Attention Kmart (and Kresge's!) shoppers.
While this blog often covers topics ranging from awesome to awful, I also have a fondness for the antiquated. And this post is about that.
Months ago, maybe even a year or more, I ran across a link to the above-mentioned digital archive. If I remember correctly, I spent several days there listening to the streams. Some went as far back as the early 1960s (when Kmart was known as Kresge's). Most hailed from the early '90s, an era which could arguably be called the chain's last, best days.
But all of them were amazing. Each conjured a place and time that was simpler, brighter and perhaps a bit happier, when life's necessities and little luxuries could be found at bargain prices in a wonderland of mid-century optimism--all of it accompanied by jaunty tunes and friendly reminders to visit the Pharmacy section for all your healthcare needs, or check out the new Spring arrivals now blooming in our Garden department.
At any rate, I rediscovered the link while I was cleaning out my bookmarks, and was transported all over again.
The fact that Kmart (and its sister store, Sears) is suffering the most protracted of deaths only adds to the bittersweet sense of something lost in exchange for all we've gained: e-commerce, one-touch ordering, two-day shipping.
The bit of synchronicity that makes this that much more interesting (at least to me) is that just last week I drove all the way to Des Plaines, Illinois specifically to visit a Kmart. Ironically, I was there to pick up an internet order from Sears, a black puffer vest I'd been wanting since last fall and was finally on sale for the lowest of last season's prices.
What struck me immediately after walking through the automatic doors was just how vast the place was. The phrase "as far as the eye can see" would not have been hyperbole. So, after picking up my order and trying it on, I decided to take a walk around for the sole reason that these monuments to middle-class consumerism might not be around much longer.
The most delightful thing I discovered was a selection of men's musk-scented colognes I remember from childhood: Jovan Musk for Men, and White Musk for Men, and Coty Musk. Naturally I tried them all.
I'm going back for that Coty Musk. And once I've spritzed it on, I'll sit down at my desk and take yet another trip back in time.
Please visit the Archive.org Treasury of Kmart Background Music and Announcements.