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.

Tuesday, June 28, 2011

When Worlds Collide

What I think of when I see the words "Jersey Shore" in the subject line of an email: summer, long walks on the beach, swimming, sunburns, seaweed and jellyfish, kids playing, solitude, (yes, found even in New Jersey), fresh corn on the cob, collecting shells, sunsets, and a whole host of lovely things.

What my Kurt Adler rep is thinking when he sends me an email with the words "Jersey Shore" as the subject: Snookie and Co. Christmas ornaments!

Thanks . . . but I will stick with my world!

Friday, June 24, 2011

Whatever Happened To . . . ?

I was cleaning out my file cabinet today - I try to do that every once in awhile, when it gets so full that I can barely cram another catalogue in . . . . (& yes, despite websites, we still get a lot of catalogues and often prefer using them) . . . anyway, there were a few really old ones in there, that I've kept almost for sentimental reasons, and I decided to google the companies to see if they were still around. I googled Tiny Flame Studio - a small handcraft company we used to buy hammered copper wands and picture frames from. Most of the sites listed them with no information but said "if this is your company, please contact us." And I discovered there are lots and lots of sites that make it their business - to list other businesses. One of the "big players" appeared to be On their website they claim that they list over 23 million companies in the United States alone. I googled Tiny Flame on their site and got the following information: "Tiny Flame Studio in Fairfax, CA is a private company categorized under Jewelry Stores. Current estimates show this company has an annual revenue of $1 to 2.5 million and employs a staff of approximately 5 to 9." Wow. That's quite a range of revenue. And with 5 to 9 employees, they must have a really difficult time in the years they only make $1. With 5 employees, that would be 20 cents each. Really, what is the point of publishing such obviously bogus information? I guess if you're going to feature 23 million companies . . . you have to get a little creative!

Tuesday, June 21, 2011

An Unusual Request

First thing in the morning the phone rings. It's a woman who saw on our website that we sell jewelry and wants to know if we offer a particular service. Do we take stuck rings off people's fingers? Specifically, off the finger of her mother-in-law. (Please note that the date of this call was not April 1st!) We suggest the classic remedies - did she try water? soap? a little oil? The woman tells us that her mother-in-law's whole hand is badly swollen and she also has arthritis in her knuckles. We suggest that maybe she would want to see a doctor - but she doesn't like that idea. We apologize that we can't be more helpful- but wonder - what planet does this particular caller live on?

Friday, June 17, 2011

Read Carefully Before Ordering!

We sell some wall pieces that are collages with quotes superimposed over the images - they're quite popular, and the quotes tend toward the - for us- slightly sweet, almost inspirational. Some examples: "Shoot for the Moon, Even if You Miss, You'll Land Among the Stars!" "Happiness is a way of travel, not a destination" "The best and most beautiful things in the world cannot be seen or even touched, they must be felt with the heart." The other day a customer was shopping for a gift for her brand new granddaughter to give to her mother, the baby being only a few weeks old and therefore unable to shop yet. I was pulling out all the mother and or new baby items I could find, and thought I remembered a wall piece with a motherhood quote. I found it in the stock room, and as I was bringing it out, I read the quote. "Motherhood. All love begins and ends there." (Robert Browning.) I suddenly realized that I totally disagree with this quote. After all, some of us are not mothers. And we have experienced love. And doesn't motherhood really begin with another kind of love - the love that brings a man and a woman together and makes them want to have a child? (okay - or these days two men, or two women and we really should say parenthood in case it's two men.) On reflection, I decided that I really did not like the quote at all. Maybe it's really just a lovely little tribute to mothers and I'm over thinking the whole thing, but - I don't think I'll be ordering that particular piece again!

Monday, June 13, 2011

Unexpected Comment of the Day

Last weekend, on a busy Saturday, two boys entered the store - probably 13 or 14 years old. They were a bit loud, and clearly excited to be there. I was helping another customer when one of them grabbed a brass kaleidoscope. "How much is this?" he asked me, and looked rather taken aback to learn that it cost $150. But he and his friend both looked through it, then returned it to its stand. I kind of kept an eye on them, but soon got caught up in gift wrapping and helping customers. I was in the middle of a transaction when one of the boys approached me again. "Excuse me," he said. I looked up. "I just wanted to tell you that this is a really wonderful store. I really like it." My heart melted a little. He went on: " I came in here a few weeks ago and I just brought in my friend." My heart melted a little more. He was so sincere, and so polite. "Well, thank you," I said. "I really appreciate the compliment, and I'm glad you like the store." I wasn't kidding. That kaleidoscope grabbing adolescent boy made my day!

Thursday, June 9, 2011

Annoying Comment of the Day

Yesterday a customer was looking at a little dish of plastic level and compass rings we have displayed on our front desk. They are plastic - but working compasses and levels - and have been very popular over the years - especially after people see the sterling silver handmade level and compass rings we sell for quite a bit more - (plastic level ring,$8 - silver, $60) This customer was well dressed and carrying a bag stuffed with socks and tights from a neighboring store. She picked up a level ring and turned it over in her hand. "If this was $2, I'd buy it" she announced to me and all within earshot. And I'm sorry, but that comment is just plain annoying. It's fine to think that to yourself, it's kind of rude to announce it to me. Exceptions: you are under ten years old or you are truly destitute - neither of which appeared to be the case. We do sell some expensive items here at Joie, and if a customer looks at a $150 kaleidoscope, loves it, and says they would definitely buy it if it was $50 - it doesn't offend us at all - we understand. (and over the years we have always allowed people to buy an expensive thing that they loved on the installment plan. Which makes me think - too bad I didn't offer that option to the compass ring customer - $1 a week, 8 weeks, and it's yours!)

Friday, June 3, 2011

A Little Advice for "Etherington"

This advice is for would be scam artists in foreign countries. I know you're not likely to be reading this blog . . . but, I have just a bit of advice for you nonetheless. First, when you make up a name - choose something a little less "unusual" than say . . . Etherington Parton. Second, don't ask if we take credit cards. All store websites with things to sell take credit cards. And 99.9% of legitimate customers know this - or figure it out by actually reading our website policies. And last, do not end your inquiry with this phrase: "I await your urgent response so we can proceed." I have never received a legitimate order that ended that way, and I have received a lot of order inquiries And I have received a number of inquiries where my "urgent" response is requested. None one has ever turned out to be legit - so it just screams "I am a scam artist." Etherington, if you are an actual would be buyer, you will already have received my polite but no nonsense response to your inquiry. I haven't heard back from you though, so I guess the whole matter turned out to be less urgent than you led me to believe !