Tuesday, December 23, 2008

Towsontown Center for the recession, er, holidays

Yesterday was my first chance to head to the mall - any mall, in this case Towsontown Center - for the holiday season. I was curious to see two things: 1) was it really crowded; and 2) were there really massive markdowns? My answer to both would be no. Which means both of two things: people are really waiting for those massive markdowns, and/or they just aren't shopping this season. It probably also means that Towson merchants have either not faced reality yet, or they have, and I'm one of the many people who isn't impressed by the markdowns they have. Pier One, for example, had most things marked down a mere 20%, though there are things in the 40 - 50% range.

I myself went to look, but I did buy one and only one thing: sugar-free peanut brittle ($9, a Christmas present for one family member - okay, this cookie thing isn't working out the way I'd imagined it). The lady at the See's Candies stand mentioned that the few boxes of it that they had left were it. Their supplier wasn't sending out anymore. Another cold reality about the economy today. Maybe when it finally (hopefully) gets better, See's might actually switch its Towson "location" from a seasonal Thanksgiving-to-Christmas kiosk to a full-time store, like they have all over the place in SoCal.

Actually, I did buy one additional thing at the mall, but it was for me, and it was also candy-related. I stopped by the Godiva Chocolatier for just a handful of truffles. I got three, for a total of $6. I liked two of them - their vanilla truffle in dark chocolate was my favorite, while another one enrobed in white chocolate with two different fillings was tasty enough. Their banana truffle, however, was odd-tasting, and I wouldn't recommend it.

I did get around to that brand new section of the mall also - the big, new Cheesecake Factory - Crate & Barrel - PF Chang's annex that also features a Pottery Barn (isn't this Baltimore's first?). I took a trip through Crate & Barrel, bit into a tasty free sample caramel covered in sea salt. That's all I wound up getting. Crate & Barrel is a bit expensive for, well, just about everything. Don't believe me? How about a "mini-sea-salt-grinder" the size of a Magic Marker for "just" $10? And although I didn't buy it, I thought the herb & spice jars with labels that look like they were swiped from the Periodical Table of the Elements ($13) was kind of snazzy.

Mind you, the mall may not have been overly packed, but it definitely wasn't vacant. I parked near Trader Joe's. That was more on purpose than out of necessity - my trip was bookended by TJ's. When I first parked, I went to Trader Joe's first, looking for things for last-minute odds and ends for a dinner I was throwing for friends last night (more on that in the next day or two). One thing I troll for at TJ's, Wegman's and especially Whole Foods are the free samples. At Trader Joe's they had a delicious brie fondue ($8), which was a bit difficult to spoon into individual sample cups. I bought nothing that first time, but stopped by before leaving to get some vanilla extract ($5).

Other photos

Aaaaannnnddd... What is this supposed to be exactly? Other than an "&"?

I'll kick your ass from here to Milan, so don't mess with me, bitch!


theminx said...

I think Godiva chocolate is extremely overrated, not to mention overpriced. However, every year, we stock up on See's - the caramels are delicious.

John said...

Next time I head out to Cali I'll have to stop by See's and get you some. Or at least I'll get me some! :)

Nakiya said...

Haha this sounds like a post I would write. I usually go to the mall and end up having a food-centered excursion as well!
Oh, any I stopped by Wegman's the other day and they had sample of Stollen to try. I was in Weggie Heaven!!!