Saturday, April 2, 2016

Scott Thomas Outlar writes

Blue Light Special  

Oxygen slashed 
by six percent

it’s the deal 
of the week

Lung collapsed 
to increase pressure

failing body 
shutting down

Momentum snuffed 
at the gate

gun fires 
legs give out

Carry the torch 
to the grave

burning worms 
in the fade away


  1. While working as a traveling salesman and selling to all 19 Woolworth stores, Sebastian Spering Kresge met variety store pioneer Frank Woolworth and was inspired to follow his example. In 1897, in joint ownership with his friend John McCrory, (who had opened his first store in Scottdale, Pennsylvania, in 1882; originally his name had been McCrorey, but he legally changed his name so he would not have to pay for extra letter on his store signs) Kresge invested $8,000 in a store in Memphis, Tennessee, and added another in Detroit, Michigan, the following year; these were the first S.S. Kresge stores. After two years of partnership, Kresge paid McCrory $3,000 and gave up his share in the Memphis store in exchange for full ownership of the Detroit store.
    In 1912, the S.S. Kresge Corporation was formed, with 85 stores, and by 1925, when he retired as president, he had 257 stores and other properties and had a fortune of some $375 million (equivalent to $5.18 billion in 2016), and he retired as president, he died in 1966. His old partner had died in 1923 after building a similarly successful McCrory Stores Corporation; however, it declared bankruptcy in 1933, though it was eventually revived as McCrory Stores, which bought up the Kresge brand in 1987. S.S. Kresge Corp. opened the first Kmart in 1962, in Garden City, Michigan, and 17 more that year. In 1965 Kmart introduced the "Blue Light Special," offered at surprise moments: a store worker would light up a mobile police light and offer a discount in a specific department of the store, while announcing the discounted special over the store's public address system with the words, "Attention Kmart shoppers!" Until November 1990, when it was passed by Walmart (which had opened its first store only four months after the first Kmart), it was the second largest retailer in the US, behind Sears. In 1991 the "Blue Light Special" gimmick was retired but brought back in 2001-2002, when Kmart filed for Chapter 11 bankruptcy protection. Meanwhile, in 1999, it introduced BlueLight, a free dial-up internet service supported by banner ads; it was then spun off as an independent company only to be reacquired by Kmart in 2001, though it was no longer free. When Kmart filed for Chapter 11, United Online bought bought BlueLight. ESL Investments, a hedge fund controlled by Edward Lampert, bought much of the firm's debt and managed the company (renamed Kmart Holdings Corp.) out of Chapter 11 in 2003, and in 2005 it changed its name again, to Sears Holdings Corp. after buying Sears for $11 billion; but both chains continued to decline in the face of Walmart's success. The "Blue Light Special" was re-introduced briefly in 2005 and again in 2009 on Saturdays, offering surprise hour-long sales on selected merchandise, and yet again in 2015. Mr. Bluelight, a talking cartoonish blue light bulb, was introduced in 2007 as a mascot/spokesman in ads and commercials; the associated specials were promoted as
    "Blue Light Finds" (on marked-down merchandise) and "Best of Blue" (higher-end products).

    1. The "Blue Light Special" worked wonderfully for awhile until the human species lost its collective mind and began to trample each other without mercy every time a new sale was announced. When pressed as to why he had stomped all over his neighbor of twenty-five years' body in order to reach the last remaining hi-def television in stock on the top shelf, the man (who wishes to remain anonymous) simply shrugged his shoulders and declared, "Darwin told me to do it."

  2. Oh that's a great story! I kinda remember those stores, but it certainly shed light on the poem for me. The whole thing, as 17Nuna points out, is a bizarre & unfortunate ritual that someday may be looked upon as primitive & horrific. All for a wider screen TV. Nicely done post. As for mankind, not so much.


Join the conversation! What is your reaction to the post?