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Ali Shops Blog

Posts Tagged ‘shopping’

On the shopping beat

Saturday, December 22nd, 2007

People (well, people who like to shop) tend to think I have a dream job. Even those who don’t like to shop are usually intrigued by visions of me running through malls all day grabbing whatever I want. Yes, I am one of the few who can say to her boss "I’ll be at the mall" and have that not be a bad thing. And I do spend more time than most at stores, but never as much as I spend at a desk. People are considerably less likely to want to steal my gig when they find out that I can’t accept free stuff. I get better swag than anyone at the paper and regularly have stores offering me gift cards and discounts, but I have to turn it all down to avoid conflicts that would make it seem there’s some personal agenda behind what I write.
Still, as I drove around town last week with a trunk full of expensive presents borrowed from local shops, I was struck by the oddness of what I do. I literally walk into stores, say, "this is cool!" and they let me take it, often without even leaving a business card. It’s an odd power. I do it to show gifts, trends, hot items on TV or in the paper. And heck, it’s a lot more fun than pushing paper. But what it really amounts to: a whole lot of schlepping.

I’m a shopper, not a blogger, but here goes…

Wednesday, November 8th, 2006

   “Must be rough – shopping for a living,” the woman behind the counter at the post office said to me the other day. What could I say? It’s a dream come true. When I tell my boss I’ll be at the mall, she nods approvingly.

   As shopping columnist for the St. Paul Pioneer Press, I pride myself on staying on top of the ever-changing Twin Cities retail scene. New stores, cool trends, hot concepts. I’m constantly impressed by the many enterprising people in town who are willing to take a risk and open a store to bring us more clever stuff to ogle. I write about such shops and products in the Pioneer Press every week.

   And then the information disappears with the recyclables.
   I’ve long thought it would be great to have an online resource at my fingertips to help me find the newest shops, to remind of the boutique names I can’t recall, to steer me to the best shopping within a particular town or product category. There are a million websites that tell you what to buy, but first things first: you’ve got to know where to shop.
   So I created a website that will do all that – without any influence from retailers. What’s the use of a guide that says every store is wonderful? I’m not out to slam anyone (mother always told me: if you don’t have anything nice to say, don’t say anything at all), but I am hoping to provide some color, so you’ll know whether each store listed is your kind of shop.
   I hope you’ll find this guide useful, and I hope it leads to new discoveries – because shopping is all about the hunt. | Mpls.St.Paul Magazine © 2008 MSP Communications, Inc. All rights reserved