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Why does Hollister smell like teen spirit? A back-to-school shopping survival story.

My daughter wanted cute tanks on sale. I wanted out of this retail chain's Top 40 terror attack on my senses.

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I’ve been to a little place in parenting hell and its name is Hollister.

My sixth-grade daughter asked for a few new shirts to start the school year. She lobbied hard for a trip to Hollister because she heard they had “cute tanks” on sale. Since she had recently outgrown kid stores, and cleverly showed price awareness, I relented.

Hollister, it turns out, is the slightly less perfumed spawn of Abercrombie and Fitch. It has a beach-themed facade, and the clothes in the window displays are indeed quite cute. I could understand why my daughter wanted to shop there.

But, as I walked into the store, I was stopped dead in my tracks by the sound of thumping, booming, ear-splitting pop music.

Rave-level beats

I’m not noise sensitive. I’m actually married to a sound mixer, and in my own line of work I have had to stand right next to speaker columns during rock concerts. I’ve videotaped airplane take offs, and I was even on pit road during the Daytona 500. But none of these experiences prepared me for the deafening decibels I endured at Hollister. It was like a Top 40 terror attack on my senses.

Yet workers there seemed oblivious to the assault. Maybe the recent news stories tying hearing loss in teens to earbuds and “iEardamage” technologies are off base – loud stores like Hollister may be more to blame.

My daughter, unbothered by the rave-level beat, bolted for the back of the store where the desired sale items were housed. I tried to follow, but kept bumping into tables and clothing racks. The store was so very dark. Did Hollister forget to pay its electric bill?

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