odds and ends

Went to a few stores today

There were a few new stores around one of the shops I go to every couple of months. One was called Cavern Cairo. I had no idea what it could be. A middle east restaurant? A shisha bar? It turned out to be a place dedicated to card games of all things. It was almost all Magic the Gathering oriented, but there was the inexplicable mix of UNO decks mixed in too, I spied a few board games on the walls too. Nothing I was interested in, so I moved on.

There was a “newsstand” next to it. I was curious what a newsstand looked like in this day and age. I used to go to one in Ithaca to get my copy of Goldmine. Back in the early 90’s there were a slew of interesting magazines and a good newsstand was an amazing place to go. Goldmine was a paper/magazine that specialized in record collecting. There were all sorts of ads for places selling any number of different types of music in all sorts of formats. Yeah, I used to have to read a newspaper to find obscure songs and albums… This newsstand was really kind of sad. There was a smattering of magazines, but they were mostly catering to gun, tattoo, craft builders, and with some titles like Mother Earth News, Architectural digest, etc. Nothing I was interested in. There was the mandatory “adults only” section. I didn’t go back to check that out. I assume that the adult stuff is what is keeping the store in business, but I’m amazed that market exists at all. I would have thought that the internet would allow anyone to find whatever it is that floats their boat, and in their own home to boot. Hmm, there’s also an adult video store in Springfield, that’s another business I would have thought would go under in modern times. Maybe it’s Springfield that keeps those types of businesses around…


I also went into an HH Greg store. I had seen their ads on TV before, but I had never been in one. What a strange place. I mean, I guess they have a  similar product range as Best Buy (with one exception) but it felt rather odd in there. I can’t put my finger on why, but things seemed to be just… sort of plopped in there. There were a ton of TVs, and as usual, I was mesmerized. They are so beautiful, if I watched TV I wouldn’t be able to resist one of those. Luckily for me, I don’t really watch anything… The salesperson was rather put off when I told him that I don’t watch TV, LOL. They also carried appliances, cameras, computers, vacuums, etc. Two things they didn’t seem to have as compared to Best Buy were cell phones and car audio.

Like Best Buy, a lot of their demos weren’t working. Unlike Best Buy, several people came up and asked if I had any questions. One thing that was different was that HH Greg sold mattresses. It was an odd thing. Lots of electronic things, and then tucked back into a corner, in it’s own walled off area, were beds. I don’t see the connection, but I can guess why they were there. One thing that really struck me was how inexpensive things have gotten. Flat screen TVs are now down below what I remember tube TVs costing, and these are bigger. It looked as though I could buy a decent stovetop and oven for $600. The mattresses? $1200 for a twin. Granted, they were Temperpedic, I’m pretty sure those are going to be expensive anywhere you go. I’m also positive that they have a lot bigger profit margin in them than anything else in the store. I can’t imagine that designing and manufacturing mattresses is all that high tech, especially when compared to the TVs there. I can’t be the only one wondering about the value proposition of a bed that costs as much as a 50″ TV. A rather nice 50″ TV at that.

I also got to play around with a few Android tablets too. The Galaxies from Samsung were the ones I wanted to try the most. They weren’t working of course… I did try a few others from Archos, Sharp( I think), and a smaller one from samsung. Ugh, not impressed. A couple of them seemed to run OK, not that there was much on them. The internet worked OK, and I assume that gmail would be good on there. My big problem was that they just felt terrible to hold. Not one of the large tablets were comfortable to hold. Plus, they just felt cheap. The 7″ one was rather nice, I can see the appeal of that size for internet, ebooks, and email on the go. I was disappointed to get mobile versions of sites though. There’s probably a way around that. In any case, maybe the Samsung tablets are amazing performers, they’d have to be to get over the way they feel. Several of them were plastered with stickers announcing features like SD card slots, USB, HDMI, etc. Unfortunately, they didn’t tell me what they could do with those things. Even if they did, I’d have to use my imagination to see how they worked since most of them were dead. I understand why the iPad is going so well, there doesn’t appear to be any actual competition…


Anyway, an odd store. I guess I’d go there if I wanted a TV, not sure what else I;d go there for. Oh well, at least I know where to go for adult magazines and Magic the Gathering cards… Oh Springfield, you are a shoppers dreamland!

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