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 30, 2013

Spring is Busting Out All Over!

Happy Easter, Happy Spring Solstice, Happy Weekend from us to you !

Tuesday, March 26, 2013

The Terrors of Pleasure

The title of the late and much lamented Spaulding Gray's monologue really resonates with us at this time of year. We know that jelly beans are not what he was thinking of when he chose that particular title - but it works for us in the few weeks that lead up to Easter. We have always felt that it was a nice thing to offer our customers seasonal candy at certain times of the year - candy corns at Halloween, chocolate kisses for Valentine's Day, and, jelly beans for Easter. And we've discovered you can eat quite a lot of chocolate and be fine - after all, it is a not a seasonal, but an essential part of a good diet, so we are accustomed to it. Not so for jelly beans. Those beautiful little candies are pure sugar. And so easy to eat. And, one doesn't generally eat just one jelly bean, one must take one of each of one's favorite colors . . . and then perhaps another round and so forth. By the end of the week just a few jelly beans can bring on an instant headache. But - we're willing to suffer for you, our beloved customers . . . we just hope you'll come in and help us out a little. (Especially customers that like black and green jelly beans) And somehow, we know we'll manage to forget that sugar headache by the time the bowl of candy corns goes out in October!

Wednesday, March 20, 2013

Sign of the Times

The stock market may be at an all time high - or it was, last time we checked - but we don't think that's a sure sign that our actual economy is getting better, and here is an example of why. Joie de Vivre has been in business for almost twenty nine years so we'd had a lot of experience with placing and receiving orders. Back in the old days, we would actually call our orders in or mail them to our various suppliers. This generally took a lot longer than faxing or emailing - mail, obviously took a couple days just to arrive, and a phone conversation could meander off in any one of many different directions. (Fear of pronouncing Joie de Vivre and an attempt at a phonetic lesson being high on that list!) But today, we don't pick up the phone that often; we email or we fax. And back in the booming economy days, we often waited several weeks for our order to arrive - companies were busy. But times have changed: we placed an order this morning and received the shipping confirmation a few hours later. Which means people are sitting around waiting for something to do. This is particularly true for suppliers with manufactured goods - our craft accounts - people who actually make their products themselves are not close to this fast. Anyway - this means if you don't want the order instantly, you'd better put a future ship date on it. Much of the time I'm glad to get what we need quickly - but on the other hand, I do wish people were busier - i.e. doing better with their businesses. It seems to me that would be a very positive economic sign.

Monday, March 18, 2013

Customer Rituals

Ever so often we become aware that we're seeing a lot of a particular customer. Actually, "customer" in this case may not be quite the right word as this type of customer is generally not known to buy anything. But someone will come in, head for an object - our fortune telling Q cards, the Magic 8 Ball or often the big xyllophone that's on our front counter. These people rarely look at us or respond when we say hello but suddenly we realize that we're seeing this person almost every day. And that they're doing the same thing every day. Right now, we have a gentleman who comes in every morning, plays the xyllophone just a bit, wanders to the back of the store, and puts on the hologram eyeglasses, then takes them off and leaves. It's been at least a month or more, and actually, he now occasionally responds to our hello. But I'm also sure that eventually he'll just stop this particular ritual, maybe find himself a new one, and we won't see him again. Just another funny and slightly odd little part of the retail biz . . . .

Monday, March 11, 2013


Do you know what our post title means? I didn't - until yesterday, when I read a piece about digital etiquette in the Times. It was interesting. The writer and his friends were complaining about things that are kind of vestigially polite - leftovers from the olden days if you will - like a final email saying "thank you" after a back and forth about something - or even worse - leaving a voice mail instead of texting. Another complaint was people emailing to ask questions about something they could easily find out themselves - hence lmgtfy. It means "let me google that for you" and someone has made it into a website. Although I find it hard to sympathize with people who complain about someone saying thank you - I think lmgtfy is very funny. And when I think about it I realize our store telephone rings much less frequently these last few years - because if people want to know our hours, locations, whatever - they just google. However. That said. We here at Joie de Vivre are happy to answer questions in person, by email or by telephone. We like talking to people and we like the sound of the human voice. And emails saying "thank you"? Guilty as charged. And phone messages? Maybe not as often anymore - we do admit that texting is pretty practical and easy - but if you leave a message for us - we will listen to it and answer it. Who says you can't be old fashioned and modern at the same time?

Monday, March 4, 2013

Our Own Product!

Our very own. Or as they say in the catalogues - "ours exclusively!" We have been selling spills for many years and they remain amazingly popular. Hardly a week goes by that a person or two does not approach our desk with a grave, concerned expression and pointing at some countertop, tell us that someone has spilled a cup of coffee. And these people are 99% adults - that's how convincing some of the spills are. Sometimes we ask them to pick it up - and they initially look at us like - are you crazy? You can't pick up a cup of spilled coffee . . . . and then they see us smiling and begin to suspect. Anyway, we recently ordered a couple of glasses of spilled milk, and then - this idea just came to us. It's perfect consolation for all of us who've ever made a mistake . . . . or broken something, or forgot an important date . . . at least those of us old enough to remember the original expression!