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March 17th, 2005
Special Corner

I got my very first bad credit card last weekend at the market. I do credit cards the old-fashioned way, with one of those slidy machines (also known as a knucklebuster or clicky clacky) and carbon copies to make an imprint of the card. Then I take them home with me, run them through my card service and file them securely for a few months (to guard against chargebacks etc) and then shred them.

The drawback to this method is that I don’t know if the card is good until I take it home and run it. In the two years I’ve been doing this, I haven’t gotten a bad card. Soap just isn’t a commodity most people bother stealing – they can’t really hock it for cash.

So a lady bought $44 worth of soap from me, and it turns out her card was bad. As in, confiscate-this-card bad. That usually means stolen or non-payment of account, if I remember my training from my shoe sales days. There’s not much I can do about it at this point, except report it to the market and stew in my own juices over it. I hope there is a special corner in hell for people who steal like this. The system is built on trust and when people cheat, it undermines the system. I hate people like that.

Posted by Claire at 02:40 PM | Rant, Soap Habit | Comments (2) | Tweet This Post

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March 10th, 2005

In all the fallout of My Lousy Week™, I never bothered to write about the first day back at the Portland Saturday Market. In a nutshell, it was great!

The longer version is that the weather was fantastic, there were quite a few people down there (although sales kinda sucked), and it was really great seeing all my market friends again after a two month break. PSM has updated their website, with descriptions of all the food vendors (craft vendors too…)

My current favorite food vendor is Tio Ramon’s Cuban Food. You can have either chicken or pork, with black beans and rice, red cabbage, and fried plantains (or bananas, some days). Yum!! Eat it around 11 am and you won’t get hungry again until late dinnertime.

Support local artists and craftspeople and food vendors! Visit Portland Saturday Market!

Posted by Claire at 05:01 PM | Portland, Soap Habit | Comments (1) | Tweet This Post

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February 13th, 2005

Yesterday, DH and I braved that American shopping behemoth called Costco. I could go into a whole rant on how big shopping warehouses like Costco encourage overconsumption and waste, but I won’t. Another post…

Anyway, we braved the Costco (where the only credit card they take is American Express…) to buy some Gorilla shelves for the soap workshop. I’ve been needing shelves since I moved into it, but up to now we hadn’t found any shelves we really liked. They were pretty easy to put together and are quite sturdy, so I’m happy. I spent some time yesterday evening putting stuff away on the new shelves, an effort which will continue today.

While we were at Costco, we also saw this great workbench/shelf thing that I was really lusting after. I think that’s next up, because it looked really sturdy and totally cool. I’m still desperately needing the mini-dishwasher also, but that’s still a ways off because of the plumbing issue. I think I’ll buy the mini-fridge first.

Things continue apace in Sudsy, then. The Market starts next month, and I’m really looking forward to it. Good stuff.

Posted by Claire at 10:00 AM | Days Go By, Soap Habit | Comments (2) | Tweet This Post

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July 22nd, 2004

This is a picture taken with my camera phone of the unfinished building that is housing my new soap studio. Yep, the soap is officially MOVING OUT and we are reclaiming our apartment. More accurately, we are also moving to a smaller, less expensive apartment.

I still think this is totally bogus: we are paying market rate (or even slightly ABOVE market rate, I’ve looked at the listings, once you add in parking) for our 2 bedroom apartment in a Housing Authority of Portland rent-controlled building. The rent here is supposed to be CHEAPER, since the building is for low-income people. Also add in our hideous power bill just to keep the place warm, and it is ridiculously expensive to live in this “low-income” housing.

We are looking for a nice little 1 bedroom or even a cute studio (we’re downsizing here, in an effort to get rid of the STUFF we’ve accumulated in five and a half years) in NW. We have until September to find something, since that’s when I start paying rent on the soap studio.

The soap studio is going to be THE BEST THING EVER. It’s going to be totally bare when we get the keys, so we can paint it, build whatever shelving we want, install a mini-dishwasher and a mini-fridge (for the milk, of course, that goes in the soap), as well as a desk for the big Xerox printer and a small computer. The plan is for both of us to get laptops (not all at once though) and DH is going to start running his business out of the space as well. He just needs a little desk space and a corner for stacking computer parts. He might also set up wireless for the building and we’ll sell internet access to our neighbors… apparently that’s how it’s done in the other ActivSpace buildings. Some entreprenurial sort sets it up and starts billing. Cool.

I absolutely cannot wait.

Posted by Claire at 11:47 AM | Soap Habit | Comments (3) | Tweet This Post

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June 12th, 2004
obviously been drinking

No, not me. I wish…

Last year, the Rose Festival (Portland’s big hullabaloo) was absolutely LOUSY for sales at the Saturday Market. As I recall, it was really hot, and it seemed like everyone had already spent all their money at the carnival on bad rides and worse food.

Today was the Grand Floral Parade. I have never actually WATCHED the parade. Last year I couldn’t see it from my vantage point in Ankeny Park, and this year we were actually UNDER the Burnside Bridge. Both years I’ve been able to hear it, though. As a marching band refugee, WHEN will we ever have a parade where some band DOESN’T play Louie, Louie? I can’t be the only former band member who is SICK of hearing that song. Or is it some kind of ritual that all band members must go through, this requisite playing of Louie, Louie? Would the parade fall to pieces if some band didn’t play it? Who knows.

Our sales were better this year. Even last Sunday, when it rained buckets, we did respectably. Today, we did downright fabulous, considering how badly most people do during Rose Festival. It was hilarious, we had this one lady come by THREE times, buying a total of six bars by the time she was done. I think she was looking for gifts, and ended up chosing soap for all of her giftees. It was funny, but also pretty cool — my soap is the best, apparently.

Anyway, I’m exhausted tonight. I can’t sleep lately, since I’ve been worrying about whether or not I am going to get the job I interviewed for. The second interview was yesterday, and went well. I should (hopefully) know by Monday.

Posted by Claire at 07:25 PM | Soap Habit | Comments (0) | Tweet This Post

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