Paper, cut

Today during lunch I stopped at a neighborhood stationer’s store called Write Ons Etc. to grab some little notecards and envelopes to tuck in with the holiday discs. (Curse you, M & Co., for giving me a taste of the good stationery while you were still open in downtown Mesa.) Last year I used envelopes and cards by a company called Marsupial that had a great color and sheen, so I was hoping to replicate that success.

Write Ons probably does most of its business in wedding invitations, so having a large supply of card stock and envelopes isn’t a necessity. And I’m sure a dude in a flannel shirt and jeans doesn’t have “big spender” written all over him, either.


I was looking for red 3×5 envelopes, not some rare oddity. I found a single envelope in the right style but a larger size, so when the sales associate came over after 5 minutes to treat me like I was shoplifting ask if I was finding everything OK, I said, “Actually, no. Do you have more of these in stock? I’m hoping to pick up about 50 of them, and some white card stock as inserts.”

“No,” she replied. “We’re out.” She tried to steer me in the direction of some faded spring green instead (see sample at right) but I said I was looking for something a bit more rich and holiday-ish. “Will you be getting more stock in anytime soon?”

“No,” she said. “It looks like you’ll just have to start earlier next year.”

My friend Sharyn and I have this game called “What I Thought / What I Said.” It’s a good way to swap stories of admirable restraint in situations that would set off a hair-trigger temper. (Which, technically, I possess, although over the years I have developed a great sense of diplomacy that often includes suppressing those autonomic responses for something more civilized.) Shall we play that now?

What I thought: “Bitch, it is NOVEMBER. Don’t try to put this on me.”

What I said (feigning sympathy): “It’s got to be tough missing out on three weeks of sales on such a popular item this time of year, along with whatever else they wanted to buy that would go in them. Good luck!”

And then I drove a few miles out of my way to a different place. Paper Joy is right next to La Grange Orange, which means parking is tough, and the website suggests making an appointment, which almost put me off going altogether. It’s also a little claustrophobic — not a lot of space for browsing. (I think it’s about the size of my bedroom.) But when I walked in, the owner helped me find exactly what I had been looking for, and I walked out 5 minutes later and $35 poorer.

For a stationery shop, $35 isn’t really a lot of money, compared to what invitations cost. But when you consider that works out to $7 a minute, with no work beyond counting out multiples of 45, that’s a good profit. I got my cards and envelopes, and the owner got not only an easy sale but all of my future business as well. So even if I do start earlier next year, it won’t be with anything purchased at Write Ons.

WHAT SAM WORE: 11-30-11
The shirt: Dark blue plaid Gothics Mountain flannel button-down,
on clearance for $19 at Abercrombie & Fitch online.
The pants: Dark-wash jeans by William Rast for Target.
The shoes: Leather sneakers by Skechers, from Last Chance.

2 responses to “Paper, cut

  1. That encounterin the paper store is the single funniest story I;ve heard in weeks. I’ve been going around starting sentences with “Bitch,” ever since and I need to stop.

    • Sam Mittelsteadt

      In my head it sounded amazing, but I always fear that if I were to try it in real life, the result would come off like some snippet from “RuPaul’s Drag Race.” (Which would be entertaining in its own way, but not quite the effect I was going for.)

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