Online shopping killed our favorite place to buy dirty cards.

Goodbye, Rubber Barf 

Online shopping killed our favorite place to buy dirty cards.


Since 1989, href="http://www.pitch.com/bestof/award.php?oid=oid:16352§ion=oid:14654&year=2004" target="_blank">Middlebird T-Shirt Creations has operated as Mission's gag-gift and T-shirt-press headquarters. But if you've been by 5815 Johnson Drive lately, you may have noticed the giant yellow sign in the store's window proclaiming "75% OFF — EVERYTHING MUST GO!" We called Rob Odell, who started working there when he was a student at Bishop Miege High School and has owned the place since 2002.

Burnt Ends: What kind of stuff do you sell at Middlebird?

Odell: Rubber bugs and plastic barf. And dirty cards, but not too dirty. Non-sequitur, clever cards. And, of course, the blow job hair dryer.

Did online shopping play a role in your store's demise?

Definitely. If this wasn't also a T-shirt store, it would've been gone years ago. You can't pay rent selling dirty cards.

Any common T-shirt requests?

More than anything I do, it's pictures of grandkids for Mother's Day, Christmas, that sort of thing. I do a lot of little kids' shirts for T-ball and soccer teams. It's been interesting to find out how many ways you can spell "Katie."

What's one of the weirdest shirts you've had to make?

This big, fat behemoth guy wanted a shirt made specifically for him to wear around Westport or wherever that said "You know you want to fuck me."

Gross. Anyway, with Mission Center bulldozed and box stores sprouting up, is Mission changing?

Mission's like Mayberry. It has all these little old specialty shops. Missionhill Jewelry has been here forever. I can't imagine they make money, but they're still kicking. I've had a leaky roof and tile damage that's needed to be repaired for years, but they've just patched it up when it really needs to be replaced. I have a feeling that the building I'm in is going to be bought by the city to be torn down. The property value around here is going through the roof. No one's going to be able to afford it. Don't like free trade? Try pimping it on your skivvies.

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