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, November 30, 2012

Context is Everything

In most job situations, if an employee said "I found an arm" it would be cause for horror, fainting, calls to the police. Here at Joie de Vivre, such statements are received with a laugh and a "Oh, I think I know where that came from" - fill in the blank - the Marilyn Monroe magnetic paperdoll, the wind-up frog, the light up Santa Claus . .. the possibilities go on and on ! And just this very second, in a very cosmic twist - we have received a Waving Jubilee Queen of England - sans one arm !

Friday, November 23, 2012

Notes on Black Friday

The Joie de Vivre blogger feels that this whole Black Friday thing is getting seriously out of control. We noticed this year for the first time some of our suppliers websites - those with a retail arm - participating in some way with sales and promotions. And we noticed a chain store in Harvard Square offering 50% off ALL their merchandise the Wednesday before Thanksgiving, as well as Black Friday. This strikes us as a race to the bottom - which doesn't bode well for anyone. More sales and constant promotions, lower and lower prices - equals no profit for businesses already struggling to make ends meet. And we're honestly a little offended by American Express promoting "Small Business Saturday" - because far from supporting small business, they take a much higher percentage from small businesses than large ones, and a higher percentage than Mastercard and Visa. And because we believe in shopping small stores all the time, not just one day a year - as do most of our customers - for whom we gave sincere thanks yesterday before the Thanksgiving meal. A meal we did not exit early in order to shop! The day after Thanksgiving has been the traditional start of the holiday shopping season, albeit without sales, for years - the blogger, who has been in retail on and off since high school days remembers well. We believe the name Black Friday originated in the idea that that particular day was the day that put businesses into the black. But it's starting to seem more like the black death to us . . . . anyway, we apologize for the seriousness of this post, but after seeing a Youtube clip of people physically fighting over smart phones at Walmart, we felt impelled to comment. To end on a happier note, we hope our blog readers all had a wonderful Thanksgiving, and we hope to see you soon at Joie de Vivre, where it's small business day every day of the year!

Saturday, November 17, 2012

Mini Con-Artists !

The other afternoon we were standing around the desk - three of us, one customer, chatting about something, when a boy entered. He looked like your typical middle class kid, and was probably 11 or 12. He approached us, and asked if we had 85 cents which he needed for bus money. We were surprised. I, cynically, instantly thought of all the people on the street who had asked me for some exact amount of change that they needed to get the train home - especially the guy who after I gave him the money, headed off in the opposite direction of where he said he was going. We all looked at the kid for a bit, and one of us asked "well, what happened to your money?" I happened to be standing facing the street and noticed a taller boy looking into Joie intently and a bit impatiently - somehow I felt he was an accomplice. "Where do you live?" I inquired. The kid gave an address maybe ten blocks away. It was a perfectly nice day, so "Why don't you just walk?" was my next question, and he blushed, stammered a bit, and exited the store. We think they were junior con-artists, just trying it out. Would have liked to have followed them at a discreet distance to see what happened next but . . . got back to work instead!

Tuesday, November 13, 2012

No !

One of our most popular items for the last year is our No! button. It says "no!" in ten different voices and is kind of irresistible. We generally order them in batches of 3 dozen, and just unpacked a box yesterday. Last night, I was working at my desk, when I heard a voice coming faintly from the stockroom. "No!" it said, albeit in a rather muffled way. There was a pause - then I heard it again. It would stop for awhile, then start up again and soon I found myself standing in front of the 36 boxes, realizing that it's actually quite difficult to tell which box a sound is coming from. I picked up 6 boxes and then heard a "NO!" that clearly did not come from a box in my hand. So - that was the way to do it. I set them aside and waited. All was quiet. After waiting awhile I walked back to my desk - but of course it started up again. Went back but still did not find the culprit and it quieted down again. I left for the night, but when I sat down this morning, I heard it again. This time I found it and brought it to my desk where I decided to see how long it would be before it drove me crazy. Turns out - not long at all - soon I had to get my screwdriver and dismantle it. And a relative peace fell once again in the backroom of Joie de Vivre ! Will it last? Probably - no!

Wednesday, November 7, 2012

The Election is Over ! !

As you blog readers will know, we had a Halloween window featuring our two main Presidential hopefuls, dressed as Superman and Dracula. We took it out on November 1st - as partisan as we are, we didn't think it was appropriate for the actual election, but we kept the stand-up guys in the back of the store, thinking we could do something with Obama if he won. And - win he did ! He's back on the floor and we've been photographing customers with him all day. And Romney . . . we will remove his Dracula cape and he will be consigned to the cardboard dumpster of history . . . it sounds bad, we know, but it's probably the most dignified thing we can do - don't want to give the figure away and have him end up as a dartboard or anything . . .

Sunday, November 4, 2012

Blog Apology

Joie de Blog would like to apologize for not posting anything new this week . . . . between being glued to media for Hurricane Sandy coverage, and feeling anxiety about the election results on Tuesday, Joie just hasn't been thinking blog. Up here in our part of the world, damage from the hurricane was minimal - some downed trees, some power outages. But everyday we are reminded of just how major this storm was. Many of the companies we order from are based in Manhattan, and most of them are not up and running after a week. So, for instance, we're running out of our wonderful new Safari book, but Workman's phones are still not working. And we need a postcard order, but ditto for Fotofolio. It's interesting how when a "weather event" doesn't really hit your part of the world, and things return quickly to normal, how easy it is to forget that life is far from back to normal for everyone. As for the election - that's a whole other kettle of fish . . . and we'll no doubt have something to say about that soon. To be honest, we're hoping we can resurrect the Superman part of our Halloween window for a few days . . . . we'll see . . . . .