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Mike Albo heads to Greenpoint to browse the new Fred Flare shop this week, and is immediately surprised by the store's almost comically cheery staff. "'Hi! I like your pin?!' sang an insanely happy young woman behind the register to a customer. 'And your sunglasses!!!' chimed her co-worker. Then one of them turned to the other and said: “Oh, my God, I love these ornaments!? I am SO getting these for my Grandma??? For CHRISTMAS!!!' They were like human text messages from Smurfland, and they were freaking me out." He finds, though, that it's hard to be cynical around the ridiculously cute merchandise. Albo, "I didn’t realize I was so starved for lightheartedness." [NYT]