Archive for the ‘Where to get stuff’ Category

CVS sells stupid plungers


Last night my roommate called me on my way home from school to report that the toilet was clogged, and could I please direct him to the plunger (hydroforce blast cup to the professionals). I’ve discovered, in my years as an apartment owner, that plungers have a limited lifespan, and as he asked me where it was, I couldn’t distinctly remember whether the it had given up the ghost on the last use or not. I told him where I thought it was, but he couldn’t find it, so I said I would pick one up at CVS on my way home.

The CVS at 19th and Chestnut apparently only carries one style of plunger, and it is the one pictured above. I picked it up in the store for a moment, unbelieving that this was what they were selling to unclog sinks and toilets. It is only about eight inches tall, and the plunger part has the diameter of a coffee mug. I knew it would be totally ineffective when applied to a toilet, but I bought it anyway because I was equally desperate and unbelieving that they would sell this dollhouse sized item. Thankfully, we didn’t end up having to use it, I found the old plunger hidden away when I got home, but I continue to be in awe that CVS sells this thing, thinking it will be helpful.

Hibberd’s Books

I have walked, driven or taken the bus past Hibberd’s Books (1306 Walnut Street) countless times during my years in Philadelphia, but until today, I never walked in. I was in the neighborhood on another errand, and when I was done started wandering around the block, instead of heading straight home. Growing up in Portland, I always frequently used bookstores, but the ones here in Philly always seem a little spooky and so I haven’t made it a practice to visit them. I walked up and took a look at the two racks of books on display on the sidewalk, before heading into the store.

Going in there is like traveling to another time or place. I feel both fortunate and a little stunned that this bookstore has survived into the 21st Century. You walk in to a room lined with wooden shelves. The sections are marked by fading hand lettered signs indicating that a shelf is stocked with “Literature,” “Local History” or “World History” (to name a few). The staff amounted to two men who quietly went on with their tasks, ignoring me until one of them sensed I had a question (without my having said a word) and turned his face towards me. When I asked if they had a particular book in stock, he didn’t turn to a computer to tell him, but walked over to the shelf where it would be, looked quickly and sadly shook his head. The section of children’s books was my favorite. There were rows and rows of books that were, for the most part, older than me. I wanted to have a seat on the carpet and carefully go through each one of them, but I didn’t have the time.

I left with one book, an old copy of Joan Didion’s “Salvator,” for which I paid $1.59. They are having a 70% off sale right now, so if you like old books, you are bound to find a bargain.

Forget the mall.

I took a different train home on Wednesday night, which necessitates a walk up Germantown Avenue in Chestnut Hill to get home. I was a little confused when, about a block from “the avenue” I heard faint strains of music. I had completely forgotten that they keep the shops open late on Wednesday nights in December. This was far more than late hours, though. This was an almost Disney-esque Christmas wonderland. Just about every block had a different band playing holiday music, and one corner featured carolers in full victorian regalia, including the large bonnets. Some places gave out free samples and Santa himself strolled up and down the hill giving away candy canes. Every lamppost is adorned with pine garland and bright red bows and all of the trees decked in white lights. They even had roasted chestnuts. It was unexpected, surreal and a great little bit of fun to see on my way home.

Say Cheese!

Does anyone have recommendations for a place in the Rittenhouse Square/Center City neighborhood where I can get a decent passport photo without getting gouged on the price?

Oh, and bonus points for any places open on Saturday…..

Beer Tasting at the Foodery

For the second time in as many weeks, there was free beer… er, a beer tasting, at the Foodery (on 2nd, north of Spring Garden). And for the second time in as many weeks, I was inspired to buy a six-pack. I’m running out of space in my fridge. Each time, they highlighted a local brewery (or closeby anyway). Last time was Flying Fish from Cherry Hill; this time it was Tröegs from Harrisburg. The highlights for me were the Farmhouse Summer Ale from Flying Fish and the Dreamweaver Wheat from Tröegs.

Not only Free, but cheap

Between the Free Library’s 25cent bin and the Northern Liberties Music Festival/flea market, I’ve picked up around a dozen books in the last 2 months for less than the price of a chicken cheese steak. Most of the books the library is dumping are recent — with copyrights after 1998, and in good condition. If the stamps were removed, some of the hardbacks could pass for new.

Antiques at the Armory

There are as many different routes to work as there are jigs and jogs in the streets between my house and the Institute. Nevertheless, I find myself walking past the 23rd Street Armory most days–if not on my morning commute, on my walk home in the evening.

Today, there’s a tent over the front doors, and a banner above it. The tent kinda makes it hard to read the banner (oops!!), but I can tell you that it all announces the Original 23rd Street Armory Antiques Show.

Today through Sunday, $15 (today) or $10 (tomorrow and Sunday) admission. A promised 43 exhibitors. If you enjoy antiquing, it could be worth a visit.

Image via: Barn Star Productions.

Looking for a bargain?

If you’re like me (I do recognize that not everyone is like me), then there is nothing that gets you happy like a big room full of junk for the sorting and buying. If you are, in fact, like me, then I recommend that you check out the 4th Annual “World Class Rummage Sale” at the First Unitarian Church this Saturday from 11 am -4 pm. They transform the sanctuary of the church into a world of well-organized crap, all the better to bargain shop in. The church is at 2125 Chestnut Street (the same one where a lot of the R5 Productions shows are). I’ve been to the rummage sale every year for the last couple, and always find really fun, interesting stuff. Whether you are looking for a new dish drainer, a cocktail shaker or copy of “The Italian Job” (seriously, a friend and I each got one last year), then get your butt over there sometime on Saturday.

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