When I was a kid and would get dragged to the mall by my parents, I would always gravitate to stores like Sharper Image. These gadget-stuffed stores probably never actually got a sale out of me, but they were stuffed to the gills with impractical and expensive gadgets for me to ogle, and there was generally an expensive, ultimately-uncomfortable massage chair near the entrance that lured me in every time. Sadly (I guess), it's now the end of an era: Sharper Image has filed for bankruptcy.
Due to lousy sales and getting the pants sued off it due to its useless Ionic Breeze "air purifiers," these are tough days for the retailer. With the internet offering more useless gadgets than any brick-and-mortar store could compete with, it's not a real shocker that stores like Sharper Image are finding it impossible to stay afloat, but I still have a soft spot in my heart for a store that's based around selling barbeque forks with built-in thermometers, foot massagers and overly-complicated personal organizers. You've gotta wonder how long it'll be before Brookstone suffers the same fate. [Reuters]