Ode to Bradlees

20 Jan

Do you guys remember the days before Kam Man, do you remember…dare I say it without crying…Bradlees? Long gone are the days of your mom pulling up her station wagon to the discount mecca that was Bradlees, complete with staff in maroon smocks, an electronics department the size of a shoe box that literally only sold VCR’s, walk men and a few movies such as Milo and Otis, and Police Academy. Hungry? Hit the Bradlee’s snack stand and grab a soft pretzel and wash it down with an icee. Don’t eat too much though, you want to be able to fit into those Lee dungarees your mom bought you while back to school shopping. If you’re truly brave/ghetto, order one of those hotdogs that have been cookin’ on those rolling heaters for a month or two. Now you can only pick those bad boys up at a 7-11…pfffhhhh! If you got bored at Bradlees, and you were a responsible child, chances are your mom would let you leave and go check out the new cassette selection at Strawberries while she finished her shopping. Maybe she would even buy  you the Ace of Base cassette. Before I moved from Dorchester to Quincy, my mom used to take my siblings and I to the shopping center in Fields Corner to hit up that Bradlees location. It would later turn into a similar store called “B.D.’s”. I remember the sign looked as if they had taken the letters “B” and “D” from the old Bradlees sign and made a new sign. Maybe that’s why we moved to Quincy, but I can’t be sure.
Another hip spot for middle class moms to take their kids back to school shopping was Caldor in Braintree. I can still recall the longing I felt to ride on the stupid carousel in the entrance to the store, but there just was never enough time in the day. There was stale popcorn to be bought, cheap clothes to be tried on, and icee’s to be slurped. Plus we still needed to hit up Stop and Shop on the way home…what the fuck mom?! This Caldor is now Cardi’s furniture (I think?). Like we need more furniture. Fuck that, we need that carousel back. We need to get those endorphins going by going round and round on a plastic horse for 1 minute with kids we don’t know who might puke on us. I wish life was still that simple. That gum balls and carousels would make people happy, instead of happy hour/hardcore drugs.

It’s bittersweet that these K-Mart-esque stores are closed now. We miss Caldor, Bradlees, Woolworths, and the Harborlight mall. But while it is disheartening that we can no longer peruse the graphic t-shirts section without a care in the world at Bradlees, we can be grateful that we now have a one stop location for Bubble tea, hello kitty merchandise, and illegal/fake coach bags at Kam Man. Carpe diem it the fuck up, and go ghetto shopping this weekend. Do it in honor of soft pretzels, sodium, and maroon smocks.

Happy Friday!I love you all.

xoxo <3Molly

PS: Will someone buy me this hat? *Special thanks to M.M.!


10 Responses to “Ode to Bradlees”

  1. KC January 20, 2012 at 5:22 pm #

    I distinctly remember getting lost in there twice in one day because my chunky little 7 year old self was too impatient to wait til my mom was done shopping to get my pretzel from the snack bar. Obsessedddd

  2. jsindal January 20, 2012 at 6:02 pm #

    Bradlees was the shite. Even better was the Bradless-Zayre-Papa Gino’s trifecta, which later became the Bradless-Ames-Papa Gino’s trifecta, with a stop at Ashmont Discount after lunch.

  3. jen January 20, 2012 at 6:30 pm #

    I can get you a smock!!! My mom was a proud Bradlees employee till the day they closed their doors in Quincy!! The only place to buy Memphis jeans!!

  4. billy January 20, 2012 at 10:05 pm #

    worked at the bradlees d.c. for 19 years. good to hear the love..

  5. Brett January 23, 2012 at 12:59 am #

    Ah, the Bradlees on Quincy Ave. Wasn’t it even another discount dept. store before that? I can remember going there back in the early 70s since I grew up not far from there, just on the other side of Faxon Park.

    IMO, TJ Maxx is the Bradlees of the 21st century

    • billy January 23, 2012 at 3:06 pm #

      it was Kings before bradlees

      • Brett January 24, 2012 at 1:38 am #

        Bingo! I never would have remembered that. Thanks Billy!

  6. stephanie January 30, 2012 at 6:33 pm #

    Yummy pretzels!!
    Does anyone remembers Bargainsgalore in the Downs across from the icecream place Purdys??? Best trash jewelery EVA!!!

    • Kevin June 27, 2012 at 5:12 pm #

      Bargainsgalore had great $3 sunglasses. I regret not buying 200 of them because today I can’t even ge a $100 pair that fits well. Speaking of back to school shopping; who remembers Sawyer’s in Quincy Square. I got like 6 pairs of corduroys there before 8th grade. It took a little pleading to keep my mother from taking me to the Bargain Center that year.

  7. Walshieeee December 13, 2015 at 8:28 pm #

    So I was just unpacking the Christmas stuff and I noticed everything was “Trimmings Etc.” brand. The name and packaging looked and sounded like a fancy-cheap, 1980’s-conjured holiday brand from a regional discounter. Sure enough, when I checked the back, there it was–Bradlees Stores, Braintree Mass. (Or as my mom used to say–Bradlee. She also used to call Friendly’s–“Friendly”. She had a thing about removing the last ‘s’.)
    Anyway, I have to say that the fact that these electric candles and Christmas tree beads have lasted as long as they have is a testament to the quality difference between Bradlees and today’s 2-a-penny discounters.
    I used to take a bite of my soft pretzel…and then a sip of my coke icee and swirl them around in my mouth at the same time. It’s a wonder I don’t have diabetes already. Or should I say dia-Bradlees!

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