The store that defines mallternative. Sells clothing, stickers, piercing hardware, and other such tchotchkes under the alternative/rap-rock/goth banners.

Not a bad store, as long as you don't buy into the whole "subculture" feel of it and only shop there to fit your personal style.

Worth keeping in business because they sell Sanrio products.

I nearly died laughing when I walked into one and the top LP on the stack was "Comprehensive Guide to Moderne Rebellion" by Good Riddance. Self-referential irony was never this funny before.
To their credit, Hot Topic sells music you can't find at other stores, mostly industrial goth or punk, and they have a lot of it in vinyl! If only my record player actually worked... Their stickers are damn funny too.
Try this sometime, go into a Hot Topic dressed in your best preppy style, and talk to the employees. Chances are theyll be nice to you. Now go dress like a mansonite and walk through some hoity-toity upscale department store. Not only do the sales clerks glare at you, you'll have three or four rent-a-cops shadowing you by the time you leave.
When I first stretched my earlobes, the only market for them came from a punk kid peddling Pyrex tusks he made at his house, 20 for $20. That was I think 2 years ago, maybe not even that. The piercing studio had had them for a while I'm sure, but not for the prices I could afford.

Then I found Hot Topic. It was in the mall and it carried all the trendy items for the teen jet set. From within its wrought iron cage, one can acquire outfits to cater to the Yo! boy, the raver, the vampire goth primadonna, the Spice Girl, the new wave punk, the pimp daddy, and cheerleader gone horribly awry. For me, it was simply a place to get lobe stretchers at a fairly affordable price.

It took me forever to get the attention of the girl behind the counter whose vegetable dye mop of blue hair had faded to almost a toilet water shade. Once she did open the case for me, she had little or no ability to suggest anything to me and since whoever sized these things is going backwards in the gauge chart (I had always been told that when you went down in gauge number, you increased in size, for example, 06 is bigger than 08 and so on), I could only compare them to the ones I was wearing.

I had been wearing one of two neon pairs I had bought there previously, but wanted something a little more subtle for my friend's wedding in the next month. So the 06 (which were actually 08's) surgical steel ones worked for me. When she rang me up she reminded me that even if the packaging was not opened, they would offer no refunds, since they had had some intuitive teens creatively re-seal the vacuum packed bags and (what a surprise) pulled one over on the employees. She stamped my frequent buyer card two times with a skull and crossbones stamp so that now I only have to buy 10 more to get my 15% off. Wow-ie.

When things like this go trendy, you have to wonder how many teens' earlobes will turn gangrene or navels go red with infection because the care taken with such merchandise is severely diminished when it's moved from its place of origin to a place of mass marketing and consumption. Good thing I have extra bottles of peroxide and rubbing alcohol at home. Buyer beware, indeed.

Hot Topic is a store with a predominance of Goth/Punk/Emo/generic/newest 15 year old fad clothing, jewelry, cosmetics, stickers, books, posters and T-shirts with band logos or quotes on them. This is where your child can find fishnet stockings, flame designs, chains, spiked belts and chokers, anime colored hair dyes, band shirts, corsets, multi-zippered and redundant pants with legs locked together by criss-crossing straps, even straight jackets (black and shiny of course, not the hospital beige muslin as in a real psychiatric facility).

The Hot Topic store/look has been a phase for 2 of my 3 teens. It was a brief phase for the eldest, because at 6'4" he physically outgrew the standard sized Hot Topic clothing options so elected instead to buy things that fit at the tall man's store (in all black).

My youngest still fits in the sizes available but moved out of the Hot Topic mental phase. During the peak of her "spikiness" Hot Topic was the only place she would shop.

I try to pick my battles carefully with teens. I don't feel I should forbid most, if any fashion statements but sometimes I do yearn for something "pretty" on my delightful daughter or I may decline to pay Hot Topic's outrageous prices. This little ditty expresses my feelings about shopping at Hot Topic with my daughter.

Hot Topic Mommas

Hot Topic Mommas
Fantasize about Laura Ashley
Are grateful if this is as bad it gets
Shop on Ebay for bondage pants
Wish there were bigger sales racks
Like the dresses, postcards and some of the shoes
Prefer Manic Panic  to Kool-Aid for a stable red(or purple)
Have a chain all their own to hold their keys
Know what it is to have their kid set off a metal detector
And use it as a “life lesson"

We have moved on. See I enjoy being a girl.

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