Not a Parisian Thrift Shop

How to make your thrift shop window display as attractive as possible for all those ugly-sweater-party aficionados:

First: hang up your ugliest, most improbable sweater at the very center of your display (and, since we’re going for that run-down, super-cheap, down-on-its-luck-second-hand-store look, be sure not to wash your window first).


Ee-ai-ee-ai… oooohhhh noooooo

Second: Take a display dummy, your second-ugliest sweater and… need I say more?


Not even in his worst nightmares did Bart dream of such an ignominious fate…

One thing’s for sure, no one will ever be able to accuse this shop keeper of pretentious window design. Indeed, I doff my hat to him, so to speak. When the warehouse gives you lemons…

Hope that cheered up your day without offending you taste sensibilities tooooo much…

See you next time,

– Jennifer

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A Monster Bridges the Gap to Help Save a Local Business


Salezilla does his part to bridge the gap in sales while the new bridge leading to McCoy’s Furniture is under construction

Driving back from a weekend trip this summer, we passed through the town of Waynesboro, Virginia, and I snapped this photo of a sales ploy that tickled my funny bone. Now that I’ve been back from the Italy – a.k.a. the land where advertising has to be soberly refined and sexy – for a good four months, I am still not tired of the unabashedly (and proudly) silly advertising ploys I often see here. Considering the post-Halloween atmosphere that still persists during this first week of November, it seemed like a good time to use this monstrous photo (ba-dum-bum-ching).

It’s been more than a couple of months since I took this photo so, before posting, I began to wonder if this monster sales ploy had done its job to keep the business in the picture afloat. A couple clicks took me to the McCoy’s Furniture Co. website. It turns out they’re a family-owned store and they’ve been around since 1946. Since their website said the sale was still ongoing, I wondered if perhaps they hadn’t made it through the hard times, after all. So, I went ahead and called them. It turns out the problem was that the Broad Street Bridge, which led to their store, had been closed for construction since last February. However, that bridge has just recently reopened, one month ahead of schedule, and McCoy’s made it through to the other side of the hard times. Did Salezilla threaten to eat a few of the construction workers if they didn’t speed things up? I don’t speak monster, so we will probably never know.

Speaking of which, I enquired about our friend, wondering if he’d been put out to pasture (although I can’t imagine any local sheep wanting to share with him) now that the monster sale was done. Happily, it turns out he’s still waiting at the front of the store, sale or no sale.

So, if any of my faithful readers live near Waynesboro or elsewhere in the Shenandoah Valley and want to support a local family business (or just want to pay a visit to Salezilla), now you know where to go. You could even buy an armchair from Salezilla to watch Godzilla (ba-dum-bum-ching).

Ok, I’m going to stop now, before this gets any sillier.

Thanks for stopping by and I look forward to seeing you again next time!


Antique Tables?

Coming down off of Skyline Drive in the Blue Ridge Mountains

Coming down off of Skyline Drive in the Blue Ridge Mountains,
just outside the Thornton Gap entrance to Shenandoah National Park, heading east

Want a brand-new antique table of your very own? Apparently, that’s not an oxymoron. If you’re interested, you can visit their website.

One thing that has always struck me about American advertising and, in this case, the choice of a company name, is the fact that it relies so heavily on tickling the customer’s sense of humor.  Years in Italy, including 3 years of Italian commercial arts school, accustomed me to the idea that an advertisement has to be beautiful, sexy, aesthetically perfect… but hardly ever funny.  Of course, Antonio Banderas wearing his most seductive Zorro face to sell breakfast cookies might be unintentionally funny (I think the mothers were the target of that commercial), but in the U.S., humor is usually the main marketing device of ads and commercials that are meant to be memorable because they made you laugh. Some are ludicrous, some are wacky, some indulge in darker humor and some appeal to the more childish side of our funny-bone, but even the bad ones stick more in my mind, at least, than the up-teenth lingerie-clad beauty selling the latest sports car or heart-throb pushing coffee (here’s lookin’ at you, George Clooney).

Anyway, this collection will be the first of a collection where you’ll find some of the  business and advertising ploys in the comic vein that have caught my eye.

Sorry Mom


Fredericksburg, VA – Estimated population in 2012: just over 27,300. Number of tattoo studios I saw during my visit: 4 in the downtown alone, and there are more listed in the phone book. I’m not sure why a town this small needs quite so many, although the percentage of locals with tattoos not just adorning them but covering entire limbs was higher than in most places I’ve been, so I guess they don’t want for work. I haven’t read any reviews about their quality, but come on, admit it – if we’re judging by names, this one’s gotta be the best, anywhere, hands down.