Tuesday, November 9, 2010

Wishing you a Good Trip

Have I mentioned that I am a bit of a freak-magnet? Oh, right, that is my motto...

today was as every other day: freaks gravitating to me and asking for things that I either can't get or have no intention of carrying. And then there was the very sweet guy who had asked about books of celtic design -- more along the lines of a coffee table volume than the intro to drawing celtic knots books I am able to get. I was busy with another customer and the phone was ringing while I was telling him what I would be able to get. He had already been in here before and we had talked about my being an archaeologist who had studied, among other things, the Iron Age. He asked me if I was also interested in the spiritual aspects of Celtic Studies -- I am, honestly, but not when the phone is ringing and someone wants me to ring them up :) He left his card and told me to give him a call if I am interested in an interesting academic, yet spiritual discussion. You know, in my free time... He is living on the outskirts of Dresden at the moment in a trailor in nature. As he left, he bowed with his hands pressed together and told me that if we don't meet again that he wishes me a good trip. Oh how I hope some of his peace and happiness rubbed off on me ;)

Aside from that, I have been busy: ordering books, labeling and stocking xmas goods, calculating prices for the American delivery that is taking forever and a day. I am about to get ugly with someone for jerking me around and making this delivery an absolute catastrophe. So much for the Halloween candy :/ I just hope it gets through customs soon -- there are Thanksgiving products in it. Boo!

Right. It is almost closing time and I need to get out of here quickly to do some handmade shopping and then I am meeting my two ninjas (think 3 amigos, but ninjas, that is us) for dinner and drinks. Hurrah!

Tuesday, October 26, 2010

Good Golly!

This is going to be a bit of a rant now, but I have to stop a second while I help an odd duck of a customer. Finished with the odd duck, boy was my 1st impression right on :D

My rant: people, if you expect to pay 1:1 prices of what you pay in the UK or in the US (or Australian, New Zealand, South Africa, tropical islands, whatever).... then please do not come into my shop and complain about my prices. Before you do that, surf the internet, check out the prices at online dealers. Go into Karstadt, check out their prices. THEN come into my shop -- you will immediately see that I am too damn nice and that I probably *could* be marking my goods up even more. If you want to fly or drive to the UK, go for it. Here is another little tip, though: I have been told that my Twinings tea is probably a bit cheaper than in supermarkets over there at the moment. Yeah, put that in your pocket, dude.

For the most part, my job is fun, I make a lot of people really happy. Like do a little jig in my shop happy. Yes, it has happened! But still, I do let these few people who complain get to me. I know I shouldn't... I guess I just worked so hard on my pricing and comparing costs and prices that it just hits me a bit low.

Yesterday with the kids was actually okay. They got a bit loud a few times, but kept themselves busy most of the time. They actually asked to be able to take a nap! S fell asleep really quickly, A needed a bit longer, but did doze off within 15 minutes of snuggling into his gnome covers. Ha! A group of young people woke them up after about an hour or so, though. They were both pretty sleepy last night.

So, off to try to make more people happy...

Monday, October 25, 2010

It has been a long long time

I have been neglecting this poor blog of mine. Today is a great day to start using it again.
I have my two youngest kidlets in the shop today, I am sure I will have a bit to say about that....
And I want to share a fantastic chance for local Dresdeners to win something cool for their kids from one of my favorite shops here in the neighborhood: Catapult!

http://blog.catapult.de/liebeserklaerung-an-einen-maulwurf/#comments

Check it out and enter to win. I will update my adventures with a 4 yr old and nearly 6 yr old in the shop all day a bit later. Right now I need to get ready to open my doors for the day ;)
Over and out.
For now...

Been a SUPER busy day today. The sprogs actually slept for a bit (pictures will be added when I get home ;)), but then a group of young people came in who were a bit loud and woke the poor doodles up. This group that came in is a story for another day and maybe another dimension.

On a good note, my dearest friends - T & P (no, not TP) came in today which made me so happy and reminded me of how very damn lucky I am to have them. Truly turtly truly. They are as kooky as I am. No, really!

On a less that stellar note: we thought we had lost our two big boys. When the hubster got home from work today they should have been home with a friend of J's. The friend was there, but J and L were not to be found. Ugh. Turns out, they pulled a doofy and went to someone else's house, even though they had invited someone over. Needless to say, there will be a stop to visitation rights at and from friends for a bit. Panic is an awful feeling.

After a quick trip down the street to the yarn shop I am feeling a bit better. A bit more zen. The feared competition around the corner may not be competition, after all, but a compliment to me and my shop.

Right, need to get things picked up around the shop so that I can skeedaddle as soon as I have counted out the till. Home to a hot bath, a piece of cake, plying my handspun yarn. Then bed. Bliss.

Thursday, September 2, 2010

The Perks

This gig here, my shop, has a few small perks, but also a few fantastic perks. Like meeting all kinds of foreign artists living here and working in the states opera house. this week alone i have had 6 ballet dancers, a violinist and an opera singer. Really! They are so nice and really funny about some foods. Flipping out at the sheer sight of chocolate chips. Whoa.

Okay, I was going to write a lot more, but am freaking out a bit. For the first time since I opened the shop I felt scared by a customer. For the most part my customers are sweet, silly people either expats or people who have travelled. Absolutely harmless. An Arabian or Turkish guy just came in, though, and asked for a large bag and then with broken German asked about honey. I explained I don't have honey, but told him where to get some. When I finally got it across to him he grabbed me in a hug and gave me a big wet kiss on the forehead. He kept telling me I am a beautiful woman and asked my name and was just very very creepy :/ I need to work on my bad-ass look. Like really really work on it!

Sunday, August 29, 2010

Blog Lazies

Well look at that! The blog-lazies have already hit. I won't admit to being totally lazy, though. I will hide behind the fa├žade of having had a busy week last week. Sounds much more business-like.

On the topic of business like and abilities: I have been having a good laugh (with customers, to boot) in the last week over the fact that I am so not the business type. I am a cultural historian, really, with a side of language and literature. How on earth did I come to owning a business? It boggles my mind on more levels than I am willing to admit. And, much to my disdain, I am STILL waiting on the first 4 months payment of my state funding. I will continue to call *those people* until I get it. By then, they will probably owe me for the first 5 months. Boo. I need the money to be able to buy more shelving and to finance another American order -- and SOON!

This past week was filled with waiting for my 2nd order to arrive from the UK and then dealing with the order, itself. I was told it would arrive Monday or Tuesday. Tuesday afternoon I received a measly 1 small pallet -- with my specialty goods. That was dealt with quickly. I asked where the other pallet was and no one knew. It must have been hiding, but luckily they did find it and were able to deliver it on Wednesday. In the end, I think it was better to have them arrive on different days, as the work of off-loading the pallets was split. By Thursday morning everything was in the shelves both in shop and in storeroom and the boxes were broken down.

I am already selling out of items again, though. It just amazes me to see what flies out the door! I received a case of no-name root beer on Wednesday and by Saturday I was down to 4 cans. Seriously? The first time around it took 2 weeks to sell that much. Dr. Pepper: a third of my case gone in the same amount of time. People seem to realize how quickly some items sell out now and have begun hoarding. They come into the shop, look left and right with beady eyes, grab armfulls of their food-crack and shuffle quickly to the check-out counter all the while protecting their stash from the wandering eyes of others. Maybe I should install a privacy shield around the counter...

Aside from that, things are really moving, especially for just completing my first month of business. I spent the morning putting together 3 smaller orders -- 2 from smaller distributors in Germany and mostly for drinks. The dire need for things like Dr. Pepper, A&W Rootbeer, Mountain Dew, Welch's Grape Soda, British Ales and Ciders is ever growing and I need fodder for the masses. I also am finally ready to place an order for hot sauces and such from an American company.

And let us not forget all of my Aussie customers / Australia fans who see that I have Vegemite and come in begging for *just.one.package* of Tim Tams or Cherry Ripe. It is beyond funny what these people are willing to do to get them! I think if I asked for their first-born that some would actually trade.

For the most part, I have fabulous customers, there are a few that make my head spin, though. They find my selection of 400 products (give or take) and books too small and need about a gazillion other items that I cannot or do not want to get. I am sorry, but I can only cater to so many different tastes. These types make my day less than brilliant -- fortunately they are not many.

I think that is as much as I can manage to write today. Once I get my orders placed this week, I should be able to think about writing again. Until then, I will try to keep my stories fresh in my mind.

No promises.

Thursday, August 19, 2010

Holy Booksales, Batman

Today is a much better day than the last few have been -- largely due to a nice Aussie who came in and bought a number of kiddie books. He works with kids in a preschool and needed some new reading material. Cool. He also gave me some great suggestions for other books to buy for the shop. Then I sold the Delia cookbook and had to laugh thinking about the Librarian and her Delia impersonation, Ha! And a nice little French lass who is a bit of an Anglophile and who needed some more reading materials. A very sweet young lady.

My british order will be here Monday or Tuesday of next week already! Hurrah, there have been several people just coming in for Salt & Vinegar Crisps that have left disappointedly. Well, then, soon they won't be disappointed ;) They will be happy as maggots on day old dinner.

Have had some more interesting people in looking for the American cult products from films. It totally cracks me up, but hey ho! They usually come back to try something out that they saw the first time. I'm good with that.

I am still trying to check prices and decide who I am going to order a few soft drinks and other stuff from. I have 2 German distributors I can work with -- not the greatest prices, but not the worst, either. And they have important stuff like ales, cider, pumpkin, dr. pepper, root beer, mt. dew. blach :P

Wednesday, August 18, 2010

d-day

danananana





I used to have this flick memorized. Seriously. And all of the other films Molly Ringwald made. Bombastic.

I will update this later from work, but wanted to get the video uploaded.
I never got around to updating this, but will start a new entry in a bit with more of an update ;)

Tuesday, August 17, 2010

Getting Help

My business consultants got me some help with marketing my shop better in the sense of window presentation and ways of tying the outside in with the inside. So Mr. Marketing-Dude came by this morning to check things out and make some suggestions about what can be done to make everything look more polished. He had some interesting ideas and I will see what he suggests in a few days and what kind of costs I am looking at. For one thing he wants to do some window plotting. He was also talking about doing some painting in the shop itself. He asked if I am artsy at all. Ehhh, not sure.

Aside from that... I have had a few slowish days, but this evening it suddenly picked up in the last half hour and it was fun chatting with people and making some sales.

I am beginning to get more repeat customers. My redhead fan comes in pretty much daily. Today 2 Irish guys that have always come in singly were in together and it was a bit surreal to see them together. Then there is the cute Ireland fan, so boyish and sweet, teehee. Oh, I had my first Kiwi today, so fun! And a Mexican with long hair.

Then this crazy woman with huge dogs came in... like huge! They used my bathroom. All of them. And the woman had on shiny shoes. I admit it, I was a bit jealous. Something so familiar about her ;)

As my Jedi-friend asked for more pictures, I have a few to offer up here: This is my newly furnished basement. Dr. Dude put my shelves up over the weekend -- so organized and emptying quickly!










Saturday, August 14, 2010

Dum Di Do Di Doo

It has been a slow few days here. Yesterday was downright ugly slow and I hope I will not have too many of those days. And on the day I placed a 2000€ order to boot. Noice. So yeah, slow pickings in the shop, but I was able to finish my British order -- though I found out they won't export alcohol to me :( Boo hoo. I was counting on the beer and cider. Then I place a good sized book order that should be here on monday. Hurrah!

Aside from that, I have great shop windows through which I can watch amazing things. Like a young guy licking an ice cream cone in a manner I was not prepared to watch. I felt like I needed to bleach my brain or eyes afterwards. Hallelujah! Hawt. Today brought me a nose-picker. Less than sizzle, really. Maybe I need to install some hidden cameras...

Will continue this later -- The dude and the kidlets will be here soon. Dude is going to put my new storeroom shelves together and I am going to drive the kidlets home. May the force be with me behind the wheel...

The outlaws are arriving tomorrow and bringing my number 3 back home. Yay! I have missed him something fierce. He tells me over the phone how much he misses me. What a charmer. It should be an interesting week. I really need to use it to find another babysitter for Tuesdays since me 1st is no longer available. There is a Spanish lady who would love to help out, but there is something kind of off about her. So I will go through other channels in my search and hope for the best. Right now I need to get the house picked up a bit -- just enough so that the outlaws think I can run a house and a shop. Not enough that they don't feel moved to do a proper cleaning, though *whistle*

Happy weekend.

Thursday, August 12, 2010

Fan Club

Yeah, I have a fan club. Consisting of a 6th grade boy with long red hair. He comes by daily to make sure a certain book is still instock -- he plans on getting it for his little brother for Xmas or Nikolaus. What a nice brother!

I spent most of the day putting together my next order for the British distributor. I finally e-mailed it off at 5pm, which is 4pm in the UK and probably won't get processed until tomorrow. It was almost as hard to put this order together as it was my first order. It is done, though, and now I wait for the proforma to come through to sign and return. Then pay (yikes) and hopefully have my goods in the next 2 weeks or so. That would rock.

I also finished putting my book order together, but will wait to send that off until tomorrow morning. I still need to place yet another order or two depending on finances next week or the week after, but there are already several holes that need to be filled!

Today was super slow and I am almost afraid to close out the register and see how little there was on intake today. I am sure the storm this afternoon didn't help. Amazingly, most of my customers today seemed to be in their right minds. It was nice! ;)

Closing time is nearing, I need to get my stuff put together so I can go home quickly. I need to go to bed early tonight. I didn't get much sleep last night and feel like I am kinda dream-walking today. Fogbrain.

Wednesday, August 11, 2010

this is going to be short and sweet and without capital letters today. why? it is 6:36 pm and i am just getting around to writing something.
i spent the boring part of the morning restocking and have had steady streams of lookers, visitors and buyers and friends from the past (wow!).
lucky charms are sold out now, too. scary stuff people!
feeling a bit crack-knackered today.
funny customer of the day: a young american guy -- end teens / early 20s, been in the country long enough to have a slight accent when speaking english. he was jonesing so bad for rootbeer that he made me promise to e-mail him when i get some in :D he is leaving the country beginning of september to study abroad (still europe) and wants it before he leaves.
i think i will need to make a big sign or flag to put out when the salt and vinegar chips are back in stock. can you say *addiction*? SOOOOOOOO many people want the, i think i will quadruple my original order to make it until october ;)

okay, over and out. i think i am going out tonight.

Tuesday, August 10, 2010

I do wonder

I wonder about some people. The guy with the stick came in again today and I thought it would be another long drawn out process of him talking to himself and me and my trying to figure out what was what. Him talking to the products, etc. Nope, he came in and checked out the raspberry fluff then went straight to the cherry jello and bought a package of that. On the way out he laughed super loud and said *Hendrix* -- I was listening to Hendrix. So, while I didn't think he was quite in his mind, he apparently is. I stand corrected and won't be afraid when / if he comes in again...

It has mostly been slow today. A few people stopping by to see what I have. Others coming in with a mission in mind (pancake mix, sweets). And I can't get around it, i MUST place an order within the next week. It is just hard to concentrate on lists and check pricing and such while I have customers. At the same time I am too K.O. in the evenings when I close to work on it.

I have actually made some progress with my order today. I think I have most of the *normal* stuff. My specialty line is not full enough, yet, for the order. I am too far from the minimum so need to tack on a few more cases.

One thing I realize: I can't forget to bring lunch again. I forgot today -- had doc appts for 2 of the imps -- and I drank so much that I had to constantly pee. I don't want to pull junk food off the shelves to eat. I opened a package of fig rolls and had 2 of them and put the rest on a plate for customers to try :D I had a yellow paprika sitting out, too, and ate that. And then I started working on my pepper plant again. Hehe. But, yeah, tomorrow I am bringing a sammy.

Lots of other and interesting customers today -- word is out that I am here and people love me already.
What more can a gurrrrl ask for? ;)

Monday, August 9, 2010

monday monday

I have been quiet for a few days. Lots going on at home and just a bit tired. I feel like my stress is catching up with me and starting to wear me down. I will NOT let that happen, though. I am strong ;)

Today has been good for the most part. I did get an e-mail from my Latvian guy that I had get my stuff through the customs and from Hamburg to Dresden. He says he did not get my 2nd wire transfer -- 615 Euros. Um hello, I sent it on July 23rd and it should have been there by now. He got my first payment and I used it as a basis for the 2nd. If the first got there, the 2nd should have, too. So is he trying to lay one on me? Ugh! I don't want to deal with this.

I need to get an order together for my British distributor -- I have run out of a number of things. Eeps! I know it is a good thing, but really. Yikes, I have only been open for 2 weeks! Good thing business is going well. I will probably not get a full order together and have to pay a small amount extra for not making minimums. It shouldnt make a huge difference in pricing, though.

Today was another odd customer day: most unashamedly was a German guy who, while knowing he was in the presence of 2 Americans, began bashing Americans for their language and went on and on about how much better the British are. Like, really. Oh the Americans talk so horribly, I want to only learn British English and ladabadlaeioadsfoik ..... OKAY! I get it, I suck. Thanks. After I pointed out how diverse the German language is with its dialects and such, he seemed to understand the point that there are many ways of speaking lots of languages... And I showed him that non-Germans can speak just as clean a German as natives. :P Take that Mr. Sauerkraut!

Then I got a hottie in the shop with long hair. Ahhh, made up for the uncomfortable conversation with the other bloke.

And I got to visit with two friends, one of which is one of my very favorite people. Made today a good day :D It is already after 5 pm -- less than 2 hours left before closing and while I will be glad to go home and have a bath, I had a really nice day today. Friends are so important and I realized that again today.

And did I mention I have tunes??? Yes, finally music without having to constantly hit the button. Wadadadadadoo!

Friday, August 6, 2010

Dreary Day


I didn't feel like writing anything yesterday. I was busy taking inventory because the realisation I have come to is that I have to order again soon. I am out of root beer and hickory bbq sauce; almost out of Lucky Charms, Skittles and Dr. Pepper. Getting low on lots of other stuff, as well. This is scary! I thought I would be able to wait a bit, but nope. I will start putting my order together in the next few days.

First, I have to get through this weekend. My big boy is in the shop with me today *helping out* -- summer care is officially over and school starts on Monday. Tomorrow morning is the big hullabaloo for kids starting 1st grade this year... Like my youngest. He is excited and while I am excited for him, it is also a bit of a *wow* thing in that it means he is SEVEN. So yeah, still have stuff to do for that tonight (someone remind me to take the good scissors home, please).

I have had a wish for a certain hot sauce and think I may try to order a few to see how they go. They look interesting. Not that I have space or anything... This weekend we need to finally get storage shelves up and maybe I will even remember to get a foot matt for in front of the door. Hurrah.

The weather is a bit off today (rainy and grey), I hope things will pick up a bit. I might go stir crazy otherwise. Tomorrow will be 2 weeks of business!

The big boy helped me re-stock today and straightened up the shelves for me. It amazes me how type A he is about my shop and how type slob he is about his room at home ;) Then I sent him on a walk around the block as he was bored. Poor baby...

Had some interesting customers again today, really nice, a bit odd and everything in between. The guy I forgot to give the package of chips to last week came in and evidently hadnt realized I had stiffed him. Well then, all the happier today. I have found a german distributor for some American goods. I am going to check their prices and see if they would be a good option for *in-between* orders. Their pancake mix is astronomical, but some things are not outrageous.

Would be interested in any serious comments on Blair Hot Sauces (extreme)!

Wednesday, August 4, 2010

Humma Humma What?

I was locked out of my account with my British distributor on Monday and innocently sent an e-mail to my personal contact there yesterday morning stating that my log-in wasn't working (again) and asking her to please re-set my account. I immediately got a no-reply form e-mail stating that my email was deemed phishing or spam and sent on for further lookie-lous. What? All I did was tell her that my log-in was not working. Hmmm. So I found an e-mail from her and replied to it and received a response from someone else in the team that she was out of office and that my account would be reset. All was fine in my world again. Then this morning I got another no-reply email stating that the lookie-lou peeps deemed my e-mail spam / phishing. Roger. Huh?

I redid the windows a bit this morning -- there were dead flies and dust in it, so hey ho, I thought it necessary. I need fabric and wooden blocks or something to be able to work more effectively. One day.

So, my 2nd son is starting school next Monday, where does the time go? Didn't we just welcome him into the family? I need to write up a list of things we are still missing for the 2 school bubs so I can send Dr. Dude with them on Saturday to finish school shopping. One of the perks of having my own shop is that I can give certain jobs to Papa now... It may make me less of a woman, but I no longer enjoy shopping like I used to.

10 minutes to opening. Excuse me while I rock out to CSNY to get the mindset on. More later once I have had some interesting interactions.

My kids go to normal German schools, but I have to say that I am really liking the International School here. I have met several teachers and parents and they are really nice and have a lot of information and have given me some more book ideas -- especially for youth books. Fun times!

Weird random thought: I feel like I am slightly re-americanising myself. Weird. In German you have the formal and the informal ways of adressing people: Sie and Du. In general people are formal and use Sie. I find myself say Du to more and more of my German customers -- those younger than me, which isn't hard here in the Neustadt. Sometimes I feel like a bit of a granny. HA! And I taught a young German guy about fudge today, poor soul has no idea how ruined he is about to become. He bought a jar of marshmallow fluff and I told him about fudge. He is going to spoon half a jar and try to make fudge with the rest. Rawr.

Tuesday, August 3, 2010

Friends

Have I mentioned how awesome my friends are? They are fantabulous, truly. I really could not ask for a better support system -- both local and international. Through the months of preparation of this big adventure I had my friends abroad cheering me on and telling me I would be fabulous. Keeping me motivated not to make this a total *fail*. I will NOT get sappy, but trust me when I say that my tears were constantly dried by love and support.

And then came the serious business part of this. Getting my 2 huge deliveries (5600 individual units, in case you wanted to know) just days before I was due to open. Yeah, I panicked. I was not sleeping, I was wrought with fear of everything. Then the *Librarian* came to my rescue. My pride was overriding my fear and did not allow me to beg for help. I tried to tell myself I could do it alone. Then she came and told me she was there to help and to just let her. She took a project into her own hands and rolled with it. The next day, too. And then again on the day before the opening. She even brought me a chili plant (it is still alive and I have been munching on the chilis!), as if her help wasn't gift enough for being able to open when planned. Thank you, you were awesome! And she sent gazoodles of business my way on my opening and in the week since. Awesomesauce.

And then there were the other snow-by helpers during that preparation week that just came by for a bit to stick labels and chat. I cannot thank my support system enough. Those who came on my opening day and in the first week to buy things AND bring gifts, I feel truly unworthy. Nope, no sap here, really. *whistle*

But that isn't all! I just picked up a totally unexpected parcel from the post office. I mean really. Kathi, you are truly the sweetest. I don't deserve you and your support. You have so much else going on and here you are sending me gifts! Thank you, thank you. For the awesome bag I have been saving for and drooling over. Gawgeous. And the tea for my next bout of insomnia -- it will come when I place my next order. Count on it. And the cookbook. Holy canoli, the recipes sound awesome: Simply Simpatico. The Home of Authentic Southwestern Cuisine. Indian Blue Cornbread, Guaymas Salad, Grits Gruyere, Adobe Bars. Yum.

Blessed.

Have just had a new friend stop by, followed by a round of female missionaries stocking up on missed American foods. And someone asking for the wish of all wishes: clotted cream. Really. I guess I will have to get a refrigerated unit and should probably start pricing them. Add that to the storeroom shelves, a few extra tables, the card stand, a vacuum.... ugh so man costs coming up! And I need to start preparing the next shipment. Yikes. Where is my break? Am thinking the Sleepytime tea will come in handy soon...

muah

Monday, August 2, 2010

A new week

I have started my 2nd week with a crushed left pointer finger. I have no idea how I did it, but it hurts.

Rainy day, I expect it to be a bit slow. I have some official work I need to finish (sign up for a company that I have to pay for the packaging I am bringing into circulation -- in the future I will not offer as much glass...). After that, I will do the final ingredient translations. Then I will allow myself to knit. Just a little. And only if there are not any customers.

First, I have to clean up the shop a bit as I did not get around to it on Saturday afternoon.

I will be back later for more, if there is more to report.

I met the American that has a Sport shop up the street from me. He is really nice, from New Mexico and was a Dead Head for 5 years with his VW Bus. Ahhhhhh, not only a nice person, but someone who shares a passion! Ha :D And he has been in Germany almost as long as I have.

Been a slightly weird day, I am feeling off. Nice customers, though -- new friends from last week and new people, in general. Definitely a good community.

A guy came in that was looking at ingredients. He and a friend have an ice cream business and make American Style Ice Cream (a la Ben & Jerry's): http://www.good-mimis.de/index.htm

Roll on evening.

The name of my shop seems to be a huge hit, by the way, as is the sign. Score one for the not so American taste I have. Score one for Michifreak.

Right, one last comment for today: I just had a customer who has been to Eugene and asked me immediately if I am a Deadhead. He is Australian and the crazy thing is that when he came in I kept thinking: I know him, I know him, where do I know him from????? Aha! We used to ride the ferry across the Elbe River together. Nearly every single day. Really nice guy, his wife is American and he is sending her in tomorrow. Yes, powers that be: please send me more like that!

Saturday, July 31, 2010

Cult

When I started ordering products for the shop I had some help from other ex-pats and *thought* I had an idea of what the Americans would want. I put my lists together, decided which items I would buy more of and which I would just get a basic selection of. I felt like I had everything under control.

Wrong.

I am learning every day that I am not only old, but out of touch and just clueless as to what is in and what isn't. My wish list is filling, I am making sure people understand that it is just that *wishes* and not promises. Some of the items I probably will not be able to get without having a lot of distributors. I am a one-woman show and have to realize that I can only do so much.

So yeah, I had no idea that Vegemite would be more popular that Marmite. Seriously. I have sold maybe 3 pots of Marmite and half my stock of Vegemite! Or Irn Bru, I guess there are a lot of Scots and fans of Scotland here, because I have gone through half of the case I bought in a week. I tried it this week and it is interesting: really sweet, a kicker of caffeine. It also has the reputation of being the best morning after drink, shoots those hangovers right down. Lucky Charms. I am in Germany, people. Food is much healthier here and I only bought one case of it because I figured it would be a while before I ran out. Again wrong -- half a case gone in the first week. Skittles: chemicals, food dyes, sugar and this stuff flies off the shelves; even at the price I have to charge to make even a small profit. Rootbeer, pancake mix, oh and let us not forget Brown Sauce! Again, half a case gone in the first week!

So, yeah, I am totally out of touch with food. I seem to have done a pretty good job with my book selection, though. I received some backorders yesterday and will need to do a fill order this afternoon after I close.

And should I tell you a secret? I have a book hidden under the counter, 2 copies, of a children's book that is just being released -- I cannot put it out until Tuesday. I am going to read it today, just because I can :P

more later, must restock before customers start coming in.

Interesting Customer of the Day: An older guy, handlebar mustache, American flag bandana around the neck, Confederates cap... German. He used to be part of an *Indianerclub* (Native American Club) and had a Native American name that I can neither remember nor pronouce. Ha! He stayed here a good half hour talking about his experiences and how the medicine man in the group used to spike the peace pipe with drugs. Ei yi yeah! And he had a dog named Idifix. The German readers will know about Idifix ;)

And really people, at the risk of the person finding this blog... If a shop has been closed for more than half an hour, you see a strung out woman trying to clean up the check out table and register, printing lists and such... DO NOT bang on the window and point at stuff, wanting to be let in. And if I give you a sympathetic look and shrug and sign that I am closed, DO NOT get a rage-face and send me the evil eye. I have a life, too. I HAD the door open 20 minutes after my actual closing time as I had people in the shop... I am human, please understand I cannot man the shop 24/7. If you cannot understand that I am sorry for you. Your expectations of the human race are too high.

With that, I have now been open for an entire week and a day. Things are good.

Friday, July 30, 2010

Here we go

Right.

I opened the shop on Saturday July 24th and have had some, err, interesting run-ins in the first 6 days of business -- culminating in having a Cadbury candy bar stolen under my nose today. I remember faces, though, and will ask her to pay for it if she comes in again....

It is late and people are wanting a blog from me so here are a few impressions:

-first day I was totally overwhelmed by the sheer number of visitors, customers and friends.
-have met some freakish people. Like the guy in the cut-offs, shaved head, no shirt or shoes and walking stick. In the middle of the Neustadt. Yo.
-or the kids who came in to buy things like Lucky Charms because they saw them in a movie and want to know what they taste like...
-or the people who find joy in filling my wish list with demands the first day. okay, maybe not demands but strong suggestions
-the last few days have been nice steady streams of people -- return customers and new people. It seems like my shop sign has really brought people in.
-adding in... i met an opera star, he came into my shop. he freaked at everything, like he had found american food nirvana.
-okay, I am too tired, need to go to bed. I will try to write frequently, no promises, though. Feel free to remind me to post, but dont be upset if it takes me a bit.

I am still in a bit of a dream world and feeling very surreal about it all. I have a Master's Degree in Archaeology (okay and in Literature / British Cultural Studies) and here I am the owner of a British & American shop. Ha, didn't see that coming...

Goodnight dear friends. I will work on wit and tales another day. Right now my lovely soft bed and a night cap are waiting.