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, December 31, 2012

Happy New Year from Disco Buddha

We won this Buddha in a raffle at the New York Gift Show . . . . entered under slight duress, but threw in our card, and were rather surprised to have him show up a few months later. We've become quite attached to the way he reflects light, and he's been gracing the blogger's living room for the last month or so. When the light hits him during the day it's really amazing. We decided to go for a change of pace for our New Year's window - simple and silver - so stop by and admire him for yourself - he'll be here for the next few weeks. And we wish a happy, healthy, fun, and satisfying 2013 to all. May we all come through the inevitable challenges with our spirits, hearts, and joie intact!

Monday, December 24, 2012

I Don't Have to Work Tomorrow?

The Joie blogger is quite excited that - tomorrow will be her first day off in - six weeks! Plans definitely include sleeping a bit later than usual (no really young children involved in this particular celebration!) It's been the usual crazy whirlwind . . . and we've enjoyed seeing many of our customers who, like Christmas, come but once a year. (and "we" would like to acknowledge that we're aware that we shift somewhat often and somewhat erractically between "she" "I" and "we" when writing this blog - tonight, we plead fatigue!) (And, said blogger would also like to acknowledge that it might be possible to work less during this season and that working every day has become a habit that is difficult but could be possible to break.) Despite the grueling hours, we enjoyed a lot of things about the season - our wonderful customers, the wonderful people who return to work for just a few weeks in December, the wonderful people who work throughout the year . . . . and now, the wonderful opportunity to do nothing more than relax and be with family tomorrow. Thank you to all for making our existence possible, and "we" wish you all a happy and relaxing holiday tomorrow !

Monday, December 17, 2012

Midnight Madness !

The Joie blogger is tired - because the Joie blogger has not gotten much sleep in the last few days. Our extended December hours and last weekend's Midnight Madness are to blame! We had a tradition with our beloved neighborhood store, Susanna, of hosting a little holiday party for employees and a few friends a week or so before Christmas that many years ago morphed into the idea of having a shopping party and inviting customers to shop - with wine, cookies and a more festive atmosphere than the typical crowded Saturday day - until midnight. Louder music, slap happy staff, and also a guest appearance by our one night a year much loved helper, Joe D! None of us remembers exactly how long ago this started, but it's been well over 15 years now. And we have some regular late night shoppers who show up faithfully every year. But by the time we get to bed, it's quite late . .. and then we get up and do it again - so. .. let's just say we are looking forward to sleeping in on Christmas Day! And, perhaps we will see you in the last, mad, week before that happy day.

Monday, December 10, 2012

Joie . . . de Foie? ?

It's the busy holiday season, and we feel like we have about twenty more things to do than we can possibly do - every single hour. Naturally, this kind of chaos can result in mistakes; the incorrectly added sales slip, the invoice that winds up in the trash instead of the "to be paid" file, the item left out of a bag, the forgotten phone call - etc! The last few years, due to our website, we've also had a lot more internet sales to keep track of. This evening I got a call from a gentleman with a heavy French accent. He said he was having trouble with his computer, had placed an order with us, and wanted to know if we had shipped it, as he was unable to check online. I took his name, and asked him what the item he had ordered was. "A case of foie gras," he began, and I instantly realized, much to my relief, that we were innocent of all charges. There is a French food and housewares catalogue called Joie de Vivre, and people often find us when looking for them, because we are That name taken, they took but we are the first Joie de Vivre found when googling. I explained to the gentleman that he had the wrong Joie. "Well, can you give me their phone number?" he asked, "my computer is not working." I suggested perhaps he had a friend or acquaintance with a computer? He seemed a bit put out that we were not the Joie he wanted and I mentioned that I didn't even approve of foie gras. "I know, I know," he told me. "But I'm French," he continued, "and we eat everything." We said our goodbyes, and maybe twenty minutes later the phone rang. Someone else picked it up and I heard her telling someone - presumably the friend of said gentleman - to trying googling And so it goes. At least it wasn't our mistake. And, just to reassure you all, we will do anything to fix a mistake, never fear!

Tuesday, December 4, 2012

Eiffel Towers ! ! Lots of Them ! !

We get these beautiful Austrian snowglobes every year for Christmas, but some of them are not overtly Christmasy, like this beautiful Eiffel Tower. We ran out of them last year in February, and spent the last 10 months trying to get more. It's true they can't ship them from Austria when it's cold, because if the water freezes - the glass breaks. But once April rolled around we thought they would arrive soon, and so did the customers who had ordered them off our website. (Evidently we are the only store in the whole United States who sells them - or so you would think!) Anyway, the distributor thought she could get them for us by May . . . . then June . .. then August .. .then October. The special orders piled up and it started to seem like an episode of the Twilight Zone - the distributor, who had been working with the company for years, could get no response from them, no reason why they would not ship her the globes. It was very very frustrating for all concerned; the customers who wanted them, we Joie de Vivre denizens, our poor distributor who received several anguished emails from us . . . but - today was the red letter day. They arrived, and are already winging their way to homes across the country from New Orleans to Nebraska to California and more. We were happy enough to break out the fake champagne (not so "joie de vive" but we had a lot of work to do) So all is good- though there is this little question in the back of our minds . . . is this going to happen again next year?

Monday, December 3, 2012

It's Crazy Making Time !

Keeping track of inventory and staffing during December is - just plain a challenge. One day it's crazy busy and we need at least four people to carry on, then the next day is suddenly dead and two are more than enough. But - you never know - so how many people do you ask to work? And, we ordered six porcelain Rob Ryan plates last apring. They weren't expensive - $24 - but exactly one sold in the first six months of their life here at Joie. Needless to say, we did not reorder them. Then, yesterday, someone bought the remaining five. The law of retail says that soon, someone will come in and be desperately disappointed that we have no stock. Or - you call a company to get 6 dozen more of something that's been selling well and they say - oh that's discontinued. Or, as happened to us recently, the company, who had a giant booth at the New York Toy Fair this very year, has just gone out of business. They have a message on their answering machine saying leave a message, we'll call you back - but they don't, and their emails bounce back, and their website is gone - it's enough to make a retailer crazy! But - we've survived 28 years of this - we have a feeling we'll survive Christmas #29 at Joie de Vivre as well!