Weekly Volcano Blogs: Walkie Talkie Blog

January 26, 2011 at 10:50am

Inside Tricky’s Pop Culture Emporium

Tricky's Pop Culture Emporium PHOTO CREDIT: Megan Adams

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Only about 0.001 percent of the population would actually go looking for the kinds of things you will find in Tricky's Pop Culture Emporium in Tacoma. Nevertheless, I insist everyone on the planet must visit, even if only to see with your own eyes that such a place exists. I'm not usually one to sing the praises of Americana, but it is pretty cool that you can sell a candle shaped like Jesus next to a Star Wars action figure without governmental retribution. 

Tricky's isn't your average collector's shop, antique store or thrift outlet - it's an emporium in the truest sense. Although most of the references go over my head (because (a) I am pop culturally challenged, and (b) I didn't grow up in the '70s), the store has a timeless quality everyone with a sense of humor will enjoy. Eugene Kirk, owner and mastermind of Tricky's and current champion of my personal 2011 Raddest Person Award, hand picks everything he sells. He says he's, "pretty damn cheap," which is why he calls his store "the Wal-Mart of antique stores."

Kirk looks exactly how you would picture a man who sells comic books and Pez paraphernalia would look: tall, dark and handsome with a full head of completely natural hair. Or at least that's how he made me promise to describe him. I knew from the minute I asked how to spell his name that we would get along.

Me: "Is that Kirk, K-I-R-K?"

Kirk: "Yep, as in captain."

Me (silently to myself): "Oh yes, I'm going to have fun writing this article..."

I may have already convinced you Tricky's is the coolest place ever, but you haven't even heard the best part yet! The best part is (drum roll please): Every single thing Kirk sells is completely and utterly useless. He even said so himself! His exact words were, "Nothing I sell will make you smarter, richer or will solve a problem."

I know what you're thinking, why would I want something useless?

But really, why wouldn't you?

In a world full of useful things, devices to save you time, money and energy (even devices to make your hot chocolate), what people really want are things that have no purpose. Why else is the Snuggie so popular? Why else is it that the coolest thing people do on their iPhones is throw angry birds? 

Visiting Tricky's taught me an important lesson: Just because something's pointless, doesn't mean you can't sell it, or that people don't want it. That's what I learned from Eugene Kirk today. Oh, and stay away from Hot Wheels collectors. Those people are nuts.   

Filed under: Business, Pop Culture, Tacoma,

Comments for "Inside Tricky’s Pop Culture Emporium " (2)

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Jason said on Jan. 29, 2011 at 11:12am

Greatest. Store. Ever. Seriously. Walking in there is like taking a trip back to my childhood. I've purchased many an item from Tricky and also sold and traded many as well. I highly recommend this place to anyone! Go there. NOW!

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John said on Feb. 03, 2011 at 10:05am

Wow!!! What a cool concept. I live in Idaho and I just might have to make a trip to Tacoma just to see it...and my buddy, Wok! Great job Eugene!

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