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Tuesday, December 11, 2007

Shopping, Local Style.

As you may know, I love to shop local. I do shop at chains, but I never enjoy it as much and I feel a little bit dirty when I do. One thing that's great about staying out of the big box stores is the convenience factor. I have a toddler, a very naughty toddler, a toddler who is so naughty that his grandmother wouldn't keep him for longer than twenty minutes today. He breaks stuff and laughs about it. And while you're gluing it back together, he breaks more stuff. But then he makes the cutest face ever, so you can't get mad. Guh!

Yesterday, naughty toddler in tow, I realized I needed to get bookstore gift cards to give to my big boys' school. I had a little debate with myself in the car, not out loud, just in my head. Not that I have voices in my head... Anyhow, I wasn't sure if the teachers would prefer cards for a big box bookstore, where they might be able to get more for the same amount, or if they would share my view that it's crucial to support what may be the last independent bookseller in our town, The Happy Bookseller. I love that place. The staff there is actually familiar with things like books. I called the store, warned them of my toddler problem and asked if they could have the gift cards ready, so I could run in and pick them up. That way, my toddler problem wouldn't become theirs. Of course they agreed. Can you imagine calling some big store and asking for that?

"Sure," the unlucky employee who picked up the phone would answer. "Just come to any desk."

"But," you would plead, envisioning a long trek around the store and a longer wait in line, during which the bad toddler would chew through forty dollars worth of bookmarks and a bag of coffee beans, "Can you just have them ready when I come in?"

"Jennifer" would finally agree, just to get you off of the phone, and it wouldn't be done when you got there. In fact, Jennifer wouldn't even exist.

"Jennifer C. or Jennifer S.?," the counter person would ask. "Or was it Jenny? Or Jeni?"

Thus, I decided that the Happy Bookseller was the best choice. I wanted to give something the school could use, without compromising my sanity or values. I called them and talked to Marsha, who totally sympathized. Perhaps she once had a bad toddler or perhaps she had seen one in the store before and was grateful for the opportunity to avoid a big scene. I went in, got my gift cards and ran into my ninth grade English teacher, who I always thought was amazing. I credit him with the fact that I didn't flunk out of college; I never could take tests, but he taught me how to write great papers, so I got by on those. Thank you, Mr. Gasque*! Mrs. Gasque told me how cute Baby J was and we were in and out so quickly that he didn't have much of a chance to humiliate me. Yay!

Next door to the Happy Bookseller is Be Beep, a toy store. I tried to go in with Baby J, but that was a bust and we had to leave. Today, I went back. Once again, I called ahead, told them what I needed and they promised to have it ready and waiting, which they did. They also had this, which I didn't buy, but I might have to go back and get. I don't quite understand it, but it looks cool. And I was thrilled to see that they now carry a huge selection of Legos, including Mindstorms, which are supposed to be hard to find and in demand. I'm thrilled that O. hasn't asked for those, because they're crazy expensive and I hate to see him disappointed, but if you are searching for one, I suggest you buy it there. It'll be easy and they'll actually wrap it for you. Frankly, it looked really cool and I'm glad O. didn't ask for it, because I would have been so tempted...

They haven't advertised this yet (you heard it here first!), but they had tons of other Lego stuff, none of which can be found at Target. I know this, because I've checked Target several times and felt more panicked each time, when they still didn't have what I needed. One year, I resorted to overpaying for something on EBay, because I messed up and didn't buy it in time. Be Beep had both of the Lego things my big boys wanted! Hooray! My mom wanted to give those to them and one of the nice ladies called her so she could give her credit card number over the phone and save a trip. Do you think they would do that at Wal-Mart? And gift wrap it? I think not!

In other local shopping news, Jackie at Kicks is offering twenty percent off all purchases in December, for a good cause. The Children's Garden is a daycare for the children of homeless families or other families in crisis. If you bring in something for them, you get the discount. They need things like diapers, paper products, children's underwear and socks, soap and laundry detergent. And, if you like, you can choose to donate your percentage off to the Children's Garden. What a great excuse to buy shoes! Another thing they're doing at Kicks that made me really happy is providing reusable bags with handles, instead of paper bags. The salesperson made sure to let me know the bag was washable, which tells me they're really making an effort to encourage reuse. I'm guessing the bags don't cost much more than those fancy shopping bags you get and throw out. I have a similar one from Rosewood Florist. How awesome would it be if every retailer followed their example? How refreshing to shop in a place owned by someone who so obviously cares about our community.

Namasté, y'all!

* And, Mr. Gasque, please don't blame yourself for the quality or lack thereof of my current writing. I've had three children and lost numerous brain cells since I was in your class.

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

This is somewhat off topic, but I have to wonder why those shoes are popcorn green? What's green about popcorn? That's kind of like naming a color lime beige.