18/01/2012

Past Times, Not What It Used To Be

There has been a lot of bad news on the high street recently. Peacocks have called in the administrators. La Senza has said they are closing down. The one thing I never understood about La Senza is, why did they have full length mirrors in the shop? Lots of clothes shops have these large mirrors in the actual store, not in the changing rooms, in case people want to see what they look like with an item on. But who is trying on bras and pants in the middle of a La Senza shop? No one, for the entire three hours I waited once.

The latest piece of retail trouble comes from Past Times. They have appointed administrators from KPMG to try to sell the business as a going concern.

I am amazed it took so long. If you don't know what Past Times stores were, they were a place where you could go to buy stuff that looked like it was old. Not new stuff that would be nice and new, or even old stuff that could have antique value. They sold new items that just looked like they were old and crappy.

It's a strange business model, the kind of thing the idiots on The Apprentice would could up with when trying to be clever. I never understood which niche in the market they were going for. If you wanted some old crap, just keep the old crap you already have.

The remaining 51 stores will continue to trade for now, although 30 people have been made redundant at its head office and another 37 at its warehouse.

So, while I still have the chance, I thought I'd have a look at the items they have on sale to see what life was like for those living in the "Times" of the "Past".

They sell A Guide to Senior Moments Flip Book (now £3). Is that the kind of purchase that helped us win the war? Or maybe it's the Danger Mouse Run For It Keyring (£2). Or how about the Downton Abbey Official 2012 Wall Calendar (now £3.99)? I'm sure people in the past would but a calendar for the year 2012 themed around a TV show that hadn't been on air yet. How very authentic.

On their website you can see that they sell a Thomas Crapper Giant Mug. I'm sorry but if you have the word Crapper being used I'll get put off my hot chocolate.

My favourite thing about the Thomas Crapper Giant Mug (£5) is that it's listed in the What's New section of the online store. What's New? You're called Past Times. That section should be empty.

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