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BEST MALL KIOSK Minneapolis 2000 - Varie-Tee's

The naysayers among us can bray endlessly and effortlessly about the Mall of America. It is an easy target, with its legions of glassy-eyed consumers roaming about on ruinous spending sprees. But the critics overlook one fact: The mall is a fundamentally funny place, full of amusing people and quirky establishments that, if nothing else, aptly reflect the spirit of the times. Case in point: Varie-Tee's. The modest little kiosk, operated by husband and wife Gurdial Singh and Baljit Kaur, deals exclusively in the province of goofy T-shirts. A humble undertaking, yes, but for sheer cornball irony, you can't do better. "I'm not an alcoholic. I'm a drunk. Alcoholics go to meetings," reads one; another says, "Be nice to your children. One day they'll choose your nursing home." The biggest seller of late, according to Singh, is the li'l number that reads, "I want to be a millionaire" on the front, and "And that's my final answer" on the back. Prices range from $12 to $17. If you pass Varie-Tee's without cracking a smile, consider getting a refill on the Prozac prescription. Or just lighten up, crack open the wallet, and embrace the Zeitgeist.

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