Sunday, October 28, 2007

Shopping for Necessities in Boston

I'm sure my regular readers thought that I had finished writing about my summer trip to Boston. They were wrong, but this is the last one until I actually go there again. I promise. What and why am I going to write more about a trip that took place several months ago? I'm going to write about fun I had shopping at three stores in Boston, in part because the places where I shopped have some sort of web presence.

I loathe shopping for clothing. It is the most boring and potentially the most frustrating thing that one can do with one' s time. As a kid, I would always dread tagging along when my relatives or friends of relatives would go shopping in Burlington, NC, when that town was filled to the brim with outlet stores. I do, however, enjoy shopping for other things. I particularly like shopping for things on-line, because that completely avoids most of the annoyances of shopping in person. On the other hand, if you're using a Mac, as I was earlier tonight, and you're ordering from somewhere that completely clears out your shopping cart every time you try to checkout (after you enter in all your information), it's debatable which is the least annoying experience.

An art and crafts supply store is something you simply have to wander around in person, if you have the opportunity. The Pearl, in Cambridge, has a tremendous selection, with two huge floors of every imaginable pigment, paper and pen. I could have spent many more hours, if not days, wandering around. Fortunately for my wallet, we were scheduled to have dinner across the street after an hour or so.As many of you know, I have an unfortunate problem with earrings. Earrings are my primary vice, which costs me more money than any other. It's worse than dining out, because I need to eat. I do not need earrings. ...and yet, I do. The only good thing is that they don't take up much space at all.Over ten years ago, I discovered Geoclassics, in Faneuil Hall, in Boston, and I've gone back to the store every time I've been to the city since then. They have a marvelous selection of gemstone jewelry and also have a lot of nice mineral carvings. Unfortunately, their website doesn't have much of a selection compared to their stores. So, if you're in the Boston area and you either have a similar vice or need to buy a gift for someone who does, then I highly recommend that you stop by.Another store I knew I had to hit while I was in Boston was Levenger's, in Copley Place. Levenger's originated in Del Ray Beach, Florida, and I'd always wanted to go to one of their stores. I've been getting their catalogs for years and have coveted so many of their high-end office supplies. I like shopping for office supplies, regardless of their caliber, but there's something wonderful about shopping for nifty blank configurable notebooks and wallets. I've been particularly enamored of their Circa system for seven years or so. My dad, when he wasn't falling asleep in one of their chairs, followed me around asking incredulously, "Tell me again just how much you're paying per sheet of paper?" I explained that I didn't mind paying a little more to support their innovation. Shopping for things you don't really need on a regular basis requires dynamic rationalization skills.Immediately following my leaving the store, I bought myself a cute stuffed lobster. That made all of my purchases at Levenger's seem so much more reasonable.


  1. Hi Lenore,
    I've had a firm rule for about 15 years now that whenever I go to a conference, I have to come back with a nice pair of earrings. It's just something that has to be done, plus it gives me a memory of the event/place when someone says something about the earrings. I've converted several of my fellow technologists to this practice, and it sounds like you're with us!

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  3. Well, if I could come back with just *one* pair, that would be a step in the right direction.