I’ll admit it right now: I’m not one of those girly girls who shops for the pleasure of shopping or ‘just because.’ I don’t get it. I mean, you’re spending money that could be put to other things that are actually NECESSARY!
I don’t have the stereotypical fascination with shoes or makeups, either. As a kid, I was hard to shop for because—with the exception of the Barbie Corvette—I wasn’t into the ‘girly’ things.
Which makes the fact that some of my favorite stores have some of the GIRLIEST things I’ve ever seen.
Chocolate Chocolate Store.
There’s a store called the “Chocolate Chocolate Chocolate Factory.” It specializes in…chocolate. I realize that sounds a little obvious, but the fact is that this place specializes in the GOOD stuff—we’re talking the $5/pound stuff. I don’t go there often because I can and WILL eat an entire 1-lb brick of chocolate in a single sitting if you let me. The place also serves excellent chocolate-covered bacon—lean, meaty, applewood-smoked bacon coated in the smoothest mid-dark chocolate you’ve ever had. I can’t have it often but when I do, I savor it.
In the local mall, there’s a Teavana store now. It’s located in what used to be a Panera/St. Louis Bread Co. store. At first I was mad because the place had closed down that restaurant, and then I found out that there was a tea store coming. My first experience there was memorable. I was looking or something completely unrelated to tea when suddenly I smell this light, sweet and fruity scent. I literally follow my nose and before I know it I’m standing in front of a ‘free sample’ dispenser tasting things. Their tea isn’t cheap, but it’s one of the higher end places—the highest end brand is Republic of Tea, I believe.
I can’t go into Teavana and come out empty-handed. Even if it’s just a tin of tea cookies, I leave with something.
Huh? How much tea have I got? …I don’t have an hour to do inventory. I’ll guess that in total I have about 3 pounds of various kinds on hand. (Guesstimating up, here.)
World Market/Cost Plus.
Around here it’s World Market but in other places they go by Cost Plus. However you butter that piece of toast, it has a wonderful selection of international fare. This was the first place I ever went that carried Pocky. And if I remember right, this was one of the first places I ever cut classes to shop at (Yeah, I know, but it was a college course I was already doing well in—and then it turned out that class had been canceled anyway).
The place has saved me from several interesting craving situations. I can now have a Vegemite or Marmite sandwich WHENEVER I WANT. …now, granted, I usually just dunk a spoon in the stuff and eat it like a salty lollipop, but still. It’s also got some of the cutest dinnerware I’ve ever seen. As my hand-me-down plates slowly lose their structural integrity (Microwave a potato! Watch the plate explode!) I’ve begun planning on what I’m going to replace them with—all things that can be found here at World Market. In addition to food things, the place also has some of the coolest furniture I’ve ever seen. I have my eye on a minibar/standalone cabinet thing that I will PROBABLY not be able to afford this year, but ONE DAY *fistshake*
(I know the arcade doesn’t seem like a store but you spend your money to do things that normally don’t do. Ergo, store!)
I know what you’re thinking—There’s still arcades? But there are, even though there aren’t really a lot of them anymore. I usually go to arcades to play DDR (That’s Dance Dance Revolution, for the half-dozen of you who don’t know) because there’s just something about going there and cracking a few records. And even if you don’t crack a record, it’s kind of fun to showboat for the audience. (I do a badass “face the back of the machine when that last note pops” thing. Works better when I actually DON’T MISS the notes.) They also have some of the best racing games. I remember my first time playing Maximum Tune in the arcade, tricking out my vehicle and saving my records and junk on my Tuning card. A lot of those records still stand, even though the arcade that the machine was originally in has gone under.