PUBLISHED: Wednesday, December 26, 2007, The Voice News
MC entrepreneurs ask for community support
Book Blues owners urge, 'shop local'
by Jeri Packer
Voice staff writer
Jacqueline and Todd Wilson, owners of The Book Blues Bookstore in Marine City aren't shy about expressing their passion to keep their local family-owned business alive.
"In the movie, You've Got Mail, Meg Ryan starts a 'Save the Shop Around the Corner' campaign when the viability of her independent children's bookstore is threatened by a big box chain store moving in across the street," Jackie Wilson stated in a recent press release.
Now, she insists, it's their turn to fight.
The couple swallowed their pride and recently wrote a letter to the community they have grown to love, letting them know that their store was in danger of closing.
"It was a tough decision, but basically we decided to let our customers and the community know what was going on," Wilson said. "We felt that if the community really wanted us to stay, then we should give them the chance to exhibit that. We especially owe it to the loyal customers."
Wilson said the customer response was overwhelming, but they are being "cautiously optimistic" about the current support being enough to carry them through the coming months after all the publicity dies down.
The Wilson's moved from the Washington D.C. area to open The Book Blues in downtown Marine City in June 2006. The store is on the corner of Water and Broadway streets, two of the main arteries into the downtown area. Jackie Wilson is also a writing consultant and published author. In addition, she runs an online women's tee shirt boutique called Explosive Kiss T-shirts at explosivekiss.com.
"All the merchandise is kiss-based," she said. "They all have lips on them in some creative way."
Wilson said The Book Blues is not just your average, run-of-the-mill bookstore.
"We're a pretty unique used bookstore," she explained. "The majority of our books are used, but they are of a quality superior to other used bookstores."
She explained that the store is set up to look and feel like a bookstore that sells all-new books.
"People come in and ask where's your used books?' she said. "That's how good they look."
The store carries a limited amount of new book releases, but they will order new books at a 15 percent discount to the customer, with no shipping costs added.
In the year-and-a-half they have owned the store, the local entrepreneurs have become known for their community involvement by sponsoring classes and organizing local events.
They organize community events like the recent Trick or Treat Trail that brought more than 300 people to local businesses in Marine City, said Wilson.
The couple also makes it a point to bring in local authors to the store, such as Roger LeLievre, author of "Know Your Ships," and New Baltimore Officer Tim Lindstrom, author of "The Adventures of Cubby."
They also consider "cross-promotion" to be a strong focal point for their store and encourage their patrons to also shop at other local businesses in town.
"We've been one of the strongest business supporters in the area," Wilson said.
What can the community do to show their support?
"Buy your dog food at the local pet store. Get your books at the local bookstore," Wilson said.
"Independent businesses can turn around quickly. It's only been in the last three months that we've had any trouble. It's easier to shop at a one-stop big-box store and it may be cheaper and more convenient, but if you like to live in a small community, you have to shop in the community. If you don't shop at our stores regularly - and not just every few months - we're going to be gone."
Wilson added that much of the real character of a historical community derives from the independent, private-owned stores lining the streets.
Christine Kadey is a regular customer at the corner bookstore and said she would miss patronizing the "delightful" shop, situated across from the St. Clair River, should they be forced to close. She believes the family-owned businesses are part of what makes Marine City the town that it is.
"I have a real heart for Marine City and I want to see it prosper," she said. "I try to shop Marine City first always. It's like being patriotic."
Judy White, President of the Marine City Chamber of Commerce, works with local businesses, providing support and education to local business-owners.
"Speaking as a dyed-in-the-wool 'bibliophile', any hint of a bookstore closing is cause for alarm," she said. "Recent economic news shows sales better than expected in November so hopefully that trend will continue and boost business for Book Blues and all retail in Marine City."
Whatever the future economic trends, the Wilson's will have to decide quickly whether they will continue to work and serve in Marine City. Their lease, with a one-month extension, expires the end of January. And with their first baby due in March, these "mom and pop storeowners" will be making some major family decisions soon.
PUBLISHED: Wednesday, December 26, 2007, The Voice News
Struggling bookstore makes plea to patrons
Marine City's Book Blues faces closure
By NICOLE GERRING, Times Herald
MARINE CITY- For a year and a half, the cozy bookstore on the corner of Water and Broadway streets has been a haven for young moms, retirees, teenagers and other community members.
Now, like many locally owned shops, the Book Blues is feeling the pinch of Michigan's struggling economy.
Earlier this month, Book Blues owners Jackie and Todd Wilson sent an e-mail to loyal customers with some bad news. If business doesn't improve by late January, the popular bookstore will close.
The Wilsons are turning to their loyal customers for survival and have launched a campaign called "Save the Book Blues: Shop locally or there will be no local shops."
Although Jackie, a former college instructor and marketing manager, acknowledges it was an unorthodox move to make the store's status so public, she said she wanted to inform her regular customers of the precarious situation.
"The people who have supported us deserve to know instead of what many businesses do, which is packing up in the middle of the night without an explanation," she said. "Now's the time to show your love or we won't be here."
The Wilsons prize themselves on their connections with customers and on the store's inviting atmosphere. The store, which sells used and new books, offers free coffee to customers and features comfortable chairs and couches where people can rest their feet while turning pages. A children's area includes small chairs, bean bags and plush toys and allows young customers to scope out books filed away in a cubby.
Kim Mucciante of St. Clair dropped by the store Thursday morning looking for the latest Harry Potter novel.
"(My kids) love the children's section," she said. "It's really cozy in here. This is a nice cultural thing. It's more cultural than what we usually have around here. It's a great bookstore."
Mucciante was surprised the store may have to close its doors. The "nice personal touch" makes the Book Blues stand out from big box retailers such as Barnes & Noble Booksellers, she said.
"There's nothing here like this," she told Jackie. "I hope you stay."
The Wilsons, who on a whim moved to Marine City from northern Virginia a few years ago, don't want to close. Before a lull arrived this fall, the store was doing pretty well, Jackie said.
The business usually brings in only a little more than what it spends, so even a short slow spell can have a large impact, she said.
"It can change overnight for a small business," she said. "We run pretty close to what we make."
Recently, the family has had to subsidize the business with their own money.
Todd Wilson works full time as a sales director for a home entertainment company. Jackie, who manages the store, never has paid herself a salary.
As the couple prepares to have their first baby in March, they can't continue running a slow business, she said.
"How the community reacts and continues to support us could really save us," she said.
Contact Nicole Gerring at (810) 989-6270 or email@example.com.
Originally published December 22, 2007
STRANGE THINGS THAT HAPPENED TO ME YESTERDAY
At the bookstore:
1. A customer calls:
Customer: "I tried to stop in your store on Monday but it was closed."
ME: "Oh. I'm sorry. I was at the hospital."
Customer: *minor annoyance* "Geeesh, I'm trying to help out your store, but I can't when it's CLOSED."
ME: "Uh, yeah, sorry, I was at THE HOSPITAL."
2. I call a customer to pick up her book order:
ME: "Hi, I just wanted to let you know that your order is in.
Elderly Woman: "You must have the wrong number."
ME: "Oh, I'm sorry! Is this [repeats phone number just dialed]."
Elderly Woman: "HMPF. Don't know about that but it ain't my phone number."
ME: blink blink blinks at dial tone on phone
With my husband:
1. Todd: "You do know that they make thong underwear for pregnant women, right?!?"
ME: blink blink blink
(Um...I'm still at a loss what a good response to this was...)
2. I relay to my husband that the baby now has her eyes open and can see. He gets a flashlight to shine on my stomach to see if the baby reacts...
...and then promptly starts to make shadow puppets on my stomach for the baby...
HELLLLOOOOOO....FULL MOON YESTERDAY, ANYONE?!?!
- Watch Ann Curry from the Today Show bungee jump off of a bridge.
- Watch your husband eat breakfast while you fast.
- Edit part of a book.
- Make a baby shower list.
- Pee in a men's restroom.
- Shop in the gift shop.
- Make friends with a welfare mom on the same testing schedule as you.
- Walk the same hallway route back and forth 10 times.
The following are things I felt compelled to discuss with my husband in a stream of consciousness at 3 a.m. this morning:
- "Do you think those people on the Martha Stewart show yesterday who received colored dice as their audience gift were thinking, 'I KNEW we should've gone to Oprah!'"
- "Don't you wish we had blueberry pancakes?"
- "We haven't even taken a parenting class! And, I'm SURE it's the key to all success!"
- "Did you know that we have to pick a pediatrician BEFORE we give birth and NO moms in town are happy with theirs?!?"
- "Do you think it's snowing outside?"
- "What IS [Ninja Cocaine Kitty] doing out there?!?"
"What do you think they really put in that Mystic Pizza anyway?!?"
I'm 7 months pregnant.
Who can believe?
There are lots of things I've learned in the past 7 months of this pregnancy. Some of it I learned on my own (and some of it the "hard" way). For example: how much you take simple things about your body for granted, how calm your life was before (despite what you thought), how much small things don't matter, who your true friends are, what family REALLY means...
Other things I've learned have come from other sources - the Internet, literature, and a little email I get each day called The Daily Kick (clever, right?) from Parenting.com.
A few days ago, they had a feature on making yourself a birthing room CD. Um...hellllloooo?!? People ACTUALLY have time to do this?!?!? I haven't even made a nursery or taken a parenting class. Now I'm supposed to fit in MAKING A BIRTHING ROOM CD ALSO?!?
Anyway, I thought I would share with you their suggested playlists, because HELLLOOOO, SO MUCH TO SAY ABOUT IT.
To keep you calm and focused...
“Don’t Panic”, by Coldplay“Playground Love”, by Air “Come Rain or Come Shine”, by Frank Sinatra
“Wild Horses”, by Mazzy Star“Into the Mystic”, Van Morrison “Try a Little Tenderness”, by Otis Redding "Kind of Blue," by Miles Davis"Carolina On My Mind," by James Taylor"Destiny," by Zero 7"Gettin' in the Way," by Jill Scott"2 Kool 2 Be 4-Gotten," by Lucinda Williams
OK, honestly? There is not one song on here that I would find soothing to keep me "calm and focused". If someone plays "Don't Panic" by Coldplay and tells me to calm down? I'm kicking them in head.
To get you psyched to push...
“Push It (Ooh, baby, baby)”, by Salt ‘n’ Pepa (“All you fly mothers, get on out there and dance!”)“Wind It Up” and “Hollaback Girl”, by Gwen Stefani (Damn, she’s cool! She had Kingston – you can do this, too!) “I’m Every Woman”, by Whitney Houston“Take Your Mama”, by Scissor Sisters“Harder to Breathe”, Maroon 5“Rock and Roll”, by Led Zeppelin “Rock Your Body”, by Justin Timberlake“I Will Survive”, by Gloria Gaynor"Born to Run," by Bruce Springsteen "Ain't No Other Man," by Christina Aguilera"Shining Star," by Earth Wind & Fire"Kids in America," by Kim Wilde
Alright, I've not made my Salt-n-Pepper love a secret. HOWEVER, PUSH IT?!?! Wow. I don't think so. There are no words to cover this suggestion. I think Gwen Stefani is FINE, but belting out HOLLABACK GIRL in between pushing and screaming is not my idea of psyching me up. And, Rock Your Body by JT? Just may make me shoot my husband.
To keep you feeling happy despite, you know, the circumstances...“Love and Happiness”, by Al Green“Here Comes the Sun”, by the Beatles“Grace”, by Jeff Buckley“Dream a Little Dream of Me”, by the Mamas and the Papas “Every Little Thing She Does Is Magic”, by the Police“You Can’t Hurry Love”, by Diana Ross“It’s the End of the World”, by REM "Good Vibrations" Beach Boys "Raspberry Beret," by Prince "Listen to the Music," by the Doobie Brothers
OK. So this list? I don't get AT ALL. Prince's "Raspberry Beret"?!? WTF?!?!
Beach Boys "Good Vibrations"?!? UH. NO.
And WHAT does REM's "End of the World" have to do with keeping me HAPPY?!?! I'm just guessing, but "It's the end of the world as we know it" is probably NOT a lyric I want running through my head during childbirth. (Not to mention, do I really need fun memories like singing this song in college while moshing around bars to remind me of what will NEVER. BE. AGAIN?!?! I think not...)
I'm thinkin' I won't be making a birthing room CD. But, I'll keep you posted...
PS-The funny part about the title of this post is that every year I tell people I'm 28 on my birthday. I don't know why. I don't have "issues" with my age, or getting older (er, I don't think...). But anyway....
Ok, seriously, in this day and age it really shouldn't take 6 hours to print something, right?
For a one page flyer.
I hate the printer at my bookstore *cough*HP OFFICEJET 4300*cough*. Aside from the fact that it holds, oh, I don't know, 1 teaspoon of ink that runs out every 3rd printed page, it is just a pain in the a** for such a simplistic, unassuming looking little printer. For example, every time you change a printer cartridge, you have to wait for the cartridges to realign (which is a lot longer than it sounds), manually feed a blank sheet of paper in, have it print off lines and dots & some Aborigine clicks (yes, using half the new cartridge you just replaced), and then MANUALLY RE-FEED the piece of paper back into the machine so that it can do some alien-life-form reading of the dashes and dots.
This is just to CHANGE THE CARTRIDGE.
OH, And, guess what? If you make a mistake (like, say, sneezing on the machine or making any sudden movements) while it's going through this convenient little process then it will freeze and cause errors.
WHICH NEVER CLEAR OUT OF THE MEMORY.
It only took me 2 days to print my 1-page flyer.
Wonder how much an old fashioned printing press would run me?
Ninja Cocaine Kitty's creative process for TP art:
Please note the artistic use of fang-like teeth to create the art instead of claws. TRES CREATIVE!
Learn how you can get an original Ninja Cocaine Kitty TP Art piece.
So, three weeks ago during a nice, sunny, crisp Fall day you might say to your husband something like, oh, I don't know..."Gee. Look at all those leaves in our gutters! We really need to clean those out before snow so that it doesn't clog up and cause a leak." And your husband might reply with an unconcerned comment like, say, "OH WELL!" and then three weeks later when there's a steady stream of water pouring into your dining room after a snow turned to sleet turned to rain storm and he has to go out in the 45-feels-like-39 degree dark & rain to clean out the gutters in hopes of stopping the leak, he might just, say, be really pissed and take it out on you when you screech, "Remember 3 weeks ago when I said, 'We need to clean out those gutters before they cause a leak?!!!'".
I'm just sayin'...
did could happen...)
So my dog eats cat poop.
He views the cats' litter boxes as a buffet feast with the finest Russian caviar and champagne. It is canine cocaine sought out by the worst of addicts.
On a rare occasion when he's able to get the litter boxes within sight (which are stored away nicely at the back of the house in a laundry room with the door cracked only enough for the cats to gain entrance), you can just see him scheming. He might as well have a cartoon bubble over his head detailing his plan. His eyes glaze over, he licks his chops and he waits for the exact right moment for me to turn my back or take a load of laundry out to dash in and gobble up a piece or two of the crunchy delights.
We call the litter boxes the "drive through".
That's bad enough, right? But his snacking doesn't end there in the laundry room. He actually takes the nuggets onto the rug in the back hallway where he can savor each crunchy bit.
He desperately needs a 12 step program for his "little problem".
Now, this isn't the workings of a stupid dog. As a matter of fact, this dog is pretty smart. But he's willing to risk all - knowing that a few minutes of berating (by me shouting, "AHHHHHHHHHHHHHH! NO! NO! BAD DOG! VERY BAD DOG!") is well worth his apparent kitty litter high. To his credit, when my head spins around and I start to freak out, he drops the piece of poop from his mouth and looks at me like, "WHaa?!? How did THAT get there?!?" Then, if I turn my back for 1 millisecond, he gobbles it up. Only kitty litter remnants left on the rug to prove his plight.
Aside from the complete gross out factor, I just don't get it. How could something that's been eaten, digested, eliminated and then covered with tiny rock-like pieces be even remotely pleasing to any palate?!?
Never mind that it comes from another's BUTT.
The older female cat just stares at him like, "DUDE. That just came out of my A**."
The dog answers by licking his chops and then proceeding to smack for several moments while we are all treated to the sound of him getting the crunchies out of his teeth.
And that, my friends, is a treat all in itself.
Addendum: This is the same dog that is more than happy to give you a big old sloppy wet kiss right on the mouth when you come over. You've been forewarned...
Realizing it's only WEDNESDAY, there has been a strange phenomenon occurring in the bookstore this week:
People looking for baby/children's books, but not really understanding what a baby/children's book is.
Imagine being me.
A few times this week, women have been in looking for children's books for Christmas gifts. I ask a few general questions (age, likes/dislikes, etc.) and then I make some recommendations. We have a nice children's selection, and I usually start by showing them the new books (because, hey, as much as I enjoy recycling books, many people don't want to give used books as gifts). NOT ONE OF THESE PEOPLE HAVE LEFT WITH A CHILDREN'S BOOK. (HM, maybe my recommendations just SUCK).
Anyway, just to prove people are truly insane during the holiday season, check out the conversation I had yesterday:
Confused Book Woman (CBW): I want to get a book for a baby.
ME: *shows her our new children's book selections*
CBW: *perplexed* These all look too old.
ME: Well, there's a board book there, which is for all ages and it's more durable. And then the other books are regular children's pre-6 year old books. Those are good to have parents read to the kids, too.
CBW: But this board book is a Christmas book.
CBW: *stares at me as if I've grown 2 heads* The baby is due in December.
ME: *blink*blink*blink* Well that seems like a good book just in time then!
CBW: *SIGH!* No, I mean, do you really think the kid is going to carry this around and read it? *louder sigh*
ME: *blink*blink*blink* Well...as a newborn, I'm assuming the parents will be reading to the baby. But as he or she gets older, yes, he/she will carry it around. And a book like this will last for a while.
CBW: *Sigh* No! No! These are all wrong.
ME: Well, we have some local children's author books that are signed. Those make great gifts.
CBW: Those are too old.
ME: The baby hasn't been born yet, right?
CBW: Right. December.
ME: OK then... *Starts working on something else.*
CBW: I guess I just don't know what I want...
Perhaps these people should stick to, dare I say? DVDs.
Shockingly, this is going to be a serious post (you've been forewarned).
Please keep Todd and me in your prayers over the next few weeks. We have some serious things going on in our lives that are going to take some serious, grown-up-like decisions (and I HATE that).
Maybe over the next few weeks I will blog about it (or maybe not). For now, we need prayers in helping us make some decisions in our lives (and receiving answers). I just thought I would throw it out there to the big, wide Internet-o-sphere.
Sorry, but that's really all I want to say about it for now.
Two things that I've prided myself on: 1) Never losing car keys, 2) Always knowing where my cell phone is.
ME: *frantic* Have you seen my car keys?
Todd: *stare of complete disbelief at the question*
Todd: Um...you had them last night when you were looking for your lost cell phone...
Todd: Um...didn't you start your car this morning to warm it up?
ME: Ohhh...uh...yeah. *ahem* I guess they're in my running car.
This just goes to prove that the baby is sucking ALL of my common sense AND intelligence. (I'm sorry, Paula, for all those times I made fun of you when you said this REALLY happens when you're pregnant...)
Scary, red-neck old man (SRNOM): Hi Hon.
ME: *sigh* (PET PEEVE: old men who call me HON).
Hi. Let me know if there's anything I can help you find.
SRNOM: Do you have a bathroom?
ME: Oh...actually that backroom area is closed right now for inventory updates and the bathroom is back there. Sorry.
SRNOM: That's OK. I'll just go piss out back somewhere.
Stupid Woman with Him (SWWH): *giggles* You're SO FUNNY!
ME: Horrified as I watch the man leave, go around to the back of my store and then return a couple of minutes later.
ME: In shock as I watch him come back and continue to touch my books.
ME: Disinfects area with LYSOL after they leave. (It is 99.9% effective in killing all bacteria, you know).
NOTE: When the SWWH checked out, she had SOMETHING HANGING FROM HER RIGHT NOSTRIL.
A half a roll of paper towel??
A scabbed over melanoma?!?
Something more disgusting?!?
I was trying so hard not to STARE.
And first prize for Winning Customers of the Day (maybe the week) goes to...
Anyone? Anyone know the answer?
What is it about being pregnant that makes people think they need to be brutally honest with you?
Last week was a weird week for me. I hit the 6 month mark in my pregnancy and my pregnancy belly popped out like a self-inflating beach ball. WEIRD.
Up until last week, I hadn't looked sterotypically pregnant (although I felt every day of the last 6 months, let me tell you...). I had only gained 8 pounds initially (now 12), so many people who knew I was pregnant thought I was not as far along as I was.
Until last week.
I heard a lot of "OOOh, look at your baby belly" and "WOW! You're really looking pregnant now!" kind of comments.
I know it's no big deal - I am, in fact, pregnant. However, I wasn't really that excited about the comments last week. I know that people meant well, but the comments in my mind translated to, "WOW! You really are a fat ass now!"
Maybe it had something to do with an entire bad mood week and bad week in general that culminated in some weird stomach-virus-diarrhea-headache thing Friday into Saturday and beyond (TMI?).
At least no one tried to touch my stomach.
Lucky for them.
- Rascal Flats spends WAY TOO MUCH MONEY on hair products.
- Daughtry's wife's non-pregnancy boobs put my ample pregnancy boobs to shame.
- Carrie Underwood has turned into a total classy babe.
- Black skater girl shoes still don't go with a silver sequined skirt *cough*Avril Lavigne*cough*
- Maroon 5? Most. Boring. Stage Presence. EVER.
- Janet Jackson and Ashanti may be the same person.
- I still have no idea who the Jonas Brothers are (and, seriously, WHY?!?).
- No way Rhianna was wearing underwear under that bootilicious dress.
- Beyonce should NOT stand next to the 98 pound chick from Sugarland while performing in jeans. (And, HELLLOOO? Chick from Sugarland? Camel Toe? NEVER ATTRACTIVE).
- Taye Diggs' scholarly look? H.O.T.
And the final thing I learned from the American Music Awards?
I still get bored enough to change it halfway through and start watching a movie I've seen a million times.
For some reason, a stack of one dollar bills always reminds me of strippers.
Aside from a warped sense of society, I have no idea why this is.
I don't know any strippers (that I'm aware of...).
I've never been a stripper.
I never plan to be a stripper (although my friend Marilynn insists that I could make some good money with these pregnancy breasts).
This morning, I had the following conversation with the gas station girl (GSG):
GSG: OOOO...it looks like our safe drop isn't working. I only have ones. Do you mind if I give you all ones for your change?
ME: *shrugs* Doesn't matter to me. Spends all the same.
GSG: Well, look at it this way. Your wallet will be fatter and everyone will think that you're richer.
ME: Or a stripper...
GSG: Yeah, well, either way...
ME: Thanks! (as I waddle off 6 months into pregnancy)
Our small town high school football team won district champions and headed off to play the division championship game. If they win that? State finals.
There's nothing that pulls a small town community together like high school sports (depending on where you live in the U.S., this may be football, basketball, or both). Yesterday, our historic main streets were lined with parents, family, friends, and shop owners as three busloads of players, cheerleaders, and band members received an official police escort out of town. Black and orange dominated, pom-poms blew in the wind, and players leaned out the windows, pumping their fists in presumptuous victory.
It literally brought tears to my eyes.
These are the best years of many of these kids' lives. For most, this will be the last of their football "careers." For some, the highlight of their lives. Many will grow older, grow larger, grow balder, but still hang on to the memories of their championship high school football year. It will be fodder over many a beer for years to come. The discussion at reunions. Memories at a future child's birthday party. Who blocked whom? Remember that touchdown? And, if they lose, what they would've done differently.
For perhaps a very select, elite few, this may be the stepping stone into their college football careers with hopes of one day playing in the NFL. High hopes for small town mentality. But, hey, it happens.
Or, it could just be that I'm all screwed up with pregnancy hormones.
Well, I guess I CAN say this:
If you would like to help this poor puppy named Miracle with a donation, you can send checks to the Oakland Veterinary Referral Services at 1400 Telegraph Road in Bloomfield Hills, Mich. 48302.
I thought registering for baby items would be fun. I mean, registering for our wedding was a blast - asking for outrageous items we couldn't afford/didn't want to buy ourselves and/or frivolous items that stay packed away in a closet until that once a year special day/holiday use. What could be more fun? So, it only made sense that registering for baby items would be just as fun.
We registered because our family is out of state and they (especially my parents) were asking what kind of things we wanted/needed for the baby. I didn't register because we expect a shower. When two of my girlfriends mentioned a shower one day, I laughed and responded, "The three of us does not a shower make." I'm the type of person that gives the shower, not gets the shower.
We registered at Target.
I love Target.
We first registered online and then added some additional items in store and, let me tell you, it really wasn't fun. Well, let me clarify. It wasn't fun for ME. My husband thought it was a blast. Why? You probably guessed, because he got to play with the little scan gun. Me on the other hand? Didn't find the process as exciting (never mind that we have a scan gun at the bookstore in which I scan in hundreds of books a week, but whatever).
With every question my husband asked me, I felt myself getting more anxious. I don't know which bottles will be best! I don't know if we really need one of those bathtub thingys! I don't know which diapers are recommended! The registering ended hours later with me nearly in tears running from the store shrieking, "I DON'T KNOW!"
Anyway, we finished and printed the registry, and then later checked online. I went back a week later, added some more items online and everything was A-OK.
Until this week.
Not there when I try to look up our registry by our name(s), and not there when I try to login to "my account". Now, this might not seem like that big of a deal, but to a hormonal, stressed, sleep-deprived pregnant woman who found the whole process excruciating, it was a big deal.
A. VERY. BIG. DEAL.
I send an email to the online support. The next day I received a canned tech support response from SHARON with *helpful* info like, "I'm sorry for any trouble you had viewing your registry on Target.com, but it looks like the problem has been fixed. If it's still not showing up when you look, you might be connected to our Website through a server that doesn't have the most up to date information. To check, just clear the address bar in your Web browser, type in “www.target.com” and open the site again. It will automatically connect you to the latest information."
You have GOT TO BE KIDDING ME, RIGHT?!?!
Of course, I clear the cookies, try on one computer and then another with the same results. (Shock of all shocks). Nothing. Now I'm more than pissed. I send Sharon another nice response and get back more helpfulness:
I'm sorry to hear about the difficulty you've had accessing your registry on our Website. For assistance with this issue, please contact the Target Online Guest Service department at (800)XXX-XXXX, 24 hours a day, seven days a week. Thanks for shopping with us. We'll see you soon at Target.
Tonight, SHARON received another nice response from me:
Gee, Sharon. That was very helpful. Thanks. It's helpful to offer technology to customers (ONLINE REGISTRIES) and then not be able to use it...
Additionally, you may want to try and look up ANY name on the registry (Have you even visited it online??!?!). I tried putting in common names across all states (for example MARY WILLIAMS) and not one name came up. NOT ONE. (All names came up as "not found"). Perhaps there really is something wrong with the registry online that happened when the new holiday website was updated?
Maybe you should try testing out the items first before sending a "canned" answer of "Please call the 800 number." When I was a tech support person, it was customary to TEST the issue before sending back responses. Or, perhaps expediting the issue to a senior tech rep or your SUPERVISOR would be reasonable. (It's just a thought...)
Don't mess with the (pregnant) bull, Sharon, you'll get the horns...
And no, no response. No resolution.
My husband leaves me a message this morning all giddy, "Looks like we'll have to get that little gun and do it all over again!" His excitement was barely containable.
(Did I mention that I hate Target?)
ADDENDUM, 11:07 a.m.:
SHARON (to me):
I'm sorry to hear about the difficulty you've had accessing your registry on our Website. I have checked your registry for
ME (to Sharon):
WOW. Shock that it IS showing up there now. However (and FYI), I still could NOT log in to my TARGET account to manage the registry. I've used this account many times to order, update, etc. GUESS HOW I DID MANAGE TO LOG IN? I clicked on the Amazon.com account radio button instead (on the Target website, under the Target account button). Hm. Again. Does this seem to be working properly to you (you, of course, not referring to you, personally, but to tech support)/Target?
Although I can appreciate the relationship we've built over the past few days, no response is required. Have a fantastic Thursday.
- Your doctor doesn't think it's funny when you ask if a couple of Tequila shots before bed to help you sleep better will be OK.
- Experienced moms laugh A LOT at first time pregnant women.
- You will waddle (no matter how much you've said, "I will NOT waddle when I get bigger.")
- Everyone is full of advice on things you already know, but no advice on things you really need help with.
- You had no idea that heartburn this bad existed within the human body ON A DAILY, NON-STOP BASIS.
- It's possible to not care about your weight gain for 2 entire years and then become freaky obsessed with gaining weight during pregnancy WHEN YOU SHOULD BE GAINING WEIGHT.
- Rubber bands can be used creatively in a bunch of ways in your wardrobe.
- When you want biscuits with grape jelly and butter, you will drag yourself out of bed at midnight to make them.
- Your favorite food (Mexican food) now makes you throw up every time you eat it. Every time. Every. Single. Time.
- You can't find the only ice cream you crave (BUBBLE GUM...*duh*) ANYWHERE, not even on the Internet.
- It will only take your OB-GYN office 6 months to FINALLY figure out you're pregnant.
- People are much nicer and give you cool free stuff (why didn't I think of this sooner?!?)
- When weepy pregnancy hormones make you cry at the TOE PICK movie you've seen 172 times, your friends will laugh at you.
- Your husband can't say "LOOK HOW BIG YOUR BOOBS ARE!" enough.
- Pregnancy only magnifies your TRUE personality (which means I'm in deep doodoo).
- You can fall into a dead sleep sitting up on the couch, but be wide awake for hours when you go to bed.
- You have a brand new appreciation for mundane things you took for granted before (like breathing and bending over...)
- You wonder if anyone else cares about your pregnancy but you and your husband.
- Not EVERYONE gets the nesting instinct.
- If you throw up a little bit in your mouth while you're sleeping, you will wake up (thank goodness!)
- You will never sleep a full night again. EVER.
And the last thing I've learned after 6 months of pregnancy?
You still crave Margaritas (and those people who told you that you won't want alcohol are liars. Or haters. Or both.).
For example, THESE are WAY CUTE. But CLEARANCED for $319.99, I don't think so...
UGG Suede Baby Boots: $50
(And I SO have to confess, if it were back in the Rainbows and Cotton Candy Money Days, I would SO BUY THESE. HMMM...I still might...How long does it stay cold here in March?!?!)
Here are some things that I CANNOT buy at Bloomies with my $50 gift card:
A Ruffled Onesie (because, uh, EVERYONE needs a ruffled onsie for a vomiting crapping NEWBORN?!?): $62
Burberry Infant Dress: $102
Burberry Stroller: $695
Juicy Couture Onesie at Bloomies: $48
Burberry Infant Dress at Bloomies: $102
Burberry Stroller at Bloomies: $695Feeling crappy that you gave up your Assistant Dean College Position, sunk all your money into a business, and now can't afford to buy your new baby cool stuff: PRICELESS
(BTW, "baby bags" are NOT what you would think at Bloomies. I wonder if I can purchase one of their "Brown Bag" shopping bags for $50 to use as a diaper bag since I can't afford to buy anything that goes in the shopping bag you usually get for FREE?!?!)
Addendum: CONFESSION! I, er, spent my $50 on the pink UGG baby boots for (get this) the following Christmas after she's born! (Not this Christmas mind you). Hey, they were TOO CUTE and UGG boots for $7.95 (what I paid for shipping) -- NO BRAINER! (SHUT UP)
OK. This is going to be a soapbox posting. You've been forewarned, so you can take your interests elsewhere before I get going.
You're still here? OK then.
Now. I'm not perfect (in all senses), and I'm certainly not a picture of grammatical perfection - speaking nor writing. Look through this blog and I'm sure you will find dozens of spelling (ew) and grammatical errors (even though I try my hardest to correct them). Heck, you'll even find a few in this posting. That said, I'm going to bitch about some of the people in the state where I currently reside:
HELLLOOOOO, DOESN'T THE PUBLIC SCHOOL SYSTEM IN THIS STATE TEACH BASIC GRAMMAR AND TENSES?!?!?
A COMMON mistake that people make here is that they confuse THEY versus THEM versus THOSE. And I don't mean occasionally, I mean like 6 out 10 times (maybe more).
"Them kids are making me crazy."
"Them books ain't for sale."
How does this even sound REMOTELY correct in people's heads around here? It makes me INSANE!
The second biggie on my state-wide grammatical pet peeve list is the usage of "and such" or "this and that" at the end of the sentence. (Which wasn't a big deal until my husband pointed it out, thanks honey!)
HEY PEOPLE, you don't have to use meaningless space fillers. If you say "I went to the grocery store and such" but really mean "I went to the grocery store and on the way I ran over Mrs. Smith who walks her dog across the road way too slow anyway" THEN SAY THAT. Otherwise, just say "I went to the grocery store." PERIOD. There's nothing else to say!
Now, if you pardon me, I'll climb down now (and such)...
Let me just start off by saying that I'm a SODA girl - Diet Coke to be exact.
I've never been a huge fan of flavored drinks - I'm not keen on Koolaid, lemonade is OK, but I NEVER drink iced tea (for my southern friends, I shall give you a few moments to recover).
As you can imagine, Faygo has never been #1 on my list and a few days ago I found out why (aside from it being a sugary flavored drink):
According to the Faygo executives, they were the first people to introduce the word "pop" to be used instead soda.
One of my MAJOR pet peeves.
(HELLOOOOO PEOPLE, it's SODA!).
Apparently, they named it after the "pop" sound Faygos made when you opened the can.
Now, if this insanity isn't reason enough to stop calling SODAS pop, then I don't know what is.
Happy 100th Birthday Faygo.
A few years ago on a whim I gave up a potential Assistant Dean position at a medical college where I was teaching and, in a moment of clarity (or insanity, depending on the day), we moved from a large East coast city to a small tourist-like town on the water in a different state.
To say that it has been interesting would be a major understatement. There are days when Todd and I look at each other with that "WTF have we done?!?" terror in our eyes. (For example, when we say, "What do you want to eat tonight? McDonald's or Big Boy?! OOOH the choices..."). Then there are days that I think "What a fantastic place to be and raise a child." For example, a couple of weeks ago we closed the bookstore for a few days and went out of town. My return was met with a barrage of "We were so worried that something happened to you/the baby" concerns from CUSTOMERS. It was nice. That NEVER would've happened on the East Coast. Hell, I lived across the street from the same neighbor for five years there and didn't even know their names (aside from the one that I gave the wife - NOSY NETTIE - because she used to hide in her garage and spy on us whenever we were doing something in the front yard. I digress...). I could've been maimed and bleeding in my house for months (maybe years until my dogs gnawed my body into an unrecognizable state) before someone would've noticed.
Anyway, one thing that you really don't notice until you move to a small town is the politics. I mean, sure I knew what was going on when we lived back East, but NOTHING like when you live in a small town. Here it's personal, especially when you own a business. You hate the crooked good ole boys running your town, but then have to see them at the grocery store. Or in a restaurant. Or at the local football games.
So there was a BIG election here yesterday - scandalous - the old Mayor and many of the old commissioners needed to GO. I mean, HELLLOOOOO, who the hell re-elects the same commissioner for TWENTY FREAKIN' YEARS?!?! I don't care how bad/good you are in office. After 20 years, your vision is clouded and jaded (and FYI-this person sucked-BUH BYE).
The point of this entire, long-winded posting is not to bring you up to speed on my small town mayoral election. Instead, it is to apprise you of an interesting campaign tactic one of the citizens took in town (and, hey, you never know, you may feel the need to borrow it for your own small town election).
Let me preface by saying this is a pretty run down house on the main strip (intermingled with the businesses). It's an awful eyesore, so it was no surprise one day while driving by I noticed that they had placed not one but TWO toilets on either side of their front porch.
Yeah. Redneck doesn't even begin to cover it.
A few days later, a professionally printed banner appeared across their front porch: "This city is going down the toilet, vote for change!" Not a bad campaign tactic, but I think a picture of a toilet on the banner would've sufficed. Even more interesting is that the house belongs to the local deadbeat mom, crack HO, drunk. Of course, these are all suppositions of mine based on the following:
- In the summer, I watch her daily stumble from bar to bar starting at around 9 a.m.
- She weighs a good 250+ and wears short-shorts, stained Tshirts, and no bra
- She barely has any teeth left
- Her 13-ish son is the town juvey (and I watch the police follow him around in the summer)
- Once, when her son opened my door at the bookstore and shouted to me, "HEY YOU. GET ME SOME CANDY" I said, "Where are you parents?!?" His reply was to point across the street to the local pub.
So, imagine my surprise at her taking a political stand. I mean, HELLLOOO? This women is registered to VOTE? I didn't even know she could read, let alone know where to get a professional banner printed with a witty slogan.
Life in a small town is anything but dull.
(And, I'm afraid to learn what happened to those toilets...or IN those toilets).
OK. I've heard of this before, but they were talking about it on the news again a couple of nights ago so I have to address it.
Women are selling their breast milk.
TO OTHER PEOPLE.
NOT JUST MOMS FEEDING IT TO THEIR BABIES.
Apparently, there are breast milk fetishes (Feti?) - men who buy breast milk to drink (and do goodness only knows what else) because they, get this, get off on it.
I mean EW.
And some of these moms sell it to the men knowing what they are probably going to do with it.
According to the article, "Corral’s best customers so far are a mother who is unable to breastfeed and a man who enjoys drinking breast milk. She doesn’t mind selling to men and chose the online nickname of “hot mama milk” to attract attention. 'I think it’s gross,' she said about men who drink her breast milk, 'but if they enjoy it, fine.' ”
Double EW. (HELLLLOOO.."hot mama milk" - you perv)I don't even like using my husband's towel.
And we all know how I feel about using someone else's breast pump.
OK, whatever, but what about those moms that buy it to FEED IT TO THEIR BABIES?!? HELLLLOOOO...how do you know the person's health? Or drug habits? Or, what the person has been eating? Or, or, or...
Anyway, according to the article:
"Buying breast milk online--especially to give to babies--can be dangerous. Mary Rose Tully, who works for the Human Milk Banking Association of North America, said two to three women a week call her to ask whether it is safe to buy milk online. She tells them not to do it. Human milk can transmit all sorts of diseases, including HIV."
Are these the same parents who leave their kids in a car with the windows rolled up on a 98-degree day? Or, the ones who stuff their 10-month old in a play yard to hang themself on the strap?!?
I'm all for creative entrepreneurship, but HELLOOOO MCFLY! ANYONE HOME?!?
What's next? Breast Milk Bars on every corner right next to the Oxygen Bars & Hookah Lounges?!?!
Ugh. Sometimes I'm embarrassed to be part of the human race...
I was reading about "the most successful living animal painter" Tillie the Jack Russell Terrier on Brad Listi's blog. I had previously seen a segment on some news show about Tillie a few months ago (at which time my husband and I laughed hysterically at the absurdity). However, when I saw Brad's posting, I had a lightbulb moment.
So I get a nice little email with the subject line of "Welcome to the Nutella Website"! Now, I'm a fan of the creamy spread (although nothing, I repeat NOTHING, will EVER take the place of peanut butter so don't even go there...), so I'm thinking, "Why not read on and see what the nutty Nutella people are emailing me about?"
Here was the body of the email (edited for your imagination):
Nutella is just like any other girl at her age. She goes to university everyday but she is more interested in the boys than in classes. At the weekends she likes to go out with her friends, she loves dancing and often go to clubs. She used to be the type of innocent girl that dreams a lot with the perfect man but she got tired of waiting and decided to lose her virginity by the time she was 20.
You will also get access to hundreds of pics and movies of the sexiest barely legals showing off, master---ing, l---ing each other and making c---- happy.
Now THIS was an interesting marketing angle. The email immediately provoked a visit to the Nutella website where I read the FAQs with great interest. However, after the new email marketing campaign, I felt the answers were a little dated. So, I've taken it upon myself to update/amend the FAQs answers based on the clever new email marketing campaign (so obviously sent out by the REAL Nutella people *ahem*).
Amended Nutella FAQ Answers
What is Nutella?
Nutella is original, creamy, and a chocolaty hazelnut 20 year old.
What does Nutella spread taste like?
Although Nutella was designed to be deliciously unique creamy, chocolaty taste with a hint of that roasted nut flavor that will delight your taste buds as you enjoy each delicious mouthful, we suspect by now that she tastes something like an old tuna fish sandwich left in a puddle by a dirt road.
With chunks of trash.
And maybe some old gum.
How should Nutella be stored?
Nutella should be propped up in a chair (preferably close to a wall) in her Women's Feminism Issues college class until around 6 p.m. where she will miraculously spring forth and with astonishing clarity lead others to the nearest bar.
Please note-Try to keep Nutella away from heaters. Excessive heat will accelerate the loss of fresh flavor and may cause the oils found in Nutella to separate.
How do I know how fresh my Nutella is?
This is a tricky one, but we usually base it on how many days in a row she has been wearing the same micro mini and tube top. Our best guess is all should be discarded on or before day 10.
What can I eat Nutella with?
White Castles at 4 a.m. seem to be a big hit. Taco Bell drive thru for that "fourth meal" seems to work equally well.
Why does Nutella look like chocolate?
Our suspicion is that it has something to do with parental genetic code.
Where is Nutella made?
Nutella's parents were unavailable to answer this question at the time of printing.
Where can I buy Nutella?
To the best of our knowledge, Nutella has yet to move into this line of work. However, we've heard that if you start off buying her a fruity drink at TGI Fridays, then the evening looks pretty good for you.
Is there any caffeine in Nutella?
It depends on what she's had to drink/eat the night before...
I like to eat Nutella out of the jar with a spoon. Is that OK?
Hey, if you can fit her in there and she's into that, then it's A-OK with us (who are we to judge anyway!?!?).