November 7, 2008

HAHAHAHAnnah Montana THAT, Baby! Club Libby Lu Is Closing!

20080823-DSC_9401, originally uploaded by JimSneddon

So awesome. Club Libby Lu is closing all its stores. CLL's parent company, Saks Fifth Avenue, made the announcement yesterday, and expects to have all the skanky toddler-to-tween makeover boutiques removed from America's malls by May 2009.

Not to gloat or anything--you know what, I absolutely will gloat--I totally called this a year and a half ago. When I first discovered Club Libby Lu as a new parent, I dreaded about someday having to fight the superficial, idiotic, pop culture-worshipping chain's impending influence on my daughter. But then after a snotty little CLL employee chewed me out, I ran the numbers and saw that I didn't need to worry: the Club Libby Lu concept was failing in slow motion and would only get easier, not harder, to avoid:

In 2004, the talk was to open 20 stores/year, plus 15 in-store boutiques. CLL's site now says "10 to 15 annually." Considered alongside the parent company's own strategic shift, I'd guess Saks considers the Club Libby Lu concept played-out, and the company's being prepped for sale to a bigger fool.

As a parent, this is useful, even vital, information: by the time the kid hits kindergarten in a few years, and her little peers seize control of her cultural influences, Club Libby Lu will be no more of a tacky threat than the racy black light posters at Spenser's Gifts. In the mean time, all I need to do is avoid a few malls, which was already on my to-do list. And some day soon, Jessica, you will learn a valuable lesson about the vicissitudes of the retail business. I hope you'll take the opportunity to enhance your employability by enrolling in beauty college. Times are changing kid. Now turn down that music.

For the record, the kid will graduate from preschool in May 2009.

First Obama and now Club Libby Lu, this is turning out to be a great week for America.

Club Libby Lu closing all stores [bakersfield.com via jason]
Previously: CLL employee pouts, calls me grandpa
An awesome treasury of CLL-hating comments from the Washington Post

54 Comments

AMEN!!!!

very nice blog some how i found you looking for things on our sons birth defect esophageal atresia. i wish you the best.

I saw this on the Consumerist and the first thing I thought of was your back and forth with the CLL kiddos. He who laughs last, laughs best?

Yippy! I have only boys and I'm thrilled about this. Now if only the build a bear sweatshop would close I could almost go to the Mall of America without wanting to bash my skull in... almost.

My, my. I hadn't read the back-and-forth comments before.

They sure don't understand trying to protect one's children from consumerism, do they? I suppose it is a fairly odd thing, in this day and age, but I'm with you on that.

Woo-hoo. Next up, seize the means of production from Disney, smash the Disney Princess hegemony, and complete the liberation of our daughters.

This is all good, but the Mall of America is opening a new "American Girl" store with its own "Bistro". What the heck??? 22,000 sq/ft of retail space...

here is the link

http://www.mallofamerica.com/adults_tenant_profile_objectname_American_Girl_East1.aspx

Eric J

Ummmm........Have some of you completely lost your minds???? This is putting people (not only teens) out of a job...Nothing good comes of that.

You people are freaking retarded. Libby Lu is not about turning girls into skanks.. AT ALL. All we do is do their hair and stick some makeup on them. Libby Lu is a place for girls to escape the everyday challenges and just remind them that they can be anything they want to be. If they are having a rough day, they can come to CLL and forget all about it. Not only is it sad for the little girls, it is putting 1700 people out of a job. I don't understand what you people think of, but you certainly don't have your priorities straight. If the only thing you are worried about is getting rid of a retail store, that is totally optional to come to, then you have some serious issues. How would you feel if you lost your job? Well, most of these girls did not lose only their jobs, they lost the one thing that makes them happy and it certainly crushed some dreams of some determied teens that were willing to make a difference in the world and make sure that EVERY little girl felt special.

wow your a the most stupid human being I've ever had the pleasure of finding on the internet. You obviously dont have the brain compasity the understand the concept of CLub Libby Lu. Its not about you idiotic idea about making young girls skanks, but giving them positive reinforcement, and boosting there self-esteem. Its about making them feel special, and letting them know how important they are. Its not for thoughless, dumb parents like yourself, but for a young girl to let her dreams run wild. Club Libby Lu is absolutely a wonderful place, but your tiny mind couldn't possibly understand. Its a shame that there are idiots like you in this world.. we should do anything we can to keep CLL alive, because there, every girl becames a Very Important Princess..

I hope this goes on until May....

Please--they can be anything they want to be? As long as it involves copious amounts of makeup and hairspray, right? Where are the pretend stations for girls to be scientists or engineers or CEOs or firefighters? Spare me the tired hootchification justifications--self-esteem starts at home, not with glitter in the mall.

EricJ, I wrote about American Girl Place in LA a couple years ago:

http://ricedaddies.blogspot.com/2006/04/american-girl-place-gives-me-creeps.html

Right about the time my daughter became a "Very Important Princess" you would find me running for the bathroom trying to choke back a "Very Incredible Vomit".

Our children are not Princes or Princesses anymore than they will grow up to be Queens or Kings. A "princess" is the very last thing I want my daughter to grow up to be.

And as for the individual who said this is putting people out of jobs. Well they can certainly go find something less trashy. I'm sure plenty of local department stores are in need of Christmas help. As for the CEO's and execs. Don't you fear... their pockets are no doubt heavily lined from the past few years of tramp promoting.

Club Libby Lu was not only the home of a caring staff, but thousands of girls as well. The sadness so many are feeling due to this closing in my opinion is nothing to gloat about. Little girls have created memories, felt special, and beautiful when they came into Club Libby Lu. These girls were able to come into our stores and be themselves and also who they aspire to be. The little girls happiness has impacted and brought memories for many of the staff who love what they do and love making these little girls feel like the princesses they really are. There is nothing "skanky" about what we do, that's simply ridiculous. As far as the makeup, they only receive is a light eyeshadow and a little bit of lipgloss. Club Libby Lu was not just about the makeovers, it was about making every little
Archelita: who walked into the store feel special, to know they were special. Club Libby Lu is my home and I find it highly frustrating that you can be so judgmental of something which you have no idea about. Being told how beautiful these little girls felt, how happy they were, the love they had for the store are memories that will always remain with me. 98 stores around the US are impacted by this closing and close to 2,000 people are losing their jobs around the holiday season. If you still find this situation funny, you are nothing but a heartless human being.

The cries of consumerism are nothing but hypocrisy when one browses the entries of this blog. Thank you, hipster parents. I look forward to paying more taxes and having more rules forced down my throat to take care of your precious snowflakes.

I guess if Club Libby Lu is paying its employees so much that they're going to have their taxes raised anytime soon, it's no wonder they're going out of business. And if you're hoping to work as our nanny, know that you damn well will be expected to follow our rules, and that you won't be making $250,000/year.

Unfortunately, I do not work for Club Libby Lu, but thanks for playing. Maybe you should go back to being a beta male and shopping for expensive clothes and designer furniture as you seem to be "successful" at it.

Naturally, I'm sorry that people are losing their jobs. I know many people, friends and family both, who have lost jobs, some with no notice at all. But that's not the point.

The point is precisely what you think is so great: it's about who or what CLL customers "aspire to be" and "the princesses they really are." CLL introduced its whole chihuahuas in purses collection after Paris Hilton made them famous. If your "nothing skanky" argument requires me to believe that Paris Hilton is not a skank, you can just save your breath. And maybe it was before your time, so maybe you have no idea about it, but CLL was founded and built its early success on total skankwear like tube tops for little girls. The first time I ever saw a Club Libby Lu was when a pack of 6-7yos with glitter in their hair and hooker makeup [not just "light eyeshadow and a little lip gloss" in my book] with bare midriffs came out of the store and started gyrating their hips in the middle of the mall. So though CLL has since tried to exploit the once-wholesome-but-increasingly-sexualized image of Hannah Montana/Miley Cyrus, its business was built on turning girls into celebrity skanks--or, as you point out, princesses, which is an entirely other annoying thing to aspire to be.

Association fallacy - FAIL

lol^2. if being a "beta male" means being involved in raising my kids AND laughing at some mallrat/bank clerk who's still bitter about losing the election, count me in.

Really, which one?

From Salon on CLL, 2006: "'Royal Heiress' T-shirts and couture dog carriers à la Paris Hilton"

From AOL News, 2008: "Is Miley Cyrus the new Britney Spears?"

Or do you mean "tube top and glitter hair=skank?"

That was refreshingly incoherent, lolRachel.

Here's a hint: I'd rather not have my child programmed at a young age to associate self-esteem with spending money to change her appearance (for the worse, but that's incidental). Do you really think that's a good thing to push on young girls? I would prefer she feel good about herself because of her accomplishments and character, not because some 19 year old mall skank dressed her up like Paris Hilton and made her feel like a "princess," whatever TF that really means. How about we spend time making them feel capable of anything they set their minds to, and strong enough to set their own destiny?

And yeah, yeah, sorry about the job losses. Tough times for a lot of people right now. But all things considered, the typical teenager put out of work at CLL is in far better shape than, say, a 59 year old GM assembly line worker. A little perspective helps a lot.

You mentioned the chihuahuas in purses, that's the pooch parlor. The pooch parlor is a variety of animals and not just chihuahuas. I am not at all stating for you to believe Paris Hilton is not a skank, but Paris Hilton has no affiliation to CLL nor the pooch parlor collection. We do have a dog purse, but it is based on a character from High School Musical, NOT Paris Hilton.

Ok, as far as the tube tops and outfits revealing the mid-drifts that was before my time of working with CLL. I have worked with them for over a year and have been nothing but pleased and have not seen anything sexual or skanky about what we do or how these girls end up looking.

You have your opinion and obviously there is nothing that will change it and I'm not at all trying to change your opinion, but I do not believe these little girls deserved to be labeled things like "skanks" or the workers/parents/kids should be ridiculed because this is a wonderful and special place for so many.

"lol^2. if being a "beta male" means being involved in raising my kids AND laughing at some mallrat/bank clerk who's still bitter about losing the election, count me in."

Straw man - FAIL

Greg, I should stop wasting your time and mine as it is obvious you are unable to form logical arguments.

It really shows the type of man you are that would laugh at the "mallrats", bankers, Libby Lu employees, and others that do not fit into your hipster lifestyle. I support Obama and I am sure neither him or any in his camp would condone your foolish thoughts. Obama himself has asked that we come together to solve the many issues affecting this country.

"
That was refreshingly incoherent, lolRachel.

Here's a hint: I'd rather not have my child programmed at a young age to associate self-esteem with spending money to change her appearance (for the worse, but that's incidental). Do you really think that's a good thing to push on young girls? I would prefer she feel good about herself because of her accomplishments and character, not because some 19 year old mall skank dressed her up like Paris Hilton and made her feel like a "princess," whatever TF that really means. How about we spend time making them feel capable of anything they set their minds to, and strong enough to set their own destiny?

And yeah, yeah, sorry about the job losses. Tough times for a lot of people right now. But all things considered, the typical teenager put out of work at CLL is in far better shape than, say, a 59 year old GM assembly line worker. A little perspective helps a lot.
"

Incoherent? You have and continue to make fallacies in your arguments. I have called you out on those and yet you continue in this new post. Do you really believe you are not programming your child with your spending habits? Your blog shows enough evidence of this.

While I have no experience with Club Libby Lu, your argument that having your child feel accomplished from something she has done herself is admirable, but you are missing the point of Libby Lu as the other posters have mentioned. It is done as a reward and for fun. It is a fleeting fantasy that a child can take part in. You cannot judge the intrinsic value of such small things to the mind of a child and in this case, a young female.

Finally, you ask for perspective. Now would be a good time to verse yourself on tax revenue and Obama's plans. Change.gov is a good start. The taxes gathered from the 19 year old and the 59 year old are no different. Both have a grim future for finding their next job should they find themselves out of a job. Both are necessary to keeping the economy afloat. Your perspective argument sounds similar to the standard GOP viewpoint. Seems that the trickle down perspective has not been working that well, isn't that one of the reasons we voted for Obama?

As always, you will pick and choose what you want to hear. Having such a cushy lifestyle as you affords this and affords you the ego to look down upon others. You have once again proven to me how distasteful of a human you are and earned your beta maleness.

"You have and continue to make fallacies in your arguments. I have called you out on those and yet you continue in this new post. Do you really believe you are not programming your child with your spending habits? Your blog shows enough evidence of this."

Huh? This ain't my blog- try checking the user name above each comment. I'm not Greg. As for incoherence: you're the one equating the closing of Libby Lu with "hipster parents" "raising your taxes" and "forcing more rules down your throat to take care of our precious snowflakes." That was so incoherent I'm laughing as I summarize it. You have no idea who I voted for, nor is it relevant. Even less relevant is Obama's tax policy. Maybe we should discuss Libby Lu's effect on foreign policy vis a vis Pakistan?

You did manage to squeeze in a germane point, that Libby Lu is harmless escapism. Maybe, maybe not. From my perspective as the father of a young girl, it's part of a culture that seeks to objectify and sexualize girls at an increasingly young age. It's a place where we send preteen girls to get "makeovers." I'm not that old, but the notion that a 7 year old needs or should have a makeover seems repulsive to me. It sends the message that you are only as good as you look, at an age when kids are extremely susceptible to the influence of their peers and the culture at large. If you think that's harmless fun, I posit that you don't have a girl, or likely even kids.

Your excited use of rhetoric 101 terms doesn't make you any righter, I'm afraid. I've ignored the consumerist hypocrisy argument you've kept making because it seemed so obviously not borne out by the facts of this blog, which is regularly critical of--in fact it was founded on a criticism--of the Baby Industrial Complex and by association, the entire corporate consumerist machine that equates living with shopping and good parenting with spending. There are more than enough examples around here of people doing and making things for/with their kids, not buying, to put an EPIC FAIL stamp on your superficial argument, if such 4chan immaturities weren't so f***ing annoying in themselves.

Are there contradictions in a parent wanting cool stuff, yet hating the idea of money=love? Yes, of course, but that's the way it is. Teaching kids how to navigate that world is every parent's responsibility, and I haven't seen any reason to raise my kids as anything other than skeptical of homogeneity and consumerism as it's practiced in large parts of this country--and as epitomized by Club Libby Lu. The "mallrats" I laugh at are the uncritical folks who defend mall culture generally--or CLL in particular.

It's an elitist, urban perspective, and I'm happy for it. And as someone who was raised in the suburbs and woke up and moved to the city, I have earned the right to be critical. Which doesn't let the kind of serious, elitist overconsumption we're bombarded with in the city off the hook; that's just as unappealing, and I try to inoculate my kids against that, too.

The CLL employees I laugh at, as the record shows, are the braindead ones who insult the judgment of parents, thereby proving the culture of self-absorbed, unconscious vapidity that the chain promotes.

The "lose the election" comment is a reference to your first whine about taxes and new rules, which is a kneejerk Republican/McCain talking point. I'll take that to be your truer political perspective than the Obama Kumbaya you just threw up as a rhetorical dodge. We're not all as high-minded as Obama yet, I guess, at least when it comes to gloating about tween stores and their defenders.

As for the bank clerks I'm laughing at, that, like all the other references, is to you. It was specifically a reference to your accessing the site from a Wells Fargo computer, and since you were getting ad hominem and personal, I thought I'd drop to your level a bit.

Since that's where this debate seems to be headed, you and I are quickly approaching FAIL on the "relevant, constructive, and value-adding" front, so you may want to consider your final argument.

Scott, I did make the mistake that your post was Greg's. Unfortunately there is no delete or edit in this blog for me to correct it. Now onto your comments.

How are my statements equating such things? Perhaps you should read the definition of equate one more time. Libby Lu closing is a decision from it's parent company, I have not mentioned anything about it. It is due to parents like you who constant live in fear about the things in the world that might harm their precious snowflakes that we see all this wasted tax revenue going to programs so we can "save the children". Instead of all this fear mongering, learn to take care of your children yourself instead of blaming the world. The points about the Obama policy and looking up tax revenue is to help you understand the foolishness of your "perspective" argument.

From what I have read and seen about Libby Lu, it is not only a makeover that they are selling. It is part of the experience, yes, but that is part of the fantasy. Just as a child would want a wizard's hat and wand for pretending to be Harry Potter. You do not understand the mindset of a young girl. Perhaps one day you will see a gleam of this when you watch her play dress up with her mother's clothing or host a tea party with dolls.

I'd like to see the look on your face when you come to terms with reality and understanding the influence that is really on your child. If you're lucky maybe it won't manifest until high school or university.

Thanks for making this even more personal, Greg. I've read your posts and I see both the anti-consumerism and consumerism stances. Of course, one cannot have children without being affected by this. My problem with the arguments you have made against Libby Lu is a lack of understanding what their true intention is. As with every corporation, they are focused on the shareholders and making a profit. This is why Libby Lu is closing, a lack of profit. You seem to place a blame game on them that is steeped in fallacies. There are two side to every story here and unfortunately you are unwilling to look at the posts from self-proclaimed employees of Libby Lu. Understand that from their perspective they are truly trying to provide a service to your child and make them happy. Perhaps this does not meet your requirements due to make-up, but your tirade is unwarranted. Perhaps you would get a better response from both sides if you had a more open minded post about this? I would imagine that many of the employees of Libby Lu would respond negatively to what you have said due to your wording. It is due to the negative emotions displayed in the OP that has started all this and sparked my interest. Even with your reply you state "unconscious vapidity that the chain promotes" without any factual evidence to prove your point. Yes, you have had bad encounters with some employees, but as shown here there are some that truly love their job. This occurs in every job.

I was not attempting to dodge anything with my Obama comment. It was my hope that you would look at his plans sincerely and understand that we should be working together instead of tearing each other apart. Even if you dislike Libby Lu, the fact that so many are losing their jobs is something we should all take to heart. We need to promote the economy from the ground up. This is the middle class we are fighting for.

As you have said, this argument has gone beyond the original scope and has been derailed. For me, I lack the understanding of your experience with his chain and what has brought about so much animosity towards it. As you said, parents should teach their child to navigate the world, but there is something to be learned from every experience. Good or bad. Good parenting can counter any negative influence. Learn to embrace the positive and teach your kids to understand the negative aspects. Give your kids a chance to learn and experience.

I do not think there is much more to be said on this topic. My hope is that you will show more compassion and understanding for the employees that lose their jobs in situations like this and be open minded to places such as Libby Lu that offer experiences for your kids. As I said, these experiences are only more opportunities for you to educate them.

"It is due to parents like you who constant live in fear about the things in the world that might harm their precious snowflakes that we see all this wasted tax revenue going to programs so we can "save the children". Instead of all this fear mongering, learn to take care of your children yourself instead of blaming the world."

When you assume, you make an ass of u. You know nothing about me, my family, my hopes, my fears, my political affiliation, or my opinions about anything other than this one topic. And I'd prefer to keep it that way, frankly.

If you like Club Libby Lu, hey, great, good for you. I don't, so I'm happy it's no longer around to annoy me. Sorry about the jobs, but as was pointed out, these jobs are not particularly specialized, and should be relatively easy to replace.

"I'd like to see the look on your face when you come to terms with reality and understanding the influence that is really on your child. If you're lucky maybe it won't manifest until high school or university."

Believe me, I'm all too aware of the challenges my wife and I face. All the same, I'd prefer to live in an environment that encourages our kids to be active agents for good, rather than passive consumers of pap. You take it as a given that that's impossible, and I don't. Fortunately for us, we hold dual passports, and we're not afraid to use them.

Good night. lolRachel, whoever you are! I'm off to enjoy dinner with my family. Enjoy whatever's on TV.

"When you assume, you make an ass of u. You know nothing about me, my family, my hopes, my fears, my political affiliation, or my opinions about anything other than this one topic. And I'd prefer to keep it that way, frankly."

That is how the internet works. I can only work with the material I have.

"If you like Club Libby Lu, hey, great, good for you. I don't, so I'm happy it's no longer around to annoy me. Sorry about the jobs, but as was pointed out, these jobs are not particularly specialized, and should be relatively easy to replace."

Once again, I fail to see what annoys you. The jobs are not specialized as you say, but in these times I do not see that they will find it easy to replace their jobs.

"Believe me, I'm all too aware of the challenges my wife and I face. All the same, I'd prefer to live in an environment that encourages our kids to be active agents for good, rather than passive consumers of pap. You take it as a given that that's impossible, and I don't. Fortunately for us, we hold dual passports, and we're not afraid to use them."

I did not say it is impossible, but one should understand that there is a fine line in parenting between properly raising them and controlling them.

"Good night. lolRachel, whoever you are! I'm off to enjoy dinner with my family. Enjoy whatever's on TV."

Goodnight, Scott. Unfortunately I don't really have time for TV, but that's life for you.

Let me first begin by saying that I work for CLL. It is a job and it pays my rent. Am I particularly sad about its closing? Yes. I will no longer be able to pay said rent. Do I really care that millions of tween twits will no longer have a place to come and behave like spoiled brats, imitating what they have seen their pop idols do on television? Not one bit.

I don't really have an opinion one way or another about CLL in general. I agree that there are far better ways to spend time with your daughters. Obviously there are more constructive ways to spend an hour, but I absolutely do not think for one second that one or two experiences at CLL will turn your child into an oversexualized 7 year old tart either. Especially with proper parenting.

That all being said, there are a few things I feel compelled to share:

There was a little girl shopping in the store a couple days ago with her stepmother. After speaking with the stepmother for a while, we found out that the little girl's mother had passed away the evening before and the only thing she wanted to do was come to CLL and play dress up. Take that for what you will. Maybe its sad that this little girl had just lost her mother and the only thing she wanted to do was come to the mall, get dressed up, and parade around like a pint sized prostitute. Or maybe CLL is a place for little girls to come and even for an hour forget about troubles at home or bullies at school, and pretend to be someone else. Either way, I know that when that little girl left my store with sparkles in her hair, clutching a stuffed bear, she was smiling. So maybe its not all bad.

Also, much mention has been made of CLLs closing because of financial troubles vs closing due to saks' desire to no longer be affiliated with them. To the girls who posted earlier working for CLL who insist there is no financial trouble, that CLL is, in fact, going strong financially, I would ask you to take another look at your numbers. Regardless of what your e-mail from Mary Drolet said, or what you heard on the company wide conference call when we all found out we were losing our jobs, sales are down. Way down. I work at one of the busiest and highest grossing stores in the company, and we are barely meeting our LY numbers. Sure Saks doesn't think CLL is a good fit anymore, and the reason for that isn't just because they want to focus on their department store business. Its because we are no longer profitable. Period. Plain and simple.

Anyway... back to that "Very Important Princess" statement.

I'm still trying to gag back the wretch over here.

Thanks for your perspective, and my sympathies for the tough job situation you're facing. The Saks strategy points are right on; the company has been changing since it got bought out a couple of years ago. And you make a good point about the responsibility of parents and the limited impact one visit to CLL can have. Usually/overwhelmingly, though, CLL is one tiny but highly visible aspect of a much larger onslaught of corporate-driven culture. CLL probably would've folded a year sooner if it hadn't been for the Hannah Montana wave it rode the last 18 mos or so. Pop/celebrity culture is so all-over-the-place, parents give up or just go along with it rather than exert the energy to promote alternatives; or they don't see the need for alternatives at all. In that case, CLL is more a symptom than a disease itself.

And none of this is to deny the power that fantasies have for little kids; that's precisely the point. For every rare case like the sad girl you mention, though, there are a thousand [or maybe there are only 800 this year] girls whose "fantasy" and "imagination" consists of being exactly like everyone else--who are all being exactly like Hannah Montana. No thanks.

As an employee of Club Libby Lu, I decided to take a peek around the internet to see what people were saying. Wow. I sure found it.

I'm really surprised at the ridiculous attitude displayed on this page. I understand why some people choose not to visit CLL and why you may have misguided opinions of the store...but you all seem to have such strong feelings about something you really don't understand.

I've been a member of Libby Lu management for quite some time, and my experience with the store was very limited until I accepted the job. I really didn't know much about it, other than hearing through the grapevine that it was a "place where they turn your kids into mini sluts". I interviewed for the job anyway and came to really love the store.

You can say what you want about our stores being trendy and a little too commercial, but many of you really have the wrong idea. We don't cake makeup on any child, we hardly use hairspray, and we don't DO NOT dress them up in belly shirts and have them shake their asses in the mall. If you've ever seen that, I assume you've been to a store that was not operating to Club Libby Lu standards.

Ex. 1:
The "dress up" clothes we have for the girls are tank tops (not belly shirts at all) that are usually far too long for every girl, and tshirts that say "Queen of the Club" across the front. They're no different from anything a normal girl would pick out at Target and beg their mother to buy for them. There is nothing provocative about it.

Ex. 2: The makeup we use comes pre-packaged. Eighty percent of the time it barely shows up on the girl's skin. It's the most sheer eyeshadow you'll ever find. And what's wrong with lipgloss? Clear lipgloss with some glitter isn't going to kill brain cells, nor will it cause our daughters to run wild in the streets at night.

Ex. 3: We are not licensed cosmetologists, therefore we do not use any styling tools when we do hair. We don't even use combs or brushes. Everything we do is simple finger styles that any mother could do while sitting on her couch. You all make it sound like we're back-combing hair and spraying it with Aqua Net. We don't produce pageant queens. When girls leave our stores they have sparkly lips and braids in their hair. If that's your idea of slutty you may need some medication.

Ex. 4: The dances and games we play with our girls aren't meant to be a show for other people. Most of our stores are small and it's a little hard to play games while there are shoppers walking through your party. We play the Hokey Pokey and the Chicken Dance and occassionally girls want to dance to Hannah Montana. These are choreographed dances that are in NO way sexual. They act out the song (like playing air guitar and steering a wheel)...how the hell is that disgraceful? People like you are the ones that make it sexual. You should be ashamed.

Our stores have amazing teams full of women and teenagers who are dedicated to making people happy. We all share a love for children and we like to see them happy. If that means sprinkling some glitter in their hair so they can make a pretend wish, so be it. What's the harm? Little girls love pink, they love sparkles, and they like to paint their nails. Allowing them to express that in a store dedicated to little girls is no different than having a Hot Wheels store for little boys to play cars in.

I guarantee you that every store manager of every CLL could come here and post great stories about amazing friendships and mentor relationships they've forged with girls who visit our stores. We're not there to simply spray glitter and paint nails. We love our jobs because it's extremely rewarding and we've met people who have changed our lives.

I know you're too stuffy and stubborn to care at all (to the blog writer), but i'll leave you with a story...

There's a very special little girl who visits our store, she's 14 years old. She's been coming to our store for many years and she'll be very sad to see it go. Her mother passed away when she was 9 years old and her father had a hard time relating to her. Her 10th birthday was a few months after her mother's death and a family member told him that she'd expressed interest in coming to our store for her birthday. She and two close friends came in to celebrate and the store manager at the time gave them their makeovers.
Her father told the manager when making the appointment that she'd had a rough couple of months and explained why, so the manager was very sensitive to that when she came in. They had a lot of fun and sent her on her way. She came back the following weekend and has done so for the last 4 years.
Her father realized how special it was for his daughter to have "big girl" friends that she could talk to and over the years we've all grown to be like big sisters to her. She comes in almost every weekend to say hi, if even for just a minute or two. Her father makes an appointment for her once a month to have her hair done and it's a special treat for her. We all take turns doing her makeovers because we love hearing about what's going on in her life...with her sports, girl scouts, we make sure she's keeping her grades up, and give her advice when she needs it.
She's going to miss us all a lot, she'll miss visiting the store and knowing she has someone there she can come to if she has a problem. And every single one of us plan on keeping in touch with her (and the many other girls we've come to love) when our doors close.

Maybe that's just a little too sappy for you, or maybe you'll see that we aren't about turning little girls into little Paris Hilton's. We're there to make them feel special and to show them that people care about their happiness And I perosnally don't see anything wrong with that.

Sure, money was an issue. The economy sucks and people don't have the money to spend on getting their daughter's nails painted. Their money is better spent on $4 gallons of gas. That's the way the world works. But we've had a good run. You can celebrate all you want when that time comes, but those of us who loves this company will be pretty sad. How many of you can say you have that kind of love and dedication to your jobs?

Wow. This is the most surreal batch of comments on DT that I think I've ever seen. I feel as if my local playground was just raided by a bunch of angry teenagers, although at least it offered some interesting perspectives.

And it certainly put some perspective on the amount of time I feel I spend reading/posting on blogs. I ain't got nothing on most of those CLL employees/supporters.

I think it is sad that you feel you have so little influence on your own children, that you are not the one to decide where they shop, at what age they can wear make-up, their music/movie choices, clothing, etc. If you do not like the stores, just pull up your mom jeans and walk on by. Don't gloat in the downfall of others misfortunes. I thought the store was cute. And although I didn't like all of the products they carried, I was given the power of free will to not buy it and to say no to my daughter if she asked for it. Perhaps your conviction is not as strong in person as in your blogging.

And I feel sad that you can't figure out from the post above that my kid is four years old, and doesn't know a Club Libby Lu from a club sandwich. And now she won't ever have to learn the difference. As for where she shops, she's four. She doesn't shop. She sometimes goes to a store with her parents, though. And as for mom jeans, I'm not a mom, I'm a dad. And the only jeans I have are APC, so strike three. Still, you have smug condescension and a glaring lack of taste going for you, so that's something.

As the mother of two girls I would never pay someone else to play dress up with them in a mall. They have access to dress up clothes of all kinds at home. Princess outfits? Yes. But also pirates, cowboys, and open ended things like scarves, skirts, and paper that can be turned into anything. I don't wear makeup but if they asked for some to play with I'd buy it and let them play. I simply don't understand the need for a place like Club Libby Lu when kids can do the same things for free at home.

My daughters know they are special not because I spend money on them but because I spend time with them and allow them to be children.

First off, I wanted to apologize on behalf of all CLL workers for the ugly attitudes displayed by some of our workers on this discussion board. Its not appropriate, and is certainly not a correct reflection of Club Libby Lu.

As I was reading the content and comments of this blog, I was very upset... not because of what was written, but how our store was perceived. That's a wrong on our (CLL) part. Its one thing to just assume these things, but its another to experience it and still have a negative attitude.

CLL was never meant to be trashy. I will admit, I have seen these mid-drift outfits and I didn't like them either. I didn't work there at the time these were available for dress up, but apparently, CLL had their own makeover and took these away. Obviously, these outfits were distracting people from the mission of CLL.

As for the Pooch Parlor activity- the pooch in the purse.. its all how you want to take it. Sure, Paris Hilton had a pooch.. but so did Reese Witherspoon's character "Elle Woods." Tacky heiress or a girl with ambition? This activity was never meant to promote being spoiled or tacky.. but what little girl doesn't love a stuffed animal? Does this mean teddy bears and stuffed animals you would find at target are questionable too?

Financially speaking, CLL is not doing so great- that's apparent. I don't know what CLL workers are so afraid to admit it.. the economy is down and Libby Lu is a luxury, not a necessity. If I were SAKS, I would probably cut CLL too. Its harsh to say, and I love the store, but this is business in the real world. Sorry. As for it being so expensive. Yes, I thought some people went overboard. However, there were plenty of free things for girls to come enjoy in the store. On Fridays we hosted free parties- like a game of Freeze-Dance to the song "Monster Mash" or showing off costumes for Halloween. All the girls would win prizes and nobody left empty-handed.. all free! Not to mention any time a girl stopped by the club, she could get her nails painted for free- no purchase or anything required.. and we gave out free guitar bracelets. So please don't tell us that we're just promoting consumerism when we were doing things for the girls just because we could.

I am one of the 1700 losing a job. I have an apartment, college, electricity, groceries and gas on my bill- just like everyone else. So, yes, I will be in big trouble come January. People say, "well, it won't be hard to find another job." Yes, it is hard to find another job! So many people in the area are unemployed that nobody has any jobs to offer- and that includes seasonal work.
However, my problems are not yours.

I honestly don't care if you like the store or not, everyone will always have their own opinion. I just wish that people wouldn't mock the situation or celebrate it when so many of us are having a tough time with the news. Yes, the world will still be here after it closes, and in the grand scheme of things, CLL is only a drop in the bucket... but please just let us end our run celebrating our memories and cherishing

First off, sympathies and best wishes for your situation. I never doubted that CLL had some decent, well-meaning people working there, as you demonstrate. That said, I'm afraid as much as you'd like to, you really can't apologize for all CLL workers--your thoughtful comments are outnumbered 10-to-1 by rude CLL employees who mock and insult me and other parents who do not approve of the company, its mission, or its aesthetic--any more than you can explain away the company's skank-centric roots.

To someone who first encountered CLL in those tube-top and booty dance days, the company's focus on pop culture/celebrity worship like the Paris Hilton dog thing and the disaster-waiting-to-happen Hannah Montana doesn't change a thing. Free manicure Fridays or not, CLL is basically conditioning kids to aspire and plug into the celebrity machine--and the values and issues that go with it [not to mention the mountains of licensed merchandise and wigs.] Combine that with the open defiance by CLL employees who gloat that parents can't stop them or do anything about what their kid's influences are, and I will absolutely celebrate when that company disappears.

I am a proud store manager of a CLL and it is really sad to see how many people are happy about our stores closing. I am also a proud parent of two young girls who are straight A students and are involved in many school programs. In addition, both of my daughter are CLL fans and they are in no way SKANKS! They also don't need to have a makeover to have good self esteem or to feel loved my me or their father. They are smart individuals who know we love them and they are confident enough to love and respect themselves.And those parents who fear CLL because of what "we promote" or who want to keep their kids sheltered from the world, good luck because those are the kids that turn out to be the worse!!!! And for those of you who think there is better way to spend your money or that the experience is too expensive, remind yourself that when you are spending fifty dollars on make up, jeans, or something YOU really like. Deprive yourself from something you really like and then maybe you can understand what your child feels when you say no to CLL or Build a Bear. Unfortunately, we are going out of business BUT you are right, our jobs can be replaced. I am not the least bit worried about that. I have worked retail for a long time and I have a degree. So yes, someone will hire me and maybe even pay me more. However, I LOVE MY JOB AND I LOVE WHAT WE DO. How, many of you can say that? As for those who are happy the nightmare is over, there's many more to come. Limited Too is now switching to Justice and in case you did not know they do the same thing. Oh, and don't forget about Sweet and Sassy who copied Libby Lu, and I'm sure someone will run with the idea and open something just like Libby Lu. So the nightmare is not over it will just have a new name. So go back to your bubble and wrap your girls up in turtlenecks and long skirts. Prohibit them from watching television or having dreams. I'm sure they will turn out to be fine citizens of the United States. One more thing, for the store manager who didn't care about what we do, its people like you that brought the company down and probably gave us all a bad name. You should have been fired a long time ago sister! Good luck finding a new job.

once again, rude, superficial parenting advice from a CLL employee. i love the part about "television and dreams." Thanks for the shock list of copycat makeover concept stores; I'm not surprised. Horrible, tacky, corporatized, homogenous mall culture is not going away.

What I never quite make clear enough, I guess, is that one of the biggest objections to CLL is not just that it's skanky, but that it's horribly tacky. It's bad, bad taste, packaged and cloned onto impressionable kids. I'm not a prude; I'm a snob. There's a difference.

I hope someday that people will understand! But in this world today ,it is so sad that people try to find only the negative things! Probally because they are to cheap to treat their own kids to fun! I am so sorry to see this happen!! I hope that someone out their with money will invest ! Because They aren"t leaving because of the money issue !!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!shxrta

Dear Greg and Scott,

Greetings to the both of you. Greg it must be difficult to access websites like this in Tehran, but I too am glad that Obama will soon be in office. And Scott its always nice to hear from the folks in the compound, we know you don't get out much.
Anyways I'll get to the point. I've got a 5 yr. old daughter, and I certainly don't claim to be the worlds best parent. But I know that she likes to meet her friends at CLL on their birthdays. They like to get their hair done, dress up, and most of all dance. God bless em, little girls love to dance.
The employees have always been fantastic, they love their jobs and they love children. Four in particular stand out because they are working their ways through school. Respectively, they're studying to be a doctor, a nurse, a lawyer, and a marketing major. So maybe you can understand my bewilderment when I read your (collective) comments about programming your own children to want to grow up to be doctors and CEOs. Theres nothing wrong with that of course, but theres also nothing wrong with letting a little girl bond with, and look up to pre-med and pre-law students. And Jesus guys, they're little kids. How about waiting until they hit middle school to start pressuring them to get into Yale.
Hey that's just my $.02 though.
Scott, all the best keeping the wife(s) in check. Remember to kick boys outta the compound when they turn 15.
And Greg, good luck with the whole nuclear program ya'll got going on. If it doesn't work out, there's still a few janitorial jobs here in the U.S.

Sincerely,
A dad who knows how to lighten up

oh, don't think for a minute I'm not having a blast, Dan. though as I've already said, I also sympathize with the CLL employees--even the bitchy ones--who are losing their jobs in a very tough economic climate.

And while it took me a while to stop laughing at the irony of a New York City liberal MBA being called a fundamentalist ayatollah for not wanting to raise my 4-year-old daughter in the corporate, celebrity-obsessed mall culture that passes for Middle American Values these days, I do have to thank you for correcting a longstanding misconception about CLL: I didn't realize they did "CEO" and "marketing major" makeovers, too. All this time I thought it was just rock stars, chihuahua-toting divas, slutty socialites, and--a rose by any other name--Hannah Montana.

I'm sure if I asked, half the poledancers I know are working their way through college. They'd be great role models for the kid. Maybe I've been wrong to leave her in the car all this time. Little girls do love to dance.

Please stop "sympathizing" with the CLL employees, they certainly don't need or want the sympathy of a narcissistic pos who thinks he's the king of New York because he calls himself a liberal and got an MBA that landed him that sweet job in middle management. I take offense at anyone calling my kindergartener a whore-in-training because she likes to dress up like a princess, or dance with her friends. I'm betting any Libby Lu employee going to school has a lot more self respect from their job then a poledancer whos got an MBA sticking bills in her crotch. But you're the one who apparently knows all the strippers so I'll leave the research to you.
You're right though, they probably would make a good role model for your kid. Since shes got to put up with you until shes 14 and can shack up with her boyfriend, maybe the strippers can give her advice on how to deal with the dregs of society so those next 10 years seem a little more bearable.

so much for lightening up, huh?

greg, I just think it's hilarious that you keep mentioning that you're a liberal in your posts. I'm interested to know what your definition of a liberal is, since the only thing you seem to be liberal about is your self-agrandizing posts. Reading your posts is eerily similar to the drivvle thats broadcast on the Fox news channel. The world might be going to hell in a hand-basket, but its a stretch to assume that Mary Drolet or Miley Cyrus is at the wheel.
Millions of children have grown up idolizing different characters on tv without it impacting the types of adults they grow up to be. When I was growing up, I couldn't get enough of the Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles. But alas, as an adult I am neither a ninja or a turtle.
You are free to raise your children how you wish, and to crusade for the abolishment of two-piece swimsuits and above-the-knee-skirts. But realize the audience for your holier-than-thou parenting advice is steadily dwindling. I'd suggest reading a book to fill the gaps in your parenting repertoir. I'm sure a progressive town like NYC has a library where you could find several helpful texts. But remember, no need to leave your kid in the car while you go in, and the books don't do anything extra if you stick dollar bills in the pages.

Your liberal/Iranian/Fox News comments are inseparable from the other ad hominem attacks that you seem bent on making. If you really think I called your kindergartener a whore for dressing up as a princess, then I apologize, and would point you to the endless CLL discussions preceding this comment. If CLL got rid of its skanky tube tops and booty shaking in the face of widespread public criticism, then I don't mind if some people think I'm a dick as a result. But I'm not about to toss out my other, deeper-seated complaints about CLL and the culture it promotes.

Frankly, whether you see or are troubled by the oversexualization of childhood foisted on us by the media, and the marketing and advertising industry, and the beauty industry (hey, Drolet!), its existence is not up for debate. And for every person who defends the sweet innocence of Miley Cyrus/Hannah Montana, I'll just say I find the industrial-scale exploitation of innocence and celebrity (Hannah Montana is like a billion dollar licensing business now) even more troubling than the impending slide into skankitude that Cyrus is working on. Remember, before she was a deranged, baby-endangering, paparazzi-humping, crotch-flashing, head-shaving famewhore, Britney Spears was a Mouseketeer who built her business on the same innocence schtick Cyrus has. And in an attempt to save its business, CLL turned itself into ground zero for Montana worship.

Whether you want to call my objections to that fundamentalist, communist, conservative, feminist, or flaming liberal is really not my concern. They're my objections, I've stated them ad nauseam, and soon enough, they'll be only of interest to the odd CLL Googler.

As for the "holier-than-thou" crap, again, I figure you're just trying to pick a fight. But it's true, I do think I have better taste than most people, and certainly better than most streaky highlighted extension-wearing mallrats, and absolutely better than Mary Drolet and her empire built out of dime store hair accessories. And I don't particularly care how many people agree with me--or, as you point out, how few. If you don't like it, just move on.

I applaud you sir. Your quest to single-handedly defeat the evil Libby Lu by boycott so you can instead line the thongs of strippers is akin to Ghandi's pilgrimage to make a cup of salt. No doubt it will do wonders for your daughter's self image as she sits alone in the car contemplating why daddy has left her there to go get his sleaze on.
But at least the trash of Hannah Montana will now only be available to infect your child's mind if you pass by any of the other thousands of New York retailers who peddle her smut.
I sincerely hope that the business prowess of that 16 year old girl doesn't leave the brave, liberal MBA from po-dunk NYC feeling emasculated as you lord over the mail-room minions whom you supervise.

greg, you yourself seem to prefer making moral judgments about 1700 hard-working people who have lost their jobs during the holiday season in a tough economic climate, and insinuating that elementary school girls are on the path to "skankitude". However, your own admission that you leave your 4 year old daughter in the car while you pay women to strip for money:

"I'm sure if I asked, half the poledancers I know are working their way through college. They'd be great role models for the kid. Maybe I've been wrong to leave her in the car all this time."

should raise serious questions about your own morality to the readers of your blog.
Unfortunately, this isn't the greatest hypocrisy that has spewed out of that festering anus you call a mouth.

"for every person who defends the sweet innocence of Miley Cyrus/Hannah Montana, I'll just say I find the industrial-scale exploitation of innocence and celebrity (Hannah Montana is like a billion dollar licensing business now) even more troubling than the impending slide into skankitude that Cyrus is working on."
and
"CLL is one tiny but highly visible aspect of a much larger onslaught of corporate-driven culture. CLL probably would've folded a year sooner if it hadn't been for the Hannah Montana wave it rode the last 18 mos or so. Pop/celebrity culture is so all-over-the-place, parents give up or just go along with it rather than exert the energy to promote alternatives"

Those are some mighty ballsy comments greg. Especially when you yourself are paid to advertise for companies ON THIS VERY WEBPAGE that offer these same products with the convenience of "one click ordering". Ebay alone has over 18,000 Hannah Montana items for sale at this moment, and Wal-Mart has their fair share as well.

Personally, I only see two alternatives, greg, if you wish to appear to have one ounce of integrity.

1. Issue a sincere apology on your blog for making hypocritical judgments to CLL employees and parents who choose to take their children there.
or
2. Immediately remove Paypal's advertising banner from your website and return all advertising fees that were paid.

Not that I think you have any integrity, greg, but I'd go with No. 2. Your narcissistic personality makes it nearly impossible to make an apology that doesn't make you sound like an ass, let alone sincere.

If you had an ounce of serious engagement, you'd know that I was joking about the strippers, and even if you thought I could be a big enough hypocrite to complain about over-sexualized culture while going to a stripper bar, you should have realized I was making a satirical point when I said I left the kid in the car.

As for your points about advertisers and links, forget it. I keep a clean, clear, and upfront line about the advertising and editorial aspects of this site, stating when and where I have commercial interests. Advertisers get zero special treatment in the editorial content of this site, and I don't hide the fact that DT gets commissions from sales that occur from some product links.

As for the notion of my being responsible or taking a moral stand on the millions of products put up by individuals on eBay, that is the most sanctimonious thing I've heard all week. And it's been a long week. And finally, as for Wal-Mart, I'll have you know that I *don't* link to Wal-Mart except in cases of discussing Wal-Mart related news or products only available at Wal-Mart. And in those cases, I do not have affiliate links to the store. So my integrity vis a vis the retailers I do business with is just fine, thank you very much.

But it seems that actual facts and discussion are not your interest, just being a belligerent dick. And since you've taken to commenting and replying to yourself, it's time you get your own blog and get the hell off of mine. Any further comments by you will be deleted.

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