You Can’t Buy Culture At The Mall

Contrary to what big business tells you or that pimply faced kid at Zumiez, you can’t buy your culture at the mall. You don’t go to the mall to buy fine art you go there to buy cheap mock ups, the same can be said about getting the full snowboard culture experience. Now some of you might hem and haw about the fact that Zumiez is a cultural experience, sure it just might be, but so is getting gang raped in a prison bathroom and I’m certain no one wants that culture shoved up their ass, but it’s an experience none the less.

I personally am a fan of the local shop. It’s where I got my start and what lead me down the path to create this site for which you all enjoy. There’s something about walking in with that scent of melting wax, the talk of the sales guy, or just that feeling from actually trying something on. Sure to some that’s not what they want and they’ll shop online, which is fine we live in a capitalist society for the most part and having options is key. But what I find you’re lacking while you sit there in your underoos perusing all the latest trends is a complete lack of culture. Shops were and in my opinion still are that cornerstone that built this industry and lifestyle we participate in. It was there that you heard gossip, got the inside scoop, and above all else had actual social interaction. I know social interaction is a novel thing now that we’re all attached via Twitter, Instagram, and Facebook, but all the same it was physical social interaction. Something to which snowboarding truly is about.

Now with the homogenized legions of mall stores and online warehouses I think we’re losing a bit of our culture. Sure some might say we should boycott the brands  that sell to these franchises to help the local stores. Well news flash here’s a list of most of the brands you would be boycotting if you went that route.

Nike, Neff, Vans, Billabong, Signal, Salomon, K2, Ride, Addidas, Anon, Burton, Analog, Forum, Four Square, Special Blend, 32, 686, Airblaster, Bataleon, Bern, Capita, Coal, Comune, Switchback, Lobster, WESC, Volcom, LRG, Vonzipper, Vestal, Nixon, Dragon, DC, Flow, Matix, Libtech, Gnu, R0xy, Bent Metal, JSLV, Home Watches, Grenade, Holden, Nomis, Oakley, Arnette, Arbor, O’Niell, One Ball Jay, Dakine, Quiksilver, Skullcandy, Aerial7, Spacecraft, Stepchild, Technine, Union, and plenty more.

So care to tell me what brand you would be buying after boycotting these? Pretty sure your local shop carries them too. The problem isn’t the brands it’s the actual retailers. You can’t fault a brand for opening doors to make sales to improve itself and progress as a company, that’s like starting a brand and then saying sorry we don’t sell to anyone or care about making a product. It just doesn’t make sense.

I understand online shopping and why you do it. Better deals usually, less hassle, and sometimes local shops just aren’t for people that snowboard. It happens, but as our economy in the U.S. sucks ass and with the winter from hell last year there’s a ton of local shops that are discounting deeply so maybe it’s time to venture out from behind your computer and go forth into the real world. I know scary thought and you might have to actually talk to someone that knows a thing or two about snowboarding, but once again that’s just a part of the cultural experience we all should be getting. Snowboarding is a social situation when you think about it. Do you ride alone? Probably not all the time you’re out there having fun and talking to friends. Who knows maybe that visit to the local shop just might get you a new friend or two to ride with and even open your eyes up to some other brands you were over looking.

Sure you can buy your image at the mall but you can’t buy the culture. So before you shell out some cash to some minimum wage human pin cushion that’s trying to force socks onto you, why don’t you see if you have a local shop nearby that could benefit from your business. Might surprise you that they will price match. No local shop and doing the online thing? Why not  try to support someone other than QVC I mean Yeah didn’t realize QVC had it’s hand in that did you? Plenty of local shops also have a web presence but in a world where paid SEO puts the big guys at the top they never get noticed. Surprisingly you can find deals with these guys.

To my final point and horribly sales pitch. Snowboarding owes a lot of where it’s at to the local shops, you guys paved the way to getting us where we’re at and while times have changed we here at this website have never forgotten that.  We haven’t forgotten about you guys and understand what it’s like to be a small business that needs to get the word out. This is why we’re launching the Shop Local advertising campaign just for you. You can read about it here.


  1. Kara Ca Pow says:

    Good article.

  2. Where? says:

    Where can I read about it?

  3. nick savy says:

    i fuckin hate working at zumiez -__-

  4. Zeke says:

    Screw Zumiez. I get all my gear at my Local WalMart

  5. “here” link is missing :).

  6. Jenise says:

    Hell yeah! Support local! Action Sports, San Carlos. Get at it.

    If my local shop doesn’t have something I need I’ll hit up another shop- I just bought a board from a shop out in New Hampshire, just to avoid buying online from one of those mass warehouses.

    If money is an issue and you really can’t afford anything but internet pricing, still go talk to your local shop. A lot of them will price match.

  7. Harry Pooter says:

    Our local shop open from sept throu late march; my group that rides together try to support them on everything from hard goods to outerwear to wax. Love them guys and girls at vertical drop in Loveland Ohio! They have the coolest owner ever and great staff that actually get out and ride

  8. Doug says:

    if you’re gonna internet shop, try
    local shop in vernon, nj, great guys! free shipping!

  9. Support local snowboarding!

  10. Dave says:

    I try to buy from local shops all the time, I hate to see it when they close there doors. I stay away from mall shops and internet sites. I try to keep it local and keep the culture alive.

  11. Jason says:

    If you’re in Denver you should check out Thrifty Stick:

  12. matt says:

    Awesome article, going to definitely link it around!

  13. Big Mitch says:

    This arcticle is so true I more ways than one you definitly cannot buy culture at the mall! Which is why it was such a downer when I saw that Technine was undergoing new owner ship, because I didnt know what was going to happen to the culture of the brand. On a different subject whats up with skiers trying to inherit the snowboarding culture by possing in there 32 jackets and bash snowboarders at the same time! So im my oppinion that hurts the cuture as well.

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