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.
Saturday, March 31, 2012
Okay, so most of us have by now heard the remark made by would be President Mitt Romney's aide concerning campaign strategy: "I think you hit a reset button for the fall campaign. Everything changes. It's almost like an Etch A Sketch. You can kind of shake it up, and we start all over again." It wasn't a particularly smart or considered statement, but one good thing - it brought the Ohio Art Company, makers of Etch-a-Sketch, a LOT of free publicity. We have been selling etch-a-sketches at Joie de Vivre for over 25 years, and did not notice huge rush in the week after this statement, but guess what? Some people did. Amazon reported that their sales of the classic toy increased 1556% in a matter of a few days. (Of course I wonder why none of those people bought them from us, but that's another story, more about the change in American shopping habits than Etch-a-Sketch publicity.) Anyway, I would like to give a shout out to the Ohio Art Company here. They are a pleasure to work with and very very friendly to small business - I can call them and order a dozen etch-a-sketches and they will send them the next day. (Unlike some toy manufacturers I might mention - okay, I'll say it - how about $5000 worth of Magic 8 Balls as a minimum order from Hasbro?)(That's a LOT of Magic 8 Balls!!) So, we're happy to see Ohio Art Co. and the Etch-a-Sketch get some free publicity . . . and hey, a little more flack for our ex-governor is okay with us too!
Wednesday, March 28, 2012
Sunday, March 25, 2012
A mother was in with two young daughters today, during a quiet spell on an otherwise busy Sunday. The youngest daughter - maybe three? or four years old? - soon informed me that "I have $5" and pulled a crumpled bill out of her pocket to illustrate her wealth. She asked me if we had anything that cost $5 in the store. I showed her our section of small toys - all under $5 and she started to browse. In the meantime, her older sister was peppering me with questions like "where is the penguin race?" (an item I had moved since her last visit) and "what is this?" - "how does this work?" They spend a fair amount of time looking around, playing with a few things, while Mom browsed the grown-up sections The girl with $5 finally picked out an elephant eraser that cost $1.50 but seemed a little confused about it not costing exactly $5. Her mother and I explained that she could buy it, and I would actually give her money back. (Her mother had told me she was trying to get the girls to understand money.) She sat on the floor, digesting this information, and then suddenly asked me "What did you get for Christmas?" She didn't seem too impressed by my answer: "books, and some hand knit socks, and a sweater." (I made up the sweater part because my mind had suddenly gone blank.) She looked at me sadly. "Your birthday will be coming soon!" she suddenly said. I allowed that this was true. "Christmas is coming again too," she added. I agreed with her again, (though thinking to myself, thank goodness it won't be here anytime soon.) Then, Mom said it was time to go, so the elephant and the $5 bill were thrust on to the counter. I wrote out a sales slip for $1.50 plus 9 cents tax, and handed her her change. I think she kind of felt she hadn't spent anything as it appeared she was getting back more than she had given me - three bills and a bunch of coins - and, an elephant! It was a very fun half hour for me.
Tuesday, March 20, 2012
Saturday, March 17, 2012
I was in New York a few weeks ago and stopped in to visit Eataly - an amazing if slightly overwhelming Italian food emporium on 23rd Street, owned by restauranteurs Mario Batali and Joe Bastianich. The seared bitter greens at the vegetable bar alone ensure my return. Actually, I'm kind of glad I don't live close enough to be constantly going there - as you might imagine, Manhattan emporiums full of exotic delights are not generally known for their bargain prices. And so many treats and temptations in this one. (and, to be fair, all of the pricing is not completely over the top.) Anyway, to get back to the matter at hand - i.e. this blog post - they had a sign in the Expresso Bar that I particularly liked! And . . here it is!
Tuesday, March 13, 2012
Saturday, March 10, 2012
In an attempt to improve the Spanish I learned my first year of college - and while waitressing in a French Hungarian restaurant with Peruvian cooks - I took four semesters of Spanish at the Harvard Extension School a few years ago. I really enjoyed the classes and felt almost reasonably fluent for awhile there. Then I moved on to other subjects and slowly my newly acquired vocabulary seemed to fade away. If you asked me, say, how to conjugate irregular verbs in the future tense, I would most likely look at you blankly even though I received an A on that exam. Problem - I rarely get a chance to speak Spanish. But sometimes I do. A few days ago an older man was in the store and I, the resident language expert (my French is pretty decent as befits the owner of "Joie de Vivre") - was called out to help. He was from Chile, and interested in the KitKat Clock. And we wound up communicating almost entirely in Spanish. It's not quite like riding a bicycle, but it does come back, and it's so fun and satisfying to be able to help in another language. And I learned a few new words too - like "pila" is the preferred word for batteries in Chile. So . . . viene a Joie de Vivre para hablar conmigo! Ou - nous pouvons parlor francais! ou . . essayer . . .