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.

Thursday, October 24, 2013

Would You Put Me on Hold - Please?

Generally speaking, without exception, I hate being put on hold.  Not because I'm so annoyed that I have to wait half a minute - I'm not that self important - but because hold music and/or sales pitches are awful, annoying and leave me wanting to scream.  Without exception!  Except . . .  there is one company I call where I recently realized that I always find myself hoping they don't pick up the phone too soon. Because I love their hold tape.  And that company is called the Unemployed Philosopher's Guild.  Their tape is hilarious.  Last time I called, I mentioned this to them, and they asked if I would like to be put on hold at the end of the call.  I said yes, please! Their "operators" say things like "we're at the mercy of your bad attitude."  And "for a limited time, you can get 25 cents off your order - that's almost a quarter!"  And,  "Our motto can be boiled down to one word - Ultimate Maximum Satisfaction."  And "the customer is the one who comes to us for buying things"  (a variation on "the customer is always right.")  Then there's a bit where the operator starts repeating how "your call is important to us" and as she repeats it, she gets more and more emotional about how important it really is, especially since her boyfriend Michael left her, (they just wanted different things) until she's in tears.  So, I guess the moral of this  story is - never say "without exception!"

Saturday, October 19, 2013

Our Tribe

The Joie blogger has just returned from a few days in Vermont, engaging in the time honored tradition called "Leaf Peeping."  But another time honored tradition, and certainly one that helps the Vermont economy no small amount, is the tradition called shopping.  It's amazing how many cheddar cheese/maple syrup selling "country stores" there are.  But there are lots of lots of other gift shops too and all of them count heavily on leaf season.  It's interesting how easy it is to spot owner run stores - or to spot an owner.  Maybe it's just a case of takes one to know one - but I had a number of nice conversations with other small shopkeepers.  One of them asked me where I had bought my necklace, and when I told her I had a store, it turned out she had visited it on her last trip to Boston - that was fun. Her four year old daughter was helping out and proudly informed me that she wore size 4T.  And then there was the guy with the store full of Steiff plush animals, and Christmas pieces, Austrian pewter, Matroushkas, and lots of other enchanting things - some of which have been seen on the shelves of Joie.  He and his wife have run the store for 30 years - just a bit ahead of me.  And there was the guy who ran the birding store, who remembered us from last year, and remembered I owned a store and was happy to chat about displays and that bane of retailers everywhere, the assortment.  (Yellow maracas on special this week!)  Anyway, it really does feel like a tribe of sorts - the quirky, stubborn, still there small business owners of the world.  We may be slightly endangered these days - but it's nice to see the range - people just starting businesses and those who have been around for years.  I'm happy to have a tribe!

Monday, October 7, 2013

Our Money's Worth

Hello faithful readers - first, Joie de Blog would like to apologize for a seemingly increasingly lackadaisical attitude toward blogging.  Our apologies!  We've been rather preoccupied with our cash register.  Our register is a workhorse, purchased for $50 almost 30 years ago from a store on the next block that was going out of business.
It doesn't have a tape anymore, and it's very noisy - if you're on the phone and someone uses it, it makes it hard to hear.  On the other hand, we find it refreshingly retro - no beeping!  Anyway, a few weeks ago we noticed that the totals it was giving us at the end of the day were not lining up with the totals in our sales books.  It was off by a hundred dollars, then off by more.  We weren't sure what could be happening  and were pretty sure it was not human error.  Then after about a week of our totals being incorrect - it cured itself.  Waiting for things to fix themselves is our strongly preferred method of dealing with anything but all things do not come to those who wait or so we've observed.  So, it was very gratifying that our beloved register did in fact seem to heal itself.  We're very close to trusting it again.  Still - even if it had given up the ghost - 30 years of service for $50 - that's hard to beat!