Pissing in a Candy Urinal at Willy Wonka's Latest Store

By Dave Schilling

I’m afraid to go to malls. They either over stimulate you with bright lights, garish colors, and sexist/racist/ageist/classist imagery, or they put you in close proximity with people who actually like going to malls. Despite my aversion to either of these scenarios, I engage fully in the yearly ritual known as the “holiday season” by buying, receiving, and returning gifts—most of which come from malls. So, it’s pretty much impossible for me to avoid stepping inside a shopping center during November and December.

This year, I decided to embrace the season and allow myself to be truly horrified by all that is gauche and dispiriting about consumer culture. I wanted to ride the lighting, as Metallica once said—and there’s no better spot to get struck than the cultural abomination known as the Hollywood & Highland Center.

When I read the press release for the new Willy Wonka-themed candy shop opening up in the famed tourist trap, I knew I was in for an unparalleled dose of crippling ennui:

Deliciously delectable surprises await visitors to Sweet! Hollywood, the most ridiculously fun, brand-new sweet spot in all of Hollywood. More fantastic than any candy shop you’ve ever seen, and inspired by legendary candy maker Willy Wonka, Sweet! Hollywood is a playground of discovery that mixes joy, wonder and sweetness in a fun, energizing and one-of-a-kind retail emporium devoted to all things candy. [sic]

Ending the name of your retail business with an exclamation point is a perfect indicator to customers that they are in for a horrible, cornball shopping experience. It would be much more obvious to stay away from destinations like “the Titanic!” “Auschwitz!” “Afghanistan!” and “Arkansas!” if they were named the same way as Sweet! Hollywood. I’d love to open a strip club just called “Fuck!” where all the strippers speak to you in baby voices and only dance to “Gangnam Style” on perpetual repeat.

Based on the initial press the store received, the one thing I anticipated most about visiting Sweet! Hollywood was being in the presence of Oompa Loompas. Now, please be aware that Oompa Loompas do not actually exist in nature. In truth, I was expecting to see shabbily paid dwarves who were painted orange and forced to wear overalls. In this economy, a job is more welcome than not, but for our smaller brothers and sisters, this can’t be what they planned on doing after graduating from college. Unfortunately, not everyone can be Peter Dinklage or the little guy from Bad Santa.

When I arrived at Sweet! Hollywood, I was gutted by the revelation that the Oompa Loompas were an accouterment that was only intended for the opening day. I was lured in with the promise of small men in weird clothes and those bastards didn’t deliver. “Well, if you come back on Friday, our Willy Wonka impersonator will be here,” I was told by the clerk at the front desk. I had to break it to him that if this Wonka impersonator wasn’t a midget, then I wanted no part of it.

Initially, I had hoped the subjugation of little people would be the most depressing aspect of my experience at Sweet! Hollywood, but these hopes were dashed much like my dream of seeing Lilliputians in green wigs. AS IF: The Shop for Spoiled Girls, the “couture candy” section inside of Sweet! Hollywood, saw to it that I would leave the store in tears.

What if the most pampered and particular princesses were permitted to pile the most prized confections and fantastic gear in one fashionable and fabulous place? Then you’d have AS IF: The Shop for Spoiled Girls (and we mean spoiled in the best possible way). The mission statement: All girls deserve to be spoiled. [sic]

It’s true. All girls do deserve to be spoiled. People should be more aware that our gal pals need to be treated as though they are either incapable or disinterested in working for anything. Girls deserve to be spoiled because this is their inherent right as women. I believe that right is mentioned in the Declaration of Independence, though the passage is followed by a footnote reminding us that this right does not exist outside of the United States and can only be exchanged for rights of equal or lesser value.

Speaking of not having rights, the store had a section dedicated to the Native American population. I couldn’t figure out why this was here. Native Americans aren’t really known for their love of candy or Elvis Pez dispensers. Perhaps it was intended to be Thanksgiving-related, or the proprietors of Sweet! Hollywood just wanted to be sure they were covering their bases by insulting everyone.

Culturally insensitive displays weren’t making me sick enough, so I chose to end my trip to Candy Hell with a visit to the toxic waste-themed section called Yucky. Prepare yourself to get good and grossed out at Yucky. The gnarliest, nastiest and oh- so-awesomely awful candy is all here. You’ve been warned. [sic] More candy stores need to make their patrons question what is and is not edible. Mars Mud and Test Tube aliens were not candy, but the pink and white packages that looked like tampons were real candy. Nothing says “all girls deserve to be spoiled” like an edible tampon. You’ll be counting down the seconds until that time of the month soon enough. After rummaging through their various gloops, soups, and chocolate poops, I felt the uncontrollable urge to relieve myself in a candy urinal. There was no sign that said that candy came out and human waste did not go in, especially because the candy in question looked like human waste from my perspective.

When you can’t tell the difference between shit and piss and products for sale, you know you are in an American mall. Ignoring the conspicuous lack of midgets, Sweet! Hollywood was a thrilling place to visit. I learned that sitting on my couch and complaining about grotesque consumer culture is wrong. Experiencing grotesque consumer culture in person and then complaining about it is much better, because at the end of the day, you get to pee everywhere before being banned from it forever.

@dave_schilling

Previously - The Whitest Vacation Destination in America

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