Dear Blog Readers,
We have become the kind of blogger we never wanted to be — the kind who has a "read our blog" button on our website but the newest post is months old. We blame Facebook for this — it's so much easier to write something there and we seem to have more followers there than we did here on the blog. Still, we can't quite bring ourselves to give it up altogether yet — so instead, we're posting this little note to explain our lack of current entries. Please do check out our facebook page, we think it's fun, if not quite as long form.
sincerely, the Joie de Blogger.

Monday, January 31, 2011

Gift Show Post 2

I'm limping less . . . and having a very good time at the Gift Show. Every time I come to this show, I am reminded of why I do come - it is so nice to see the people I buy from face to face - and also fun to meet new people. Fun to get a chance to talk about products, ideas, what works for us, how business is going, and fears, hopes, all that stuff. And I have found a lot of wonderful new products on this particular trip - and feel very excited about getting them into Joie de Vivre and showing them all to our customers. Some great lamps, plates and mugs by a new artist . . . a very exciting necktie . . . and something called an Animation Station that is the all time perfect accessory for our beloved finger monsters .. . you'll see. I just hope it doesn't snow so much that I never get back to Boston . . . .

Saturday, January 29, 2011

Slightly Trying Times

Here I am at the New York Gift Show. I took the bus down because of all the snow - my sister said there was parking but "bring your own shovel" and after the last few storms in Boston, I have had enough of that. Unfortunately, I lost my balance walking on the moving bus and twisted my right leg rather painfully. So I am walking the Gift Show - 12 miles of aisles according the legend - very very very slowly. I'm wondering if it will make me a better buyer - I do know that I'm spending a lot of time talking about my leg. "What's wrong?" "Did you hurt yourself?" etc etc etc . .. .. but - on the plus side, at least I can actually walk, and I can shop the show, so don't worry, Joie's supply of new merchandise is assured!

Monday, January 24, 2011

Aunt Mildred

I read the following editorial in the Boston Globe a few weeks ago. Another reason to dislike (a mild term) Amazon - I will say no more and let the article speak for itself - but I completely agree - and after all, how could people post on Why Did You Give Me That without her?

Poor Aunt Mildred. By patenting a way to fend off her ill-chosen gifts before they’re even sent, is helping its own bottom line, and may even be serving the cause of economic efficiency. But as for the holiday spirit — well, maybe it too will be intercepted before it arrives. We’ve all received gifts that seem bizarrely untethered to our wants and needs. (A “Baywatch’’ tea cozy? Really?) Amazon has patented a system that would let users identify people who give lousy gifts and then, as the patent papers put it, “convert all gifts from Aunt Mildred’’ into gift certificates. While the system would only work, presumably, if Aunt Mildred is an Amazon customer, it would even be capable of sending her a thank-you note for a gift that never actually ships. And on paper, avoiding returns wouldn’t just help Amazon; money wasted on useless gifts is a loss to the whole economy. Yet there’s far more value in seeing, even through quirky gift choices, how a loved one’s mind works — and in being open to the possibility that those Ove Gloves might actually be useful. By pre-returning Aunt Mildred’s gifts, we neglect a skill we all should learn: responding tactfully when we don’t get precisely what we want. Sometimes, it is the thought that counts, and it would be a shame if, because of Amazon, gift-giving became even more transactional than it already is.

Friday, January 21, 2011

Why Did You Buy Me That?

I discovered a funny website a month or so ago where people post pictures of weird items others have bought for them with a little bit of commentary. Most of the things I've seen have been pretty awful . . . but I've had a secret fear that someday I would go to the site and see an item that we sell at Joie de Vivre. And . . . it happened last night. I was scrolling through the site and saw our beloved Cat Butt Magnets. With the following text: "From Sarah: My aunt just gave this to me for Christmas. It’s a CAT BUTT MAGNET SET. I’m not even kidding. Yes, I have a cat. But that doesn’t mean I want to stare at a bunch of cat ass on my refrigerator every day. The funniest part is that the package says its for “true cat lovers.” More like, it’s for total weirdos. HATE IT!" Gee . . . I guess our customers qualify as total weirdos - I can't tell you how many of this magnet set we've sold over the years. I hope the majority of the recipients were happier than Sarah! And . . . I hope it's the last item I recognize on Whydidyoubuymethat?.com !

Sunday, January 16, 2011

A Customer Abroad . . .

A long time customer of Joie de Vivre sent me this photograph today - she was wandering around a Belgian Abbey dating to the 12th century, and this made her think of us. Who knows what it really meant, all those years ago . . . maybe that little bird, but he's not talking. Thanks, Toni!

Wednesday, January 12, 2011

We're Closed !!

Well . . . . it's not quite as bad as pictured . . . but we are enjoying a lovely blizzard! Left a sign on the door last night saying we didn't know when we would open. Still don't know, though we do have to show up and shovel the sidewalks at some point today. For the moment, the Joie scribe is enjoying being at home, watching all the white stuff that's swirling in the air and covering everything in sight . . . and happy that it's not the week before Christmas when a really big storm can kill shopping and raise anxiety levels for everyone. And happy that there is electricity and the heater and computer and stove are all working. Now, what about that second cup of coffee . . .

Saturday, January 8, 2011

It's National Guess What?

The second week of January, which begins either today, or Monday, depending on how you look at it .. . one week from the first day of January? the week that starts on Monday that is the second week of January? We don't really know the exact moment that this begins - but what's beginning is National Letter Writing Week. Letters are getting to be pretty rare occurances in most of our lives - seeing an envelope in the mailbox with actual handwriting on it - how often does that happen these days? But those of us who have boxes of old letters - where all you have to do is take one glance at the handwriting to know who sent that letter to you -know what a special thing they can be. Come on down to Joie de Vivre and buy a blank card and write someone a letter this week. Or write us a letter! Bonus: this will help the post office stay in business - we'd all be pretty sad if sending a handwritten paper letter was no longer a possibility and in these days of email and texting . . . that is no longer just a remote possibility!

Tuesday, January 4, 2011

Polly Wants . . .

WASHINGTON — "A series of coarse and sexually explicit videos produced several years ago and shown to the crew of a Navy aircraft carrier by an officer who later became the ship’s captain has cost the officer his command." This piece of news from today's New York Times is indeed disturbing, and evidently the offending material was quite - offensive. But, there was something else about this news that affected us here at Joie de Vivre quite a bit. An item that we sell, that we like a lot, was right up there next to this officer on the front page of the Times. The parrot that repeats anything you say. Was he thinking of himself as . . a pirate - a naval pirate with a parrot? What did he do with that parrot? What awful things did he make it say? We don't want to even think about it - but it was quite a shock to see it in the paper - and it's a wee bit incongruous with the story as well . . . the picture itself is actually kind of odd as well . . . see for yourself !

Monday, January 3, 2011

Texture Creeped Me Out

Returns are not generally a big problem for us - though of course we do get things back. Sometimes someone has mistakenly bought the same gift for someone twice - once a customer received the same gift three times - three years in a row - from a friend. I always worry a little when I see someone walk in with a Joie bag - that they may not be happy with our return policy, or that something didn't work and they may be mad . . . but we rarely have a problem. However, since it is the season of returns, and because Roz Chast is our favorite cartoonist, we bring you the following - double click it for full size version !

Saturday, January 1, 2011

Happy New Year 2011 !

Wow, Joie de Blog's second Happy New Year post - time flies! And it's 2011 - time really flies ! This year, for some reason, I thought briefly about opening the store today. All the big stores are open, as are most of the stores in the Porter Square mall, just a minute away. Maybe I was thinking we could make up for our lost snow days last week, maybe because this year the first is on Saturday. I don't really know, but I know my usual adamant opposition to opening on New Year's Day faltered a bit. In the end, I decided not to, and was happy to find that none of our immediate neighbors - Susanna, Nomad, Cambridge Clog, etc were opening. And as I took a long walk this morning on this beautiful first day of the year, I was even happier that reason prevailed. I do still believe that some days should be shopping free - with the exception of such essentials as milk, newspapers and bandaids of course. (If a windup jumping mouse or a yodeling pickle is on your list of essentials today, feel free to bang on our door - I'm in here for awhile cleaning up and taking down the holiday displays.) Happy New Year to our readers . . . and see you tomorrow!