Saturday, February 21, 2009

Missing Joe's Clothes

I, like you, want the economy to get back on track.
I, perhaps unlike you dear reader, have a disparate basis to wish some reasonable good fortunes in these troubled times:
I want my stores back!

I say this after just returning from my supermarket.
No, grocery store is probably a far better term, as there never has been anything "super" about my "No Frills" store.
Basic stuff. Not a huge choice or variety. You pay a nickel a bag if you really need one, or, like me, you bring your own. You fork out a quarter to borrow a cart.

There is no Kobe or Wagyu beef. There is not a sight or smell of sashimi or sushi. You won't find any fresh croissants. There also is no olive bar, fresh pasta bar, or Gelato bar to spend your hard earned bucks on.
It's no frills silly.
Basic stuff, good prices.
I figure on a big shop, my cart of goods cost $30 less than the national fancy chains that offer up steamed cups of lattes while you shuk and suck back their PEI Malpeque oysters that were just flown in for the weekly flyer.

No sir, this is no frills! But today it was NO carts, NO parking, No bananas left at $.59/lb. The line ups to cash out snaked all the way to the skids of no name coffee.

Here is my beef: I used to have a free run at the aisles. Pre- sub prime crash, I had at most, 2 people in line ups ahead of me.
Boom! It hit, and the good people got nervous.
They all started to come to my store!

Now I'm no financial guru. Nor did I have a crystal ball to foresee the times we are in. In fact I have been a frugal shopper for many years.
It just happens to be in vogue now!

I certainly don't mind sharing my neighborhood store, in fact I used to talk ad nauseam about it to fellow workers.
"Dave" they'd say
"They sell cheap food"
"It's not cheap" I would reply
"It's inexpensive"

I like nice clothes, nice labels and quality. I cringe at the prices, but believe in paying for quality.
Years ago I discovered an upscale mens second hand store. Nothing but top notch, high end stuff. But worn, at one time by someone with a much bigger line of credit than me, and taken to store to be sold at a fraction of the cost.
Boss, Prada, Gucci, Canali. All the wonderful labels that are lovely to look, lovely to hold........but never made it home because paying $600 for a sports jacket is just silly.

I discovered the store by chance, and fell in love with the $1,000 wardrobe I could own, for a couple of hundred bucks. I was even more delighted when I discovered that the local sports anchor at a big Toronto affiliate, was the same size as me.

It was an arrangement made in heaven.
One that would put me in Canali, Boss, Prada and the likes for next to nothing, for the next fifteen years!
Top quality 100% cotton men's dress shirts, some even monogrammed with cool initials not even close to mine, for $18 a pop! Designer jeans that boy toys played in whilst yauching I suspect, could be snagged for under $25.

You see, being on television nightly in the biggest market in Canada, Joe and the likes of his ilk were given top labels in exchange for promotional consideration.
"Joe_______'s wardrobe provided by Harry_____. clothier to gentlemen".
It should of continued with...
"and eventually given a good home and worn by David P"

Joe got new duds every month.
Joe was smart.
Joe did not make a million bucks.
Sure, Joe was the 11 o'clock sports guy on a big station.
Still, it's not New York. Toronto affiliates do not pay much.

Joe would take his nice stuff in to "my second hand store" at the end of each month. The owner of the store knew that Joe and I were both a size 42. So Steve, the owner would phone me.
I would race down to pick up my new $750 jacket and pants for about $170.
Joe, the sports guy, got 50% of the consignment deal, and nicely augmented his income.
It made all three parties happy!

Anyway, so I go deaf and go on long term disability. I spend the next five hundred days dressed in old Nike and New Balance pants, that I would nicely coordinate with shirts given away at the Half marathons I ran in.
The economy tanks while I was napping and the world discovered my secret store.
And Joes clothes.

I go back to work four weeks ago, but prior to my revival in the work place, I figure my clothes need a restoration that might go by the name of Canali or Prada.
I drive in to the tiny plaza that houses the clothing replay store.
Steve, the owner who I have been seeing for over fifteen teen years, looks a little shocked to see me.

"Dave, great to see you, but I don't have anything in your size" Steve exclaims.
"What about Joe's clothes?" I inquire with a little pissiness in my voice.
"Got a waiting list a mile long" he informs.

My second hand furniture store has line ups now.
My clothing guy can't get me in Joe's old/new clothes any more.
No Frills has gone viral, and I can't even park.
The cheese guy who sold wonderful cheeses out of a warehouse in an industrial park now has a waiting list.
The baker that sold hot lovely bread from a stall in a parking garage, has more business than bread.

So you see my dilemma. The economy tanks and the world discovers my world of inexpensive luxury, and good value that I have been a patron of for twenty years in many cases.

I want things to get better so I can get back to being cheap again.

I want Joe's clothes again!




themom said...

I totally see the same thing here in Ohio. We have an Aldy's "no frill" grocery store, same as you - quarter for the buggy, nickel a brand names at all - and very hard to get into these days.

Annieofbluegables said...

What a RIP. I am sorry you no longer can get Joe's clothes. bummer

Sylvia K said...

Seems it's happening everywhere! Hope you get back to Joe's clothes soon, not to mention that grocery store! sounds like my kind of place!

Tom Hannon said...

Yeah! Brother from another mother! Can’t recall last time I paid retail for anything! High school days in da ‘60’s found me in a downtown department store basement buying discounted un-hemmed button-fly 501’s, da real McCoy’s made in my City by da bay.

Fast forward to ‘80’s wife working same store now with 30% discount plus another 20% on Employee Appreciation Day after sale price! Outta da basement into the clothing lounge where guys lite in da loafers attended me royalty for less than half MSR. See me in furniture department eyeballing solid oak USA bedroom set, tall dresser (mine), low dresser (wife’s), TV console dresser (TV mine, drawers wife’s), platform bed drawers underneath (his & hers), mirrored light bar behind and, ya guessed it, more drawers! Wife chokes writing check, I do math; 20% sale price -30% -20%, free S&H, free delivery, free setup – I write da check, no choking! Over 20 years later, still got it, still fighting for drawers!

Best deal was $1K video camera in the late ‘80’s -sale -20% on electronics, write check, armored car robbed that night, check gone! Oh, those were the days!

Today it is Asian markets for cheap clams, cheaper squid, live fish & crustaceans, no sickly chickens or funny cows please. Plentiful exotic fruits & veggies prices unheard of at supermarket!

Got two ripe pears chillin’ in ice box waiting for TV tonite, cost .50USD (.63CAD) each!

~Tom : Deaf 10.2006 : CI-Borg 09.2007 : Luminoid 05.2008 :

joanne said...

same thing here and I don't see it getting any better soon. It just sucks when everybody finds your best places...hope they clear out for you soon..;)

Sarah Lulu said...

G'day ... Really enjoyed so much your story of Joe's Missing Clothes.

AND ...I have Meniere's disease and often quite often ...such bad balance, very similar to being on a boat standing up with a rocky sea.

I have learnt (over the last 20 years) to adapt ...I'm like a very good sailor now haha...

I hope to read more of what you write.

Sarah Lulu

bobbie said...

Everyone is jumping on the bandwagon that you and I have known for years. Wouldn't it be nice for the whole world though, if they all continued to appreciate these things even after the terrible times we are experiencing are over? I'll bet they won't. They'll go right back to wasteful ways, and we will once again be happy.

Anonymous said...

Oh what a pain re Joe's Clothes. Such a good arrangement.

I don't really notice all these things cos I have no real interest in clothes. My sons do nag for Quiksilver things but I have always managed to get stuff on Ebay.

But food is definitely more expensive.

I am noticing the difference being here - the exchange rate is so awful that it is costing me a fortune living here but earning pounds rather than Australian Dollars.

Flea said...

Thanks for popping by my blog, Dave!

I'm a cheap shopper as well. Your grocery sounds like our Aldi, which is where I grocery shop almost exclusively. Fortunately the lines haven't run out the door yet here. Here's hoping things turn around in the economy. It really sucks.

Ramblings of a Villas Girl said...

Hi Dave! I tend to shop the same way. I don't call myself cheap, but frugul. It is frustrating that most people are invading our space now, but times and the economy will change. They will go back to spending the big bucks and keep the economy going. Then we get our stores back. All in good time my friend. Lisa

Jan D-M said...

This post is so funny! We shop the same (although I probably wouldn't buy Prada unless I found them at Goodwill). I've noticed the cars at Aldi's are quite a step up from the ones I normally would see in the parking lot. A few years ago, I was in line at Aldi's when a colleague of mine came in. He looked so embarrassed to see me there and mumbled something about coming in to get chocolate chips for his wife.

I've shopped since high school at Salvation Army, Goodwill, and church rummage sales. I would get some very disgusted looks when someone would compliment an outfit and I would tell them where I got it. Tough. There is SUCH a thrill in getting an amazing bargain. I've always been a clearance rack shopper because I refuse to pay full price for anything. Fun, fun, fun.

Anyway, Dave, I'm sorry Joe's clothes aren't as easily accessible for ya. Just another thing for you to contend with. God sometimes has a rotten sense of humor. :)

Anonymous said...

Quarter for the cart, nickel for the bag... that was our life in Germany. (well, okay, it was 1DM for the kart) but I still wish they would make it that way in the US (no more loose buggies in the parking lot, denting up cars!!) Sounds like an Aldi!

Those of us who are frugal can only hope that the big spenders will go back to their ways when the High Life becomes possible once again.

david mcmahon said...

Came here from Daryl's blog and you got my attention immediately.

A waiting list a mile long - it's that kind of story all round the world now, isn't it?

lisahgolden said...

We're seeing it here, too. The 2nd hand clothing store is wildly crowded on half price Wednesdays.

I'm still spending to much on groceries because our local Aldis closed and I'd rather do without than shop at the WalMart. I go to a local grocery or a regional one.

Government Funded Blogger said...

Great post,Dave.
Its a big battle here between the Wally Supercenter and Harry's No Frills where we shop and us grocery shoppers are the winners.

xxx said...

Hi I'm just having a bit of an evening of blog hopping and fortunately for me I've landed on you.
I like your blog and intend to return with some more reading time.
I need to hop along now.
Best wishes

La Belette Rouge said...

I stopped at Whole Foods( Whole Paycheck) for broccoli last night and $55 later I left with a bit of cheese, some nuts, 3 crowns of broccoli and a Vanity Fair.

dellgirl said...

Good grief! Highway robbery at its finest...a nickel a bag and a quarter to haul your stuff out...makes you want to start your own garden and raise a heard of cattle, no less.

dellgirl said...

Oops!!! a 'herd' not a 'heard'

Sorry about that. I got discombobulated with all the high prices!

Bunchy said...

Trying to finally catch up on my blog reading. And I hear you, man. Look at the bright side, though...maybe you can plan to strike up friendly conversations and get more readers!! Hey, it's a thought!

John D. said...

It sucks when private little treasures jump the shark. : /

Mary Ellen said...

I have similar feelings. I have worked at LL Bean during the holiday season for the last 13 years, not for the money I make, but because of the cheap shopping opportunity. Employees get a great discount (33%) off new items from the catalog or store and smaller discount (25%) off factory outlet items. BUT the best part is the employee-only store, where all returned merchandise goes. At this magical place, all shirts and pants are $2, shoes are $3-10, boots are $5-15 and everything else is ridiculously discounted at about 10 cents on the dollar. I got a hand-braided rug for $4, luggage for $5, down comforters for $7. We have two tents that together cost less than $25. Since I'm more of an outdoorsy, casual person, it's like Disneyland to me.

Let's hope things get back to normal soon!

Nature Girl said...

I think I'm in the wrong racket...I need to open up a used goods store!


Anonymous said...

I feel ya Dave.

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