corporate goth

16 October 1998

I was shuffling around the mall the other day, waiting for Ian to get out of class, and I was bored. Stupefyingly so. I was also participating in a somewhat rare ritual, which was looking for something to spend my money on, since I'd just had a birthday. So I ambled into this rather interesting looking store called Hot Topic.

Now, keep in mind that I'm in a mall. This being said, Hot Topic isn't so bad, considering. In case you haven't been there, it's this "alternative" store decorated in shades of black and red. It's terribly self-conscious and just a tad condescending. It sells such items as drippy candles, black velvet clothing and generally anything remotely considered "gothic." Goth, after all, is What's In. It's Hip and Trendy to be a goth kiddie. Angst is fashionable, and boy does it sell.

And of course, inside the store was every fourteen year old freak you've ever seen -- the kind of people that hang around in the corner of the courtyard during lunch period in high school being moody. White makeup to make them look pale and interesting, piercings everywhere, black clothing and fingernail polish -- the whole bit. Personally, I enjoy hanging out with goths; they usually have excellent taste in music, if slightly lacking on the fashion front. Wanna-be vampire kiddies, however, just amuse me. Call it a personal quirk.

So I'm wandering around the store, drawing haughty looks from the goth crowd because of my conservative clothing (T-shirt, jeans, Doc Martens, RedHat baseball cap and a cordouroy jacket), occasionally stopping to ponder the latest ska/punk/goth/industrial/techno CD sampler. As I was perusing the glass case at the front of the store where the bumper stickers live, a pile of cards on the counter caught my eye. These were the store's business cards. So I picked one up to stick in my wallet for future reference, giving it a cursory once-over. What I saw caused me to nearly swallow my teeth. Right across from the obligatory URL, under the address and phone number, was this:

NASDAQ: HOTT
A stock symbol. On a card for a store that prides itself on catering to the rebellious alternative crowd. A store that features T-shirts with slogans like, "I'm not evil, just misunderstood," and "I frighten my family," and "Got blood?"

I was stunned.

Then, after I got over my initial shock, I felt a wave of horrible, evil, hysterical cackling bubbling up from within me.

And this is what I said to myself:

"This store is publically traded on Wall Street. Somewhere out there is a yuppie stockbroker in a silk tie and crisply starched white shirt swapping pieces of angst and rebellion with old white guys in Brooks Brothers three-pieces. This place... is run by SUITS. And the goth kiddies in here don't even know it."

It was rather amusing.