Sunday, June 17, 2007

Nice little article in the San Francisco Chronicle today on my honey's workplace, Diesel, a Bookstore.

While I would have liked a little more concrete discussion about why people should shop at local businesses (community character, supporting your local economy, ethical consumerism, and how all of that ultimately protects your interests, etc.), I am impressed that an independent, local shop is getting ink in one of the biggest newspapers in the country. And I suppose it is an article in the business section -- not so much a place to proselytize.

But I am happy at the very least that the guts of how a small business works is being conveyed to consumers. The real in and out, everyday workings of a small business is an important piece of the puzzle in educating consumers about the difference between a place like Diesel and a place like Borders or Barnes and Noble.

Now just get the piece out of the business section and into the parts of the paper people actually read!

For me, the importance of knowing how a small business must conduct itself is this: I still find it funny that it isn't common sense -- and that small businesses have to defend -- why they can't offer the same deep discounts as Amazon or why they don't have every fucking thing under the sun in stock. I am blown away by how annoyed customers get when something not in stock is offered as a special order, or in the case of a bookstore, questions are asked of the customer and something else is suggested. It's like for those folks, customer service only matters when they want to complain.

Amazing to me too is a debate that periodically rages in my hometown paper's Letters to the Editor as to why a local hardware store (that provides benefits and a living wage for knowledgable employees and doesn't have bulk-buying power) charges a dollar more than Lowes or Home Depot for the same piece of lumber or whatever. Duh. And oh so related, I am equally shocked at how often some consumers act like they are getting one over on the little guy by getting it cheaper or without waiting for a special order at the megachain -- like the local shop was trying to fuck the consumer over and "they showed them." Right.

Recently, my friend and super manga expert, Domi, who works at local comic purveyor Dr. Comics and Mr. Games related her funny big chain bookstore manga experience. Crouched down in the children's manga section, checking out the competition's wares, she found amongst the Doraemon and other such kiddie fare many sexually explicit yaoi and other adult manga. Shocked, she pulled them all out and took them to the counter. Thumbing through them to illustrate why they shouldn't be housed in the children's manga, she was told to put them back in the section because that is where "the manager told us to put them."

Hmmmm, okay. I think I'd rather pay that dollar more to a business where the employee is more likely given the freedom to think and use common sense, and therefore hopefully invest themselves in their employer, stock, and customers. Sheesh.

Alright, this is spiraling into a diatribe of black-hole ickiness. Let's lighten the mood, shall we?


I'm loving Sex in a Can. Only in Asia, baby. Or possibly a Tijuana pharmacy.

And in the era of the 3 ounce only rule and cavity searches, Violet Blue tells us how to safely fly with your sex toys.


Ever notice how much the new Blonde Redhead sounds like Lush? The hubby just put it on and I thought it was Miki and Co.

NP: Grinderman. Slow to pick this up because of all the hype, though I heart Nick Cave (I even heart his child molester moustache). I am not disappointed. Brilliant, as hyped. Definitely reminiscient of The Birthday Party, but less chaotic or bewildered in its longing and vitriol. There's an understanding there, finally. Still primal, yet seasoned. Superb.

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