Monday, September 28, 2009

Instant walls: updated view of new Kohl's in Bend

We're watching the minute-by-minute progress of the new Kohl's in Bend; easy because it's right across the street from our little Pomegranate. Last week (Tuesday?) I posted a photo of the walls going up. By Friday evening (when this shot was taken) it looked like they were almost done with the whole perimeter. I love how Pilot Butte pokes its head out of the top; makes the whole thing look more like a temple than a department store (that view of the Butte is probably going away as soon as the roofing goes up).

Friday, September 25, 2009

Tray crazy

I love trays. A good one is useful and beautiful: as art on the wall, or for carrying tea in the morning (or cocktails at 6). Our new collection at Pomegranate is one of the lines I was most excited about at market. Original art done in a giclée then made into a gorgeous tray, lacquered, heat and moisture resistant, and just plain old fabulous. The only problem is how to choose...

Thursday, September 24, 2009

An across-the-street update on Kohl's

Let's see: took this shot at the end of the work day on Sept. 22. Across the street from Pomegranate (behind Macy's), Kohl's is emerging quickly. I thought it a little visually odd that they left that strut thingie hanging there from the crane, but I'm sure they know what they're doing...

Today (two days later) around noon I looked out the door and saw that the crane is gone, and the walls are up! An amazing bit of speed building and engineering (walls were poured flat, then hoisted upright). I'll take a picture tomorrow to show the structure as it now looks. Apparently they're planning on a spring 2010 opening, but the way this thing is coming together, it seems like they could be open for Christmas. Just saying.

Tuesday, September 22, 2009

Stealing: part duh

The weirdness never stops. In the news today (well, yesterday) was a story about a San Diego couple who steal from stores for a living, reselling on eBay everything from toys to swords (how the heck do you steal a sword?). Apparently, they approached the Dr. Phil show to talk about their thefts, and admitted on national TV to transporting stolen goods across state lines, which attracted the attention of the feds. Yep, arrested and indicted now. And pleading not guilty... Sounds like they're trying to shift the blame onto mental problems (kleptomania, because utter stupidity alone is not a defense), but they clearly were totally prepared for and focused on their crime strategies. Proud of it, too. Just watch these videos where they talk about how "successful" they are.

Weird note number one: their dream was to open a toy store one day with all their purloined loot (we're talking a LOT of stolen merchandise, more than 500 boxes alone at the time of their arrest). I did a little coffee spit take on that one. Tried to imagine them as shopkeepers, staying up all night worrying about expenses. And then they realize: "Oh wait! We don't have expenses; we stole all our inventory!" Or greeting families who come in for the good old-fashioned fun of choosing a toy or game for their children ("Welcome to our bastion of family values! Let us know if we can help you steal, I mean find something.") What would they do if someone tried to make off with some of "their" merchandise? Scream bloody murder? Or just say, "Dude. I understand. Just go ahead and shove those games down your pants, because we didn't pay for them anyway."

Weird and tragic note number two: they took their three pre-school children along with them and used them as decoys to seem more "normal." That part leaves me speechless.

Friday, September 18, 2009

Self-appointed grammar cop

I have a hard time with typos, bad punctuation, and misspellings. Or long paragraphs set in all caps. It's all fingernails on a chalkboard for me, hence my irritating habit of pointing out every bad sign or TV graphic gone wrong.

One thing I'm trying to cut down on is exclamation points. Lately, I've been working on lots of verbiage for the shop (website stuff, email newsletters, pr announcements) and find that I have to go back through it and get rid of the screamers. It's just so easy to use one for emphasis!

Can't bring this up without remembering my old-school journalism professor. He was a true crusty curmudgeon, and in that cocky way students can have, I disliked him at first. It only took a few classes (and a few humbling experiences) to start to love him.

We sat at old wooden desks and used old manual typewriters. Manual! You had to punch so hard on those keys your fingers would ache by the end of class. He would give us an assignment and 20 minutes or so to write a story. When the deadline came, he'd walk around and literally rip the paper out of our typewriters. No mercy. If we were mid-sentence, we failed. The presses wait for almost no one.

Some of his words of wisdom:
  • There are three dang "E"s in "cemetery." (Assuming that if we ever did make it as reporters, our first job would probably be in obits.)
  • Drop the screamers (exclamation points).
  • Before you start inserting apostrophes after "it," think of the San Francisco ice cream bar: It's It. [Do they still make those? Ed.]
  • Listen to "Ed." He/she is your friend. My husband is my best editor. He especially loves it at 11pm when he's drifting off to sleep and I make him come into the office to read something I'm about to send off. Eh, it's only ten steps away.

Yep, I'm from the ditto machine generation. Too bad I'm starting to sound like an old grump myself, railing against ALL CAPS, lousy grammar, text message abbreviations and the general decline of the English language. IMHO, it's a FUBAR CONVO.

This is fun:

Monday, September 14, 2009

Buy what you love

I was chatting with a customer the other day and she told me about finding a good deal on shoes at $10 a pair. Yet, she didn't buy them because even though they were stylish (and cheap), she didn't think they were really "her." Would she ever wear them? Probably not. She tells herself she has to really love something to buy it, whether it's on sale or not. That's my philosophy, too, and I really connected with what she said. Although, as a retailer, I might be hoisting my own petard just a bit agreeing that you shouldn't buy something unless you love it.

There's just so much "stuff" out there, and so much of it discounted or on clearance. It's tempting to say, oh, this little tschotke is only $3.99 and this one is only $12.99... and you might end up spending more than you would on just that one special thing (worse, you end up with a whole bunch of clutter). Now I do love a good sale, and I love to comb around in the the thrift stores, and I love it when I can find something for our shop that is really nice (good design, good quality) and can sell for a great price point. [Right now I'm enamored with our new tea towels for $5 each – so lovely, and so inexpensive!]

Some time ago I had a customer take a step into our store (a tourist; she had never visited us before), and announce (loudly) that she was ONLY interested in items that were on sale. So I pointed out our little sale shelf, but wondered (silently) what kind of a shopping strategy that was. She had no idea what we offered or if it worked with her taste, but she was only going to look at sale stuff and nothing else. Okay! Got news for you: usually things are on sale because no one else wanted them. When manufacturers contact me with a big promotion on certain items, I hardly ever bite. Why? Because usually they're offering those things at a deep discount because they didn't sell. No one wants it. I'll get stuck with a bunch of junk that I'll have to discount deeply too. Then finally, someone will buy it just because it's on sale. Sigh.

I can't get this little memory out of my head. Last spring I was standing in line at a big box store (I think I was there out of desperation for some allergy pills). Two ladies in front of me were crowing about this great buy they found: an easter basket with a plastic chicken head and a neon pink tutu surrounding the basket. It was the god-awful ugliest thing I think I've ever seen! And they were each buying several of them. The tutu baskets were so marked down they couldn't resist stocking up. I felt like falling on my knees and begging them not to subject their families (and later, the landfill) with these abominations. Maybe it was the juniper headache I had, but I felt like that perfectly epitomized some of our crazy buying habits. I was trying to imagine the Chinese workers who had assembled the chicken ballerina and what they thought of it. Couldn't have been much good in that conversation.

Friday, September 11, 2009

Light up the sky: a tribute to 9/11

I think this is just a beautiful statement of honor and endurance. Better than a plaque.