Location: IFC Mall
Type of goods: popcorn
Rating: * (1 of 5)
Garrett Popcorn opened its first store on Madison Street in Chicago in 1949. The company takes great pride in their fresh popcorn presumably made from the highest quality ingredients. They call it a "Chicago tradition."
|A Garrett Popcorn in Chicago
But who cares? Popcorn is popcorn, right? Not so according to media deity Oprah Winfrey who declared Garrett one of her "favorite things" (what happened to cream-colored ponies and crispy apple strudels?). Since then, the overpriced, mediocre and really quite unhealthy snack began to pop up across the U.S. The hype has now spread to Hong Kong.
Garrett opened at the IFC Mall in October 2011 to zero fanfare. Hong Kongers just couldn't get excited about puffy, starchy popcorn. I can't remember the last time I said to myself, "Hmm, I wish I had a bucket of caramel-flavored popcorn right now..." Egg tarts perhaps, but not popcorn. I don't know if Garrett did any market research before they decided to plant a flag here, for if they did, they would have found out that Cantonese people are slow to American sweets. Donuts and cinnamon rolls? Sorry, we don't touch that stuff. That's why Krispy Kreme crashed and burned in Hong Kong a couple of years ago. And that's why every time I pass by Garrett's counter in that lonely corner next to City Super at the IFC, I see not a single paying customer.
|The often empty counter at the IFC
To lure fickle and penny-smart Hong Kongers, the store now has a guy standing in front of the counter passing out free samples. And so like everyone else, I take a little plastic cup from the tray, pop a few kernels in my mouth and ask, "So how much does it cost?" The staff wearing the signature blue apron answers, "$49 for the small pack and $598 for the 2-gallon can." Yes, that's $600 for a bucket of stupid popcorns. I politely put down the plastic cup and walk away, for I know an egg tart from Tai Cheung (泰昌) only costs $6. Honestly, how do they pay rent?