. We won’t ship anything or bill anything without being in touch first!”
Thanks to computers, you no longer have to dress yourself!
Umm, yeah, No thanks. I prefer to see the price tag on my Tommy Bahamas before leaving Kohl’s in disgust. Apparently, elite Yelp user Johnny T. can relate:
Maybe this is customary. Maybe this is what shopping is all about. Thing is, when your target audience is made up of guys who don’t tend to shop all that often or consistently, take some time to warn a fellow. When I saw the bill for my 5 items, I might have blacked out a bit. Don’t get me wrong: everything looked ridiculously awesome, was made of fantastic quality and bore designer names I’d never heard of, but my wallet took me outside and slapped me around a bit.
So maybe Trunk Club wasn’t for me. (I’m more of a valise guy anyway, to be honest.) But what about my wife? Where can a bag-lady-at-heart like her go to rep all the hottest styles without filling our non-existent closet space (and, ideally, without emptying our very-much-existent-but-not-exactly-sumo-sized bank accounts). Well, apparently, there’s an app for that, too. Enter Bag Borrow or Steal — the catchily titled online retailer that lets ladies and Lucky Cheng’s employees alike Netflixorcise their fashion demons with weekly, monthly, or seasonal rentals of designer handbags, jewelry, and any number of accessories that only the truly terminal should have to live without.
While something like a Hermes-brand Porosus Crocodile Birkin 30 Satchel Handbag (WTF?!) might set you back a cool $1,632.00 per week, at least you know up front what food groups you’ll have to give up in order to afford it. And to be fair, there are actually plenty of purses made by other companies I’ve never heard of that’ll run you as little as $6.00/week, so you pick your pecuniary poison, I suppose.
Of course, no mall is complete without a food court…but since my doctor worries that evenwriting about Bacon Freak might raise my cholesterol to dangerously high levels, I’ll have to save that post for another day.