Robots in DisguiseInteresting fact: the reason why an “outlet store” is called an “outlet store” is because the term “outlet store” is intended to convey that such an establishment is an “outlet store.” Which supposedly means “a direct outlet for factory goods manufactured by a particular company.”

You see, back in ancient times— in this case, during the 1970s— “outlet stores” that were either directly attached to— or close by—manufacturing facilities started to become quite popular as a means whereby companies could distribute wholesale goods directly to a public audience, bypassing third-party store chains. Also in such places, consumers could purchase factory “seconds”: rejected merchandise or items that failed to pass inspection for some reason (small imperfections in the product), for a significant discount. Such stores were typically plain, no-frills structures, noticably lacking the expensive signage and interior decoration common to standard department stores. This savings was ALSO passed along to the consumer, so items sold there could be expected to be sold “at cost,” without the usual price mark-up demanded by fancier outlets.

During the crazed rush of conspicuous consumption fueled by the growing financial clout of millions of baby boomers in the yuppie-driven 1980’s, outlet stores— and the perceived savings they implied— became so popular that soon entire MALLS of nothing but outlet stores started popping up all over the country, attracting audiences intent on shopping for high-value name-brand goods at discount prices.

But eventually the majority of those so-called “outlet malls” wound up full of stores that had no ties to particular company factories. Sure, they were owned by the companies that manufactured the goods sold there… but they were run no differently than any other store selling those same goods.

Pop quiz: do you know the actual name for an “outlet store” that is NOT connected to a company factory? Answer: it’s called a “store.” Yet for some reason dumbasses keep flocking like migrating lemmings to factoryless outlet malls and think that they are somehow getting a good deal. Sure— the walls and windows of those store are plastered with big signs advertising huge discounts and special deals therein… but a quick comparison between “outlet” prices and normal retail prices for the same goods elsewhere often reveals zero difference. Or worse! Sometimes the outlet prices are HIGHER.

Wake up, people. Sometimes the reason “because we’ve always done it this way” is no reason at all. But if you go right on doing it, there will always be someone somewhere eager to take advantage of it at your expense.


NOTE: This edition of The Grype formally marks our 2 year anniversary. All things considered, Harold Orson Grype has had quite an eventful year. We’ll return after our annual hiatus in September to find out who was REALLY behind the hostile corporate takeover of WangCorp… and what it all portends for our yeasty anti-hero.

Meanwile, I think it’s safe to say our progress in the world-conquering category continues at a snail’s pace. Neato Burrito no longer answers our Facebook pokes; in just over a year’s time, our throng of Twitter followers has increased from 6 all the way up to 9; and somehow we continue to hold onto our unblemished record of “not a single t-shirt sold” (probably because our designs are crap and we’re too lazy to create more).

We love the smell of yeast in the morning. It smells like…victory.