Jim Toole, the proprietor of Capitol Hill books in D.C., appears as a curmudgeon in Caroline Cunningham's wonderful profile of him and his overflowing store.
You also have a list of words that no one is allowed to speak in your store.
I hear “Perfect,” I hear “Like, like, like, like,” and I hear “Awesome” every 32 seconds and it was causing me to have brain damage. So I try to ask people when they’re here to use one of the 30,000 words in the thesaurus other than, “Perfect! Awesome! Oh my God!” When you’re sitting here for 20 years and hear that limited amount of vocabulary that people seem to enjoy using, it really [causes] destruction of gray matter. ...
The list of books that you won’t resell—why those?
I won’t let romance novels pass the door sill.
Why is that?
Because they suck as literature. You like those bodice-rippers? The other thing that’s pretty lousy is business. I take business books, business leadership and management crapola—I take them, but I stuff them in the business closet, out of the way. Only because people ask for them, and usually they’re all obsolete the night that they’re printed. I don’t let computer books in here because they are obsolete the day they’re printed.
Have a good one, Jim! Read the rest
Beckett does not mess around when it comes to Whole Foods. Read the rest
Drew Magary offers The 2016 Hater’s Guide To The Williams-Sonoma Catalog.
I was on the Jersey Turnpike when I saw it. I was driving my family to New York for Thanksgiving and there, along the shittiest stretch of road in the shittiest state in America, I saw the Williams-Sonoma fulfillment center: a vast hangar that seemed to stretch a mile long, with shipping containers lined up along the side, like piglets feeding on a series of artisanal teats.
He picked the perfect catalog for this sort of thing and the perfect presentation, so I'm just going to snag Jim Cooke's perfect "eat shit" illustration to go with it.
The only thing I ever bought from Williams-Sonoma was a fancy $100 Breville electric kettle whose LED light and rubber seal failed three months in, right after the take-it-back-for-a-refund point was passed. I made this Venn diagram to satisfy my lust for revenge but never published it. Read the rest
Amazon has a sale on Dash Buttons. They are stick on buttons with a wireless connection that lets you order household supplies without using your computer and logging on to Amazon. They are regularly $5, but today they're just 99 cents each, and you get a $5 credit on your first press.
Target employee SentioVenia uses all sorts of accents when he informs shoppers that Target will be closing in 10 minutes. A few of them are crude stereotypes, but it's worth it for Mickey Mouse. Read the rest
Online retail giant Amazon just launched a marketplace for handcrafted goods: Handmade at Amazon. It's “an arts-and-crafts bazaar online that squarely takes aim at a niche but growing market dominated by the Brooklyn-based Etsy,” as the New York Times puts it.
Handmade at Amazon went live early Thursday more than 80,000 items from roughly 5,000 sellers in 60 countries around the world. They're launching with only 6 categories — home, jewelry, artwork, stationery and party supplies, kitchen and dining, and baby.
Crafters can sell their crocheted pants or 3D-printed succulent cozies on the new Amazon marketplace, just as they've been able to for years at Etsy, a $2bn-a-year business .
Amazon's business is a lot bigger: $75 billion in annual sales. And Amazon's is growing, while Etsy appears to be challenged. One recent change at Etsy that allowed sellers to outsource their production to others is seen by many as a move away from its maker/seller roots.
Amazon, on the other hand, promises “Genuinely Handmade.” In the launch announcement, Amazon emphasizes that everything will be “crafted and sold directly from artisans.”
“We only approve artisans whose products are handcrafted,” said Amazon in a statement. “We are factory-free.”
Them's fighting words. Is this the end of Etsy as we know it? I hope not, I love Etsy.
Here's the full Amazon press release. And here's a snip from the Times story:
Read the rest
Amazon will start out with six categories — home, jewelry, artwork, stationery and party supplies, kitchen and dining, and baby — Mr.
Do you dig women's vintage clothes? My wife Kelly Sparks is a fashion designer and stylist who has been a hardcore vintage and thrift treasure hunter since she was in high school. Kelly was asked to write a series of shopping guides on eBay and her first one, no surprise, is "The Thrill of the Hunt: A Personal Stylist's Guide to 10 Vintage Items Every Woman Needs In Her Closet." Read the rest
I had a hard time selecting a blockquote from Douglas Coupland's essay on retail shopping because every paragraph is a gem.
I was really excited to go to Harrods in London and when I got there everything was . . . shiny. Everything looked like it was designed by the same guy who did Michael Jackson’s wardrobe, which is fine. I guess I was expecting a whole other level of luxury, which sounds so corny. And what would a whole new level of luxury look like, anyway? In the old days, more luxury meant more jewels and shiny stuff. These days, it usually means a lot less, like Muji or airport interrogation rooms. Humanity actually seems to be split down the middle on luxury: those who want gilded leopard-shaped teapots, and those people who want to live in the white box their iPhone came in.
"Kmart Solutions" in-store video from 1998. Read the rest
At Medium, Robin Sloan writes an appreciation of Nerdhaven, the archetypal shop in Everytown "catering to comic book readers, the D&D players, the gatherers-of-Magic." Read the rest
“I walked in and the lady at the front counter said hey you’re too big to be in this store, I need you to leave,” said Buster. ... After Shelby’s mom contacted us, we contacted the store. The Rue 21 district manager told us over the phone that they’re aware of the situation and are currently looking into it.Read the rest
The Newsstand is a subway shop inside Brooklyn's Lorimer/Metropolitan station that specializes in zines. Great idea! (And yes, it's already been nicknamed the "hipster newsstand.") Paper magazine interviewed the proprietors:
Lele Saveri: I think the zine idea was also because of the location. You're in the subway and people are used to grabbing something to read for the train ride. If it's not a newspaper or magazine, you just download [something] on your phone. [Zines] are something people can get for cheap and a unique thing. Also, you're [physically] underground and zines have always been about the underground world.
Jamie Falkowski: I think that space is really interesting because it's so different from going into a regular newsstand. You have to spend time and look at all the different titles and find the thing that speaks to you.
LS: Everyone who works at the stand are people who have been related to the zine world forever. They know exactly what they're selling. It's not like a dude who sells magazines and doesn't even look at them. Every day there's a new person and every day the person is curating or moving things around. I swear you'll see new stuff every day.
The severed head of a deer was left on a self-service supermarket checkout, prompting a police investigation. The innards of the animal were found in one of the aisles of the Tesco shop in Saffron Walden, Essex, police said. ... A spokesman for Essex Police said nobody had been arrested. A spokeswoman for Tesco apologised for "any distress caused".
I don't know what the big deal is. Don't we all do the same when the stupid self-checkout won't beep something? Read the rest