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.

Wednesday, May 29, 2013

Quotation Books

We here at Joie de Vivre love a good book of quotations, and among our all time favorites are three books by Richard Kehl, that we have been selling for years and years: Silver Departures, It Takes A Long Time to Become Young, and Love Letters to the Universe. He is a collage artist and teacher, and has a knack for finding quotations you have not encountered a million times. I frequently pick up one of his books just to read a page or two, and while doing just that, found this optimistic quote on meaning from an extremely unlikely source — Francis Bacon. Francis Bacon, the artist — and if you've ever seen his work, you'll be aware that it does not generally make one smile. His quote:
"There it is. I don't believe in anything, but I'm always glad to wake up in the morning. It doesn't depress me. I'm never depressed. My basic nervous system is filled with this optimism. It's mad, I know, because it's optimism about nothing. I think of life as meaningless, and yet it excites me. I always think something marvelous is going to happen."
It makes me happy to think that despite those tortured artworks, Francis Bacon still feels this way. Thank you Francis Bacon, and thank you Richard Kehl!

Friday, May 17, 2013

Please Find Attached Our Event Flyer!

We get a lot of donation requests. From schools, advocacy organizations, art centers, you name it. Almost all of the organizations very worthy ones and we like to help out as much as we can. We must have given away hundreds of things for auctions and door prizes over the years. But opening an email titled "donation request" this morning it struck me how impersonal the way of soliciting these donations has become over the years. Initially, it was almost always done like this: a customer of ours, who we knew, would ask us if we would consider donating to something that he/she was involved with. We would talk about it and find something for them. These were people we saw on a regular basis - they were patrons of our store. Over the last few years in particular, requests have become very official - form letters send often to lots of local businesses via email. The cause may be worthy, but we don't know the person asking for the donation. And I'm realizing that it makes me feel a little - used, somehow. I prefer the personal approach. Of course, I donate to national organizations and causes where I don't know the people involved personally. And of course, we do still get requests from customers we know. And I know everyone's busy and harried and trying to be efficient. But the flood of requests from people we don't know, somehow doesn't feel right. (A smiley face in an email is not the same as an actual smile!) In any case, when we say yes, at least they have to physically come in to the store to pick up the donation. Maybe some of them will stick around and become customers. We hope so.

Saturday, May 11, 2013

Oh .. .. from Joie de Vivre? Hi !

We carry a lot of different items here at Joie de Vivre. It's a lot to keep track of, and we are thus almost always out of some of said items. And of course, as the laws of the universe would have it, as soon as you are out of something is the time that a customer walks in and asks for it. This is all a rather long winded way of saying that we wind up taking customers names and phone numbers and calling them when an item comes in. We can email too of course, but a lot of people just give us their phone number. Depending on what it is, the item wanted may return in a few days, a few weeks, or even a few months, but no matter how long, we will still call. And I've noticed something over the last five or ten years. Most people are not friendly these days when they answer the phone. Many could almost be described as hostile, their hello conveying something along the lines of "who are you and you better have an excellent reason for bothering me!" When I identify myself as calling from Joie about an item they were interested in, their tone changes to normal friendly human being. That's what getting hundreds of unsolicited sales calls will do to you - turn you unfriendly and suspicious, I guess. I understand, but it's kind of sad.

Monday, May 6, 2013

Before and After

Yesterday a customer came up to the counter to buy some cards, and pulled out a bag she had bought here. It was - very well used. I asked her how long she'd had it and the question elicited a heartfelt statement about how much she loved this bag, plus, my answer: two years. She told me she liked it so much she had bought a spare to replace it when it had really come to the end of its useful life. She kindly gave me permission to photograph it and I present it here - evidence that people really do use our products. And also as a testament to the wonderfulness of its makers, one of our all time favorite companies, Blue Q! Their bags are made of 95% post consumer content - and then that recyled content goes on to provide happiness for a good two years at least. What could be better than that?