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.

Friday, September 30, 2011

Truth? In Advertising?

We briefly sold a crazy top last year - it had laser lights than made circles of light around it when it was spinning, and it played a wacky version of the "Beverly Hills Cop" theme. It was very popular, but we decided to stop selling it because the batteries were not replaceable - once it wore down, it was basically a throwaway. This made us very sad, because we kind of loved the crazy thing. Then, at the August Gift Show I found a very similar top - and was excited to learn that the batteries were replaceable. They just arrived at the store a week or so ago and we decided to include the happy news in our October newsletter. We went to the company's web site to get a picture, and read a description of said top that ended: "All that spinning generates energy that powers the music and lights… without the need for batteries." Oh really? It plays music and lights up without batteries? I knew there were batteries in the top so I emailed the company to find out why they advertised the top this way. I wrote, " if there is no need for batteries - why did ours come with batteries?" A day or two passed, and we received their answer - which I present to you word for word: "Yes, the statement is correct. Technically, NO BATTERIES are required because they are included and sealed in at the factory." I don't know about you blog readers, but I call this - let's just say - misleading at best! (but regardless of their silly claim, the top is great!)

Monday, September 26, 2011


Because of the nature of retail, we tend to have somewhat younger staff working here at Joie de Vivre. And many of them are single when they begin - but that often doesn't last. I've been to several weddings of employees or former employees in our pre-blog days and I just went to one this weekend. The bride and groom were radiant, it was an outdoor wedding, by the bay, and despite a forecast of 80% chance of rain, it did not rain. The bride's family all live quite far away so I had not met most of them, and when I did meet them, and they found out that I owned the store where the bride worked for several years (& still kindly fills in when we need someone) - they reacted instantly. "I've wanted to meet you!" "She loves you!" "You've been so nice to her" etc etc. I told them how completely mutual it was -I loved having her work here and only wished that it could be more of a "real job" so she could have stayed. Anyway, it was very nice to be so enthusiastically welcomed, and it was a wonderful event. It's something I never gave much thought to in the beginning of Joie- that I would get to be such a part of people's lives who work here. Hmm. .. . I wonder who's next?

Friday, September 23, 2011

The Poetry of Joie

I am taking a poetry writing course at a "local university" (somehow writing Harvard sounds slightly pretentious) and as I was looking through the semester's syllabus, I saw that we are going to do a segment on found poetry. I might just turn in some of Joie de Vivre's sales slips. As I was reading through the previous few days slips this morning I found some candidates: Slip One: positive spray, chocolate, one pencil, scrabble. Slip two: Lost lions, point, keep calm. Slip three: Eiffel cookie, gumby, fairy. And slip four: tooth erasers, tiny creatures, tin pins, moon magnet. I think these are kind of poetic and I love the combinations of items that can appear on any one sales slip. Thinking about it, they also might be good prompts for short stories . . .

Sunday, September 18, 2011


No, I'm not practicing for the upcoming International Talk Like a Pirate Day - though that day is tomorrow and it can't hurt to get a few good Arrrs in the day before. No, my ARRR is really more of an ARRRGH. My telephone rang at 9 am this morning. I was drinking coffee and reading the Sunday papers and thought who can that be? It was a bit early for a friend to call. Family emergency? Someone with really good news? An invitation to a delicious brunch? Nope - it was Earthlink's financial office, calling to find out why they had not received Joie de Vivre's check for $40 that was due on Friday. As it happens, that check had been mailed out. But even if it hadn't - Joie de Vivre has had an Earthlink account for over 5 years. Our account has never been more than a few days - that's days - not months - in arrears - and our monthly bill is never more than $40. I could not believe they would call me at my house at 9 am on Sunday about this. And Earthlink is another one of those companies that if you are having a problem with their service, you can spend hours and hours and hours just trying to get through to a human being who can actually help you. Perhaps they should be taking the money they spend hiring people to harass accounts in good standing in their homes and switch those funds and people to their customer service account. Just saying . . . .

Tuesday, September 13, 2011

Happy Birthday !

Two women were in shopping late yesterday, looking for a birthday gift for a women. As they wandered and we chatted, it gradually emerged that their aunt, the birthday girl, was turning 90. Then they said, "you'd probably know her, she used to come in here with her sister all the time And they were both really tall." It must have been the family resemblance, because a certain pair of sisters instantly popped into my mind. "Did they have kind of - unusual voices?" I asked. "Yes" was the answer, and now I was sure of their identity. They were a delightful pair, would come in and spend an hour every so often, laughing about things, usually buying a few small items. And their voices were indeed very distinctive - I'm not quite sure how to describe them. I hadn't seen either of them for awhile. Now that Joie de Vivre has been here for over 27 years, some of our customers have grown old and we worry when we realize that we haven't seen an older customer in awhile. So, it was wonderful to hear that this woman is 90 and going strong, living alone, driving, and as with it as ever. And she has two very thoughtful and loving nieces, and iis going to receive a fabulous piece of jewelry for her 90th birthday!

Sunday, September 11, 2011

Where Were You?

I was at the Jersey Shore on vacation. Didn't even know that the attacks had happened until late morning when I happened to glance at the television in our rented house. It was completely surreal being away from home, the stunningly beautiful day at the beach with only my two year old niece to bring us an illusion of normalcy as she of course had no idea what was going on. Though we couldn't get through on the phone to New York, we could reach Boston, and I told the two people working to close the store - it just seemed like the thing to do. Of course later would come our president's exhortations to defeat the terrorists by shopping - and people did - I think we had the best fall and holiday season we had ever had in 2001. I felt like we had a stronger than usual obligation to provide a little bit of lightness for our customers in those very difficult months. I hope we did.

Thursday, September 8, 2011

T Shirt Gallery

Our ongoing T Shirt series has been rather neglected lately, but I just saw this one - love it!

Wednesday, September 7, 2011

Frustration Postscript - aka Google Part 2

Miracle of Miracles!! Joy in Joieville! We finally received an email from an actual person at Google today, (and are cynically wondering if the bad press in the New York Times prompted them to start dealing with these issues) Whatever the case, "Bryan" said that they were aware of the incorrect listing and would fix it. His exact words: "You should see the information appearing correctly within four weeks' time. If, in four weeks, you are still experiencing this problem, please respond to this email." Okay, I am happy that finally we got a response from an actual person. But it boggles my mind that it could take Google up to 4 weeks to fix two lines of text. Isn't the computer age supposed to make things . . . . you know . . . . happen faster?

Tuesday, September 6, 2011

Shared Frustration

I was looking at the New York Times this morning and saw an article about Google listing businesses as closed that were in fact, still open. The main point of the article was how difficult it was for the owners of these businesses to correct this information on Google. I read with an increasing sense of solidarity, and at the end, was moved to add my own comment which I will just duplicate below. But - come on, Google - it should NOT be this difficult to contact with you and it should NOT be difficult to change incorrect information. And after spending hours and hours and hours trying to deal with this on line, it should also be possible to access a live, breathing, accountable human being !! Live up to your own motto - Don't be Evil !! My comment:

I own a retail store in Cambridge, MA. We have been open for 27 years and have always had the exact same hours. For some reason, Google recently posted incorrect hours on our listing, and customers have been showing up expecting us to be open later than we really are. We have spent at least one full business week attempting to fix this - to simply, as the owners of the business, get them to change our listed hours to our actual hours - and have been unable to do so. It's outright Kafka-esque and we really are at a loss as to what the next step should be.

Thursday, September 1, 2011

If Joie de Vivre Sold Shoes . . .

If we did sell shoes . . . . we would definitely be selling these !!