day 4: the wrong bus.

31 08 2012

today was stupid from start to finish.

all week i had planned that today i was going to go to the DMV to take my permit test. come to find out this morning, you actually have to send in a physical paper application with a check for $10, and then in 2-4 weeks they MAIL you a date to come in and take your test. [sigh]

it was supposed to be an adventure day to the mall, with the highlight being finally getting my permit and admitting to myself and others that i am ready to learn how to drive.

instead, i ate a big bowl of leftover mac & cheese (this recipe was ridiculously delicious, and i am not easily impressed by impostor cheese) and dicked around on the internet.

but after as many hours of lounging as i could physically tolerate, i decided that DMV bureaucracy couldn’t keep me from trying on pants. to the mall! Read the rest of this entry »





[black friday] balance restored.

30 11 2011

black friday when all nuts this year. some stores opened at midnight, some at 4, some at 6… all of which made it nearly impossible for me to form a workable plan for a pleasant shopping experience. what was i supposed to do, hit the old navy and the target at midnight and then hang out at the denny’s until the mall opened?

NO. my digestive system could not take such a beating (although i still really do want to try out that grilled cheese with the mozzarella stix embedded inside, even though i know it’s wrong)!

i considered just hitting the midnight store and then going back later in the morning… but that also seemed less than ideal in terms of efficiency. so i decided to do something a little different this year- SLEEP IN.

it was actually kind of awesome. and then around 7, i leisurely got up, walked the dog, and headed to the mall. considering that i don’t need any big ticket electronics, and all the cheap movie titles were complete crap, it wasn’t like i was missing anything anyway (other than shivering in the cold with a bunch of other cranky folks who are more than willing to elbow you in the throat to get the last creepy stalker barbie).

and since i had already slept through the “best” deals, i also felt little pressure to hit the big boxes and try to scrape up what was left. so i just went wherever the hell i wanted regardless of big signs yelling DOORBUSTERS! and here is what i got: Read the rest of this entry »





mall recall.

23 07 2010

CALLING ALL PAST AND PRESENT MAINE MALL WORKERS & LOVERS! the marvelous alex steed (who can be found everywhere all at once, but especially here, here and here) has started a facebook fan page (well, technically it’s classified as a religious organization) for maine mall alumni! the project sprung from a combination of  his own alumni pride (you may remember him lurking around the wacky t-shirt kiosk in the early 2000s), and also being utterly aghast at the fact that the BANGOR MALL HAS 1200+ FANS, and the maine mall isn’t even breaking 800… well, alex is already campaigning hard to remedy the situation, and the alumni page is busting with excitement such as:

– musings on the odd positioning of record town & tape world in the late 80s (across the hall from each other).

angsty anti-mall rambling from bygone blogs.

relics from our beloved mall’s past life.

so yes, if you’ve ever known the mall intimately, please head on over and friend that shit up. or like it. or fan it. or whatever the hell it is that people do on facebook.  share your tender mall moments, awkwardly reconnect with old coworkers, and start your own dialog about how the mall just hasn’t been the same since porteous disappeared.

now i never worked at the mall, but i can tell you with no hesitation that i have logged A LOT of hours in its tiled corridors. well, by tapping into my deep and abiding love  for the maine mall, alex has somehow managed to get me stuck in his swiftly rolling katamari of energy and ideas. it’s Q & A time! i’ve come up with a list of questions for all the mall workers out there past and present, and it’s your job to answer them, and elaborate, and go off topic in the most entertaining way possible (part 1 of 2):

1. What never goes on sale?

2. What is the best deal you ever saw someone score?

3. Sometimes I hide things in the store that I can’t afford to pay full retail for- in hopes that they will not be found until markdown time. Is this a viable method?

now is the time to share your insider knowledge with the world. now is the time to declare your alumni status!





sweathogs.

20 07 2010

my body is not equipped for high temperature regulation.  thus, over the last two weeks of MOTHERFUCKING RIDICULOUS HEAT, i have been a little wilted. and by a little wilted, i mean possibly suffering from heat stroke. why just saturday afternoon after sizzling in the summer sun as amplified by the heat coming off the generators and fryolators  at the yarmouth clam festival carnival, i passed out on the couch in a stupor. this would be an otherwise unremarkable event (as i am often passed out in a stupor from various causes ranging from sleep deprivation to excessive champagne consumption), but the boyfriend foolishly handed my partially conscious self a glass of ice water, which i then proceeded to dump all over both my crotch and my couch as i lapsed into complete unconsciousness  (which was brief on account of the ice crotch).

point being, it’s hot, and i’m no good at it.  in my other life at part time vagabond, i was just writing about (as part of my article about how to make stay-cations less suck-cations) how maine is not really an AC state. it’s cold here most of the time, and foolish things like central air just don’t make sense. window units are somewhat more sensible, but not if you can already barely afford to pay your electric bill.  buying an expensive piece of equipment that will make said electric bill even less manageable, isn’t really an option.  also not an option, putting an air conditioner in a room where the only window is a skylight (stupid sweaty 3rd floor condo). so not only is it hot, but there isn’t a whole hell of a lot i can do about it:

1. build up a cross breeze- my place is really not very well ventilated. 2nd & 3rd story with slanty ceilings and oddly placed windows, i’ve got to get at least 2 box fans going in combination with opening every window in the house. the major downside to this is that not all of my windows have screens, and after sundown, throngs of angry mosquitoes flock to my light sources and cover me in itchiness. it’s exactly like camping without actually camping.

2. cozy up to a cold pack- yeah, i’ve been sitting on those freezer packs that you put in the mini cooler with your juice boxes and tiny yogurts. as it turns out, they’re just as good at keeping my juiceboxes cool. although, unless you wrap it up in a towel first, you are in danger of getting some frostbite on your cooch. not cute.

3. make some popsicles-  when it’s soul meltingly hot outside, sometimes even ice cream is too heavy to be refreshing.  popsicles (take it. break it. share it. love it.) on the other hand, are perfection. kate over at the blueberry files inspired me to make some sophisticated adult popsicles, but all i bothered to do was freeze some limeade into ice cubes and throw it in my tequila. as it turns out, heavy drinking is not good for dehydration. maybe i should have just dug up my old snoopy sno-cone machine.

4. embrace the power of chiffon- what i hate about the heat is that there is only so much you can take off before you have to start peeling off your own skin. but even when naked seems like a good idea, i still don’t have curtains on my downstairs windows, and i don’t really feel like subjecting my neighbors to such horrors. zsa zsa knows best, so i found myself some frilly chiffon numbers that cover up most of the unfortunate bits, while still being almost as light as nothing at all.

5. escape to the mall– at the most dire of times, i often escape to target or the mall. basically, anywhere with AC and a starbucks. it’s not glamourous, and it’s not even the beach, but sometimes it’s nice to seal yourself into a windowless box and forget about the smelly sweatworld outside.

yeah, this list is pretty sad. that’s why this is the part where you tell me what humiliating things you’ve been doing to stay cool, so i can feel less bad about myself.





bargains are my business.

1 07 2010

my mom always liked new stuff.  and not just any new stuff, the best possible new stuff. if we were in pursuit of say… a care bear (grumpy bear to be specific), she would never just grab the first one that she saw. oh no! she would dig through every single bear on the shelf until she found the one that was perfect. no smushed faces or lopsided expressions, no flat spots or loose threads- the most perfect and pristine care bear in the whole store (possibly a second store in case the first store’s product did not meet standards). it is because of my mother that i utterly refuse to bring home any product in a crushed or dented box. even if the contents is assured to be perfectly preserved. even if i’m just going to tear the box apart the moment i get home. it’s completely irrational, but it’s all i know.

thus, when we visited our first marden’s, i distinctly remember that my mom was less than impressed. we’d heard their commercials on the radio a million times- “i should have bought it when i saw it at mardens”, but the water damaged prom dresses and the nightmare bad lighting were too much for her delicate sensibilities. if you’ve never been to a marden’s, you should know that it is the low budgetiest, discountiest, no frillsiest place you’ve ever been. generally housed in the broke down shell of a bankrupted chain store, the ultra closeout goods get tossed haphazardly onto racks and piled up in bins floating in the aisles. let’s just say that the term “visual merchandising” doesn’t exist in their vocabulary.  oh, and don’t you EVER EVER EVER go into the bathroom. please, just don’t.

anyway, flashing back to 1988, our first foray into rock bottom bargainville was not a success. i distinctly remember my mom singing “i should have left it where i saw it at marden’s” (and being 11 at the time, i of course thought this was HILAROUS). it was too much. everything was dented and imperfect, we would never go there again.

as a late in life bargain hunter, marden’s and i would grow to love each other deeply. i would come to learn that the key is tenacity. that, and a willingness to dig, dig, dig (no matter how suspect the product at hand). for every 25 polyester blend clearance rack tragedies, you might actually find something good. remember that time i found a marc jacobs prairie skirt for $6.50? if you can just get over the weird smells, expired foods, and of course the bathroom…. it’s pure magic. so you can imagine my delight when i heard that a big-ass new marden’s was moving into my backyard (if my backyard was the mall).

sadly, the verdict is: MODERATE DISAPPOINTMENT. the new scarborough marden’s is much bigger, much cleaner, and much more organized than its brethren, yet was somehow sorely lacking in the magic department. i’m hoping that a bit of the newness will fade over time. right now i can still smell the walmart in there, and it just seems too put together in a way that robs me of the joy of the dig. i mean seriously, what are all these medium sized garments doing in one place?  its looking too much like a regular store and a lot less like a smoldering pile of junk ripe for exploration.  i miss that, and have hopes that in time the disorder will be restored. that said,  i did manage to get lost in there for the better part of an hour, and did encounter many tremendous things absolutely worth exploring:

1. first off, PLACE IS FUCKING HUGE. yeah, it’s an old walmart. i doubted at first that they would be able to fill it up, but it has a really good mix of clothing, homegoods, crazy off-brand/expired foods, in addition to things like furniture & carpet (that the portland marden’s doesn’t have).

2. there’s a MOTHERFUCKING FABRIC STORE IN THERE. yeah, i sew. yeah, i have a ludicrous and ever growing stash of fabric- but i always want more. even though i barely sew anything ever, i have a demented fabric lust that knows no reason. i don’t know what fabric store went bankrupt or had a small attic fire, but that shit is nice! one would expect from a marden’s fabric stash lots of cheap and highly flammable prom satins or flannels emblazoned with losing sports teams or faded disney stars headed for rehab… but oh no! tons of nice cotton prints, rolls of high-end decorator fabrics, stacks of unusual and vintagey looking trims. heavenly, and all for about $3.99 a yard or less.

3. hey, is that FURNITURE I WOULD ACTUALLY BUY? yeah, there was some weird stuff. and yeah, there’s a lot of overstuffed nogahyde recliner action. BUT, there were also several perfectly normal and attractive couches and chairs that could have easily found their way into my apartment. well,  if there was actually any room for more couches and chairs.

4. even though there’s better stuff than a lot of the other marden’s, there’s still a HEALTHY DOSE OF HILARIOUS OFF BRANDS and merchandise from the land that time forgot. is that an entire wall of slouch socks? or maybe the novelization of the short lived tv show roswell? if you can’t find a punchline at marden’s, then you’re probably a humorless dick.

5. the shoe department for me in any store is critical, and THIS FOOTWEAR DEPARTMENT DOES NOT DISAPPOINT. in the portland store, i’m lucky to find anything this isn’t for grandmas or hookers. not a lot of range there. i don’t know how they did it (did paul lepage have to shank someone?), but there was a boatload of amazing heels from high-endier lines like coach, bcbg, and charles david. they weren’t $3/10 cheap- but the were mostly $50 or under. and they were all stunning. too bad i have no money and a swiftly developing bunion.

i love the fact that discount and thrift stores are joining the mall area, and i don’t care if it’s a sign of the bad economy. now, i haven’t completely warmed up to the new marden’s yet, but i do feel like there is potential chemistry there. let’s just say that at the end of the cocktail party, marden’s scarborough will be getting a rose. and if less scummy and more choices sounds like your idea of a dream date… i recommend heading on over. i’m pretty sure there’s enough to go around.

oh, and if the marden’s in your area has something awesome, please let me know! you know, so i can keep that information to myself and go buy all of it.

p.s. you can check out the rest of the photos of my trip on the broke207 brand flickr account.





unsanitary.

17 04 2010

i felt sort of bad leaving them there… but there is something even too gross for me about picking up pennies on the mall bathroom floor. also, how does one skirt the stigma? place was packed. am i emotionally resilient enough to overhear mothers tell their young daughters how dirty i am?





and now for something completely different.

1 04 2010

i tire of moral dilemma week. i had a whole post half written about something vaguely instructional and semi serious, but then i realized that i don’t give a shit about being instructional and semi serious. at least today i don’t. instead, i speak of a subject far more engaging and less of a bummer, the mall. over the last 10 years, maine has been overrun with big boxes. wal*marts, targets, old navys, and best buys are springing up all over the landscape, along with the requisite gamestops, panera breads, and famous footwears that for whatever reason ALWAYS orbit around the larger stores. i think it’s weird and gross how all the towns in maine worthy of the big box blessing now look all the same. although on the other hand, i do love target.

what’s really weird, is that now that all these smaller towns in maine have their own shopping districts, nobody needs the mall. in the last 5 years or so, the maine mall has been CLEANED OUT. filenes got booted by macy’s, but the space is still empty. countless other stores have bounced in and out, changed locations, disappeared forever. the urban behavior has gone out of business and been resurrected no less than 5 times (i think that bankruptcy is their business model). the sears wing is deadsville (despite their urging, i never have quite found the softer side), especially since unattractive but very sensible shoe emporium lamey wellehan cleared out. even mcdonald’s is hitting the bricks for some mysterious reason.  i did hear a rumor that we were getting a sephora, but the flowering of the maine mall into the mall of america (that i’ve been fantasizing about ever since the H&M moved in) just isn’t happening. it’s the downturn y’all. the way people shop is changing, and it’s kind of amazing.

case and point, the new goodwill. usually, when you cut off the head of one big box, another one just sprouts right back in its place. when circuit city’s broke ass shut down last year, i don’t think anyone thought that a thrift store would or could move into that massive space complete with sky high mall area rents. but goodwill made it happen (even if their bath and st. john street locations had to be tragically sacrificed), and the results are glorious.

are you looking at that line up of gleaming hooker boots over there in the upper left? i know one person who can’t wait to see those bitches sprouting up around town. in short, the new goodwill is fucking gigantic, and presently filled with both stuff and people. the book section looks like a bookstore. a decent bookstore (although you will still find the required copies of divine secrets of the ya ya sisterhood). the racks are endless. it was hard to really take it all in because it was opening weekend, and the place was crazy mobbed like black friday, but i did manage to get a few representative snaps on the ole iphone (check em out on my flickr). when i was a kid, it was shameful to buy second hand. now, it’s almost shameful not to. i like that.

and because i like that so much, i’m going to start holding a monthly goodwill oriented giveaway. i’ll give the details in a more official way in a few days, but for now, ransack your closets shelves and cupboards, and try to find the best thing you ever bought at goodwill. you’re gonna need that.