So it’s yet another Wednesday morning in paradise. I just rose from my slumber, meandered downstairs to my Keurig, and rummaged through an exhausting selection of Green Mountain K-cup flavors. Eventually, I ended up going with “Dark Magic” which, curiously enough, is also the title of my ex-girlfriend’s most recent pornographic film.
Anyway, for those who know me, you know that I’m exceptional at a lot of things. For the sake of time, I won’t list them here (my best quality is my humility) but I will admit that amongst all my strengths, I’m particularly great with women.
Women love me, and I think a lot of that has to do with the fact that I understand them so well. For example, throughout my life, I’ve examined the opposite sex so intricately that I’ve managed to compile a list of what makes the female demographic swoon.
Here’s what I’ve found, in order from least significant, to most:
5.) Freeform’s annual Hocus Pocus marathon.
4.) Any pumpkin-oriented food or beverage during Fall.
3.) Swigging out of stainless steel, vacuum insulated water bottles while clenching the dashboard of a treadmill that’s seemingly set at a 90° incline.
2.) Serviceably attractive, 5’10” former Saab owners who blog, own over four pairs of cargo shorts, and periodically eat bologna.
1.) TJ Maxx
So yeah, although women curiously can’t resist a male paradigm that coincidentally shares the same characteristics one would use to describe myself, there’s no question that the number one thing females can’t resist is the department store chain, TJ Maxx.
Before I go any further, I’m not sure how widespread TJ Maxx is. If you live in New England, you know what I’m talking about; if you’re unfamiliar with what I’m referring to, TJ Maxx is a retail chain that specializes in “off-price” clothing, jewelry, domestics, giftware, etc. Inside, it’s basically just a flock of middle-aged women aimlessly lumbering throughout the aisles in some stoic, bargain-induced trance akin to Daniel Kaluuya’s in that hypnosis scene from Get Out.
In fact, TJ Maxx’s parent company (TJX Companies) also owns Marshalls, which is essentially just a poor man’s TJ Maxx. I honestly think Marshalls is just a chain of empty department stores TJX created to eradicate the stigma of “off-price” shopping and drive more traffic to their TJ Maxx retailers. It’s almost like a Walmart/Target dynamic. People don’t want to look poor sifting through $6 floral rompers, but at least they aren’t doing so at a Marshalls…
Anyway, I went into TJ Maxx the other day to further investigate why women can’t get enough of that place because I’m a fucking journalist who doesn’t leave stones unturned. Here’s what I found:
First and foremost, every last item in that entire store is perpetually on clearance. That place has seemingly been going out of business for over a decade and if you find an item without a red tag indicating it’s 70% off, one of the their customer associates most likely fucked up. For most consumers, this is a plus; however, in the eye of a keen skeptic such as myself, I’m not sure. In other words, if everything’s on clearance, nothing’s on clearance…
When you first walk in, you’ll notice there’s always this extravagant display of similar lifestyle items. Normally, you can set your watch to seeing a shitload of 3-in-1 kettle bell kits, stability balls, and yoga mats that, if purchased, will inevitably end up collecting dust underneath a storage cabinet overflowing with mid-2000s Tae Bo instructional DVDs that were initially ordered off QVC to wage war with post-pregnancy weight back when “parenting wasn’t a full-time job.”
As you continue navigating, you’ll notice something, in particular: everything looks familiar. Perhaps the reason for that is because you’ve seen these items before, and perhaps the reason for that is because you have.
There’s always this section near the front of every TJ Maxx dedicated to last-minute gift ideas your intended recipient is guaranteed to NEVER use. Whether it’s an Axe Body Spray shower kit, an aroma therapy candle set, or a Red Sox themed neck massager, there’s always something you recognize and think: “Isn’t this what that condescending dipshit Meredith brought to the Yankee Swap last Christmas?”
As a guy, I ventured over to the men’s section before the women’s to objectively see if maybe TJ Maxx’s stranglehold isn’t exclusive to women.
While scanning the inventory of men’s wear, all I could find was an onslaught of pastel Nautica/Polo button-down dress shirts for those who yearn to dress like a dickhead from 2008, but only if it comes at 40% of the original price. For men who subscribe for a more eclectic sense of style and flair, there’s always an enormous selection of Phat Farm and Ecko Unltd for the “former high school rapper” in all of us.
Finally, I navigated to what we’ve all been waiting for: the women’s section…
As I perused through the aisles, I realized that TJ Maxx claiming to have a “women’s section” is like an abortion clinic claiming to have a wing exclusively reserved for female patients. When it’s all said and done, the entire store is essentially a women’s section.
On the outskirts of each aisle sits roughly 7,000 different picture frames featuring stock photos of beach dwelling Border Collies or two, doe-eyed lovers cuddling in a hammock with the sepia tone filter.
As you dive deeper, you’ll encounter a few mountains of throw pillows embroidered with things like “Live” or “Breath” in case you forget. In other words, TJ Maxx has virtually everything a woman could want, covered.
Ever wonder how Reese Witherspoon chefs up her classic, Mediterranean lobster bisque? No problem. She has a cookbook with step-by-step instructions, which is conveniently placed next to a six-piece contemporary, stainless steel barware set for the three times a year when “company’s coming over and everything needs to be perfect.”
So yeah, TJ Maxx is TJ Maxx in the eyes of women because it’s some sort of utopia. It sucks you in and refuses to let you leave without at least two or three impulse items that’ll end up being regifted at the next bridal shower.
One of my mom’s favorite quotes when she returns from a trip to the Maxx is that “I just had to buy it”—an assertion that normally concerns some “Live, Laugh, Love” photograph or a ceramic chicken “that would look great on the kitchen table.”
It’s a quote I hear so often that I just assume when she gets to the counter, there’s some sketchy guy with a gun pointed at her underneath the register who asks something like, “Are you sure you don’t want that towel set you were eyeing in aisle four. You already know it matches the color scheme of your bathroom… not to mention, Shelby didn’t think it was the worth the purchase either” as he’s pointing to some middle-aged women who’s tied up in the back room…
“I just had to buy it…”
– Joey Boats (@joey_boats)