So Long, Payless, and Thanks for All the BOGOs


Am I the only one who feels a way about the fact that Payless is closing all 2,100 of its remaining U.S. stores?

My dad let me pick out a pair of knockoff light-up sneakers at Payless when I started kindergarten. And when I became an actual Baby Jane nightmare who demanded my parents let me compete in beauty pageants, Payless custom dyed my fake satin kitten heels turquoise, which turned my feet the dazzling color of a tropical sea dotted by the burning suns of my very first high heel blisters. I guess it’s my fault they’re closing because I haven’t been there since 1997. Luckily, nostalgia is untethered to reason.

After filing for Chapter 11 bankruptcy in 2017, Payless began closing many of the 4,500 stores it operated in 40 countries. Four months later, they were down to 3,500 and then, in the U.S. and Puerto Rico at least, there were none. According to CBS News, our obsession with name brands killed Payless:

Shoppers are increasingly shifting their buying online or heading to discount stores like T.J. Maxx to grab deals on name-brand shoes. That shift has hurt traditional retailers, even low-price outlets like Payless. Heavy debt loads have also handcuffed retailers, leaving them less flexible to invest in their businesses.

Liquidation sales start tomorrow in case you’ve got an important regional child beauty pageant coming up.

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