As you may have heard, Half Moon Bay, along with 11 other cities and unincorporated San Mateo County, have enacted an ordinance governing the circumstances, usage, and charge of bags in retail establishments.
The ordinance facts are:
- Plastic bags are banned from usage (with a few loop holes around food, dry cleaning, and not-for-profit groups.)
- Paper bags manufactured using recycled material will be available for use with a $0.10 charge in 2014, rising to $0.25 in 2015.
So functionally there are 2 sections to the ordinance, 1 outlawing plastic bags and 1 regulating and taxing the use of paper bags.
We agree whole heartedly with section 1 and if anything, wish the loop holes that were included were more severely limited. There is little good that comes from these single use plastic bags and here on the coast, not only do we have to consider land-based pollution, but also water pollution.
On section 2, we advocated a different approach which would have rewarded consumers for employing a reusable bag by providing a discount on their purchase. We believe this approach is aligned with the public interest and charts a more sensible and positive path toward behavior change than the “bag tax” as enacted. (Note: it’s not truly a tax in that businesses keep the bag money – but from a consumer perspective, it’s somewhat irrelevant who keeps the dough – it’s still seen as a tax.)
So, what we’re left with is an ordinance that does some good (most plastic gone) and attempts some positive behavior change while running the risk of alienating visitors. We will certainly comply with the ordinance (we’ve never had plastic and nearly half of our visitors use no bags at all or bring their own already – we have a great set of visitors!)
So please don’t be surprised when we ask you if you’d like a bag with that and inform you of the bag tax if you do.
When we’re off in the world, we look high and low for interesting things to share with you. Recently, we came across an edition of the Old West card game Faro (or Pharo) that we could get ahold of in some quantity and share with you.
In case you’re not familiar with the game, it’s played with cards – like those shown to the right. The traditional cards are square-cut, thick card stock with standard makeup of 52 cards (no jokers.) This is a game of chance played against a dealer. Players aka Punters buy into the game and in theory, there could be up to 48 punters in a game.
The odds are stacked mildly in the dealer’s favor when played straight-up, but often were manipulated with special card wells that enabled easier cheating on the dealer’s part. Since cheating was so easy and prevalent, Faro fell out of favor in modern times.
If you’d like to conjure up some of the Old West feeling, you can get your Pharo Cards from our online shop and find the rules to the game here.
We have a load of fun at Oddyssea. It’s part of the experience of the shop. When you visit, you get to participate in that fun. It could be as simple as giggling at our product selections (Public Toilet Survival Kits seem to elicit this reaction frequently for instance.)
But some of our visitors take this to a whole, new level. Recently we placed Magic Eye Glasses out to increase our SQ in the shop. What’s an SQ you ask? It’s the Silly Quotient or the ratio of silly stuff to serious stuff in the shop. We try to keep that ratio healthy and robust.
Back to the story, some of our visitors get in on this silly thing whole hog. When we were merchandising the Magic Eye Glasses, they were simply too good to keep in the package. So we set them out for “fashion photography” and got some good ones. My favorite is the gentleman in this post who had the ensemble down: leather coat, captain’s hat with whale emblem, regulation scruffy white beard, and of course, Magic Eye Glasses worn with a slight grin.
Sure, we’re a business and we want to be successful – a big part of that is in having happy visitors who aren’t afraid to be a little (or a lot) silly. We certainly don’t hold back while we’re in the shop, why should you? A laugh makes any day a little brighter. We hope you have one somewhere today and invite you to come down to the shop for a chuckle if you’d like to join us.
One of the best things about having the shop is the ability to interact with interesting people. A couple of months ago, a man and his young son and a new born dropped by for a visit and literally spent an hour roaming around exploring and playing with everything we had. Mom was getting a well deserved break (sleep one presumes.)
As the visit drew to a close, the father promised his son one small item of his choice to take home. The son selected a scorpion lollypop and came over to the register to settle up where the father determined that he’d left his wallet at home. The father turned to tell his son “we’ll get one next time” and you could see the disappointment in his eyes.
We never want our visitors to leave disappointed so we gave the lolly to the little boy and he was ecstatic. The father was relieved and promised to come back in to pay for the lolly, we never expected him to do so however.
Last weekend, the same family dropped in and the father insisted upon buying the lolly after the fact. Not only that, the family brought their friends and relatives along with them to enjoy the shop and we believe they all enjoyed the visit. Events like these make the shop a joy to work – happy people having a good time. Fortunately, we have dozens of stories like this in the few months we’ve been open and they all reinforce our notion that you can make a positive impact with a little effort.
Return visits, particularly return visits when bringing others to the shop, are the best indication to us that we’re doing the right stuff. And what a compliment those visits are. Thanks for all the support from our visitors!
We love to find new ways to use materials and were delighted when we found an opportunity to use recycled newspaper along with graphite for pencils.
Unlike many recycled/upcycled materials, there is no compromise with these pencils, they work very well.
We’ve gotten a trial batch that we’re happy to offer at $5 per tube. Come on down and check them out sometime!
We’ve been waiting impatiently for this little female to grace the shop, and today she arrived. She’s fresh in from Indonesia and as you may have guessed, she’s a crab eating macaque aka Macaque fascicularis.
One interesting fact about this monkey is that despite its name, it doesn’t eat crabs. Rather it’s an opportunistic omnivore with a high percentage of its diet consisting of nuts and fruits. She’s also part of a wide-ranging species covering much of southeast Asia.
We’re happy to welcome her into the shop and hope you can come see her in person at the shop.
We have a confluence of events fast approaching! The first is Pi Day – the annual celebration of March 14th aka 3.14. We love Pi, so we want to share that love with you during your visit where will provide you with a 10% discount on the purchase of any round item.
But wait, there’s more (we say doing our best Steve Jobs imitation.) Have you heard of the Raspberry Pi Project? In a nutshell, this is a small computer, about the size of a deck of playing cards, that was designed in the UK to encourage the broadest possible use of computing in education. In other words, making computing accessible (attractive price point) and extensible / hackable via open source software.
In honor of the Raspberry Pi and Pi Day, we’re going to host an all day Pi Party on March 14th, 10am-6pm at the shop and You Are Invited.
We will be running an open house with some nibbles from the Moonside Bakery (raspberry pi-lets,) a table setup with power and monitors, a guest wifi service, and assistance from Mike (and any other willing geeks) to help you setup your Raspberry Pi and get it ready to go for your project. You are welcome to bring your Raspberry Pi to the shop to hack or you can pickup a handy Raspberry Pi Hardware Starter Kit from us at the shop or online.
It should be a fun and sweet day, it’s happening at the shop 10am-6pm on March 14th. We hope to see you there!
The ostrich (struthio camelus) is the world’s largest bird. It is one of two species of flightless bird, but don’t feel badly for the ostrich, it can attain running speeds of over 40mph and is the fastest land bird (sorry road runner!)
When threatened, ostriches will flatten themselves to the ground to “disappear” – which is difficult for an animal that can grow up to 9′ tall and can weigh up to 340lbs. They will also try to run away. If neither of those strategies are successful, they will resort to kicking their predator.
Ostriches live in flocks of up to 50 individuals and feed on shrubs, fruits, flowers, and grass. You’ll find the noble ostrich in Africa, the Middle East, and Asia. You can also find the one and only (we think) ostrich skull on the coast. Come visit Mr. Ostrich at the shop sometime!
We hope you all enjoyed a wonderful holiday season. It’s a new year and we’ve got a bunch of stuff cooking at Oddyssea we thought you might like to know about.
There are several things we’d like to share in this newsletter including our inaugural Raspberry Pi Party, our Pinterest presence, the February Holiday HeART Walk, and Terrarium Tuesday.
First things first, we’ve kicked off the new year with some new hours. The big change? We’re now closed on Wednesdays. However, the online shop is always open, 24×7.
Do you ever get bored on Tuesday? Have we got the cure for you – you are invited to visit, drop in, and build a terrarium at our work table with our resident terrarium artists and the kicker? You’ll get a 10% discount on your creation. That’s right, just show up, create, and have fun on a Tuesday. No reservation necessary.
February is Valentine month and we’re celebrating with our fellow Main Street shops on February 9th from 2-5pm with the SOMA HeART Walk. We hope you will drop by.
Do you pin? Pinterest is a shared, online cork board where any interested party can share interesting things with the broader community. Since we’re a visual bunch, we love what Pinterest can do. Check out our boards and follow, like, and re-pin. We’d love to see what you like and what you share.
We are totally letting our geek flag fly on Pi Day (March 14th aka 3.14 day) with a Raspberry Pi Party. What is a Raspberry Pi you ask? It is an inexpensive, micro computer that you can use for all sorts of things from appliances to home automation to entertainment. You are invited to drop by on Raspberry Pi Party Day (3.14) to learn how to install, configure, and use the computer. We have slots available all day and you’re welcome to bring your own and have fun or purchase a Pi Party Pack from us. We hope to see you there.
Finally, if none of these things tickle your fancy, we’re constantly updating our inventory to keep things interesting. Come in, browse around, enjoy the weird stuff we have, ask for a magic trick. We’re happy to have your company and hope to see you soon.
We wish you a great 2013 and thank you for your continued support!
Ellen, Mike, and the rest of the Oddyssea Gang