Thursday, November 19, 2009

Earth Fare Customer Service Improving?

Today marks about the third time in the past couple of months that I've noticed the people working in Earth Fare are being nice. Not only that, they're being helpful.

After seeing Dr. Ann speak at Heathwood the other week, I decided there are mos def some changes that need to be made to my diet. As part of this kick, I am embracing vegetable juice. No, not V8, but the for-real, freshly-made stuff. So last week I went to Earth Fare and the young woman behind the juice bar counter actually advised me on what to order. Her tip, Zesty Carrot, is my new fave. It has carrots, beets, celery, wheatgrass and other stuff. It has just enough bite that the flavor is more appealing than gross. Here it is:

Isn't the color zippy? It makes me feel so good and I've unofficially decided that I am going to drink one of these each week in hopes of keeping the flu away this season. I'll keep you posted on that one.

So I'm back at Earth Fare today and there's a different person behind the juice counter who is, again, nice. Plus, there's a massage chair right by the lunch food area and apparently massages are $1.00. Not too sure how relaxed you can get for this price, but hey, it seems like this store is finally understanding that if they don't shape up, they'll be shipped out.

Tuesday, November 17, 2009

Caroline's Carolina Closet in Columbia, South Carolina

Seriously, people, we have GOT to come together and get much more creative on how we're naming our businesses in this town. If I see one more marketing firm, tire store, masseuse or doctor's office with any of the following words in its name, it's over.

- Palmetto: its our state tree, I know. I have one in my front yard and loathe it. What's more, I think it's dying.

- Carolinas: I guess this is some sort of attempt to be lumped in with North Carolina and therefore gain some sort of legitimacy?

- Columbia: oh, is that where we are? I had forgotten.

- Southern: again, I realize we're in the South, y'all.

Friday, November 13, 2009

Consumer As Employee

Since no one has sent me any new French bulldog photos, I've decided this Friday is Deep Thoughts Friday. Here goes.

On the one hand I am extremely thankful for all the user forums I find online that help me with Google Apps, Wordpress, my new Droid phone, my new magic mouse -- basically, all the technology I use in my life; but on the other hand, I'm starting to get a little resentful that we consumers need to be doing everything for these brands. We blog for their advertising/marketing/branding, we answer people's questions for their customer service...doesn't it stand to reason that we should be getting their products for free for all this work we're doing on their behalf?

Of course that question leads us to what many people consider the "negative" side of blogging. Indeed many bloggers DO receive a lot of products for free in exchange for writing about them online. Considering this blog has always been for me and my ten friends (or as JK would say for comic emphasis, me and my eleven friends), I have the free and clear luxury of always saying what I actually truly think about a product or brand. And there are plenty of blogs or websites that do, in fact, rate products based on their prescribed system no matter how they came to receive the product. Still there are plenty of online properties that aren't really telling you the most unbiased POV on a product or service simply due to the kick-backs they're receiving from the source.

So what's a reader to do? I guess the answer is to be discerning in the online content you read and absorb -- as discerning as you are when you choose to actually buy something. In today's world where we obtain so much information online, it ends up being a tricky balance of real/fluff and good/evil, not only for the brands working so hard to keep the new highly-verbal consumer satisfied, but it's also very hard for us as consumers ourselves to weed through fellow-consumer content. Good luck, my dears!

Thursday, November 12, 2009

Charleston, SC - That's Chuckles, To You

While it's absolutely lovely to drive for just a little over an hour to Charlotte, NC, to get one's shop on (i.e., mine), Charleston, SC is where it's at because you can also get your city life on.

It's evolved into a little bit of a routine which so far hasn't gotten stale for me: EJ wakes up hella early in order to surf at Folly Beach (Editor's Note: this was before the "accident," i.e. a broken clavicle bone. Ouch!). Then I head down late-morning and cruise around the city until we meet up in the late-afternoon. The following outlines my route.

City Lights Coffee - this shop off the corner of Market and King Streets (on Market itself) is a great way to juice yourself up with well-caffeinated joe before a day of hoofing it to all the shops on King.

King Street - so then I make the rounds between the "mall stores" (Saks, Banana, J.Crew, Urban Outfitters, and occasionally Nine West and Benetton) and the privately-owned boutiques (V2V, Copper Penny, Copper Penny Shooz, Hampden Clothing, Worthwhile).

Culture - every so often it's important to pepper some culture in with the shopping blitz. The other weekend we went down for Kulture Klash which is HOT and makes you feel like our neck of the woods can rival NYC, LA, etc. The Klash takes place in a big space in North Chuckles with walls covered in visual pop art. Bands, DJs and dance circles fill up the space throughout the night. Dirt bike (2009) or skateboard (2008) demos go on outside. If you've never been, it's worth checking out. I think going twice (thrice for EJ) is enough to get the point, but local art should be supported no matter what.

That same weekend I was able to check out the Daufuskie Island photography exhibition at Gibbes Museum of Art. Jeanne Moutoussamy-Ashe is the photographer (Arthur Ashe was proud to call her his wife) and my latest fascination. Here's a shot from the exhibition at Gibbes.

Eating - Hello! Charleston isn't known as the foodie capital of the south for no reason. There are a ton of great spots to eat -- and eating is a very important element of shopping and walking the streets -- but my current faves are La Fourchette, FIG, Monza and Taco Boy. If you're feeling super-slurgy, McCrady's is the business. When we were in town for Kulture Klash we checked out a very new place, thanks to the Harrisons, called Amen Street Fish and Raw Bar. Fresh seafood = delish.

In summary, I sincerely thank you, Charleston, for being just two hours away. And I'm sorry, Columbia, but our proximity to a city like that is indeed a bonus.

Sunday, November 01, 2009

Shopping For A New Mobile Phone

The Refresh Columbia peeps informed me last week I should get a Droid Phone. In addition to the fact that I love the name, it seems comparable, if not "better" than the iPhone. So I believe it is decided that if I can find one for sale in Columbia, I will be switching providers and buying a new phone in exactly eleven days, and counting.

Check out this most helpful 'Total Cost of Ownership' table on a blog called Bill Shrink. Hello, how can you not love this resource? This is the tops.

Motorola Droid vs iPhone 3GS vs Palm Pre

Find the best cell phone plans and more graphics at