When I first entered Restoration Hardware, I was immediately taken aback at how much it isn't a hardware store. It's a bright, upscale store with all sorts of current and retro items from the hardware world and beyond. Where else can you buy a kazoo right alongside door knobs? Old fashioned record turntables sit next to books on bartending. It's definitely a fun place to browse for gifts for the person who thinks he has everything. The staff is very friendly at this location and very helpful. The prices are not cheap and not expensive but pretty much decent for the items offered. The inventory includes holiday items when necessary (especially around Christmas). They also have a lot of retro items in their original packing (or repackaging to look that way). Babyboomers will especially delight in strolling through the array of items not available at your corner hardware store.
Ross Dress for Less is the type of store where patience really does pay off. For those who've never experienced it, Ross is a warehouse full of racks and racks and more racks of clothes at bargain prices. With no particular division other than by size, there are shirts, pants, dresses and other items of clothing displayed on racks and shelves that you are welcome and encouraged to plow through. They could be damaged but more often than not are just last season's passovers. There are also household furnishings, shoes and who knows what else. (There are always some fun surprises awaiting you.) But, you really have to be in the mood. I have gone in seeking some type of clothing but left because I just couldn't take the crowds (which there are many times, especially on weekends) and didn't have the stamina and patience to go one by one through aisles of shirts looking for one I liked. On the other hand, if you need to update your wardrobe at once, you can certainly do it more inexpensively here than at Macy's.
I have attended many performance at this ultra-tiny playhouse. They are forever presenting off-beat and unusual shows, with an occasional hit here and there. Due to the size, the shows usually contains limited actors but I have seen a couple of small musicals there that have been quite good. The most recent show I saw was JEWTOPIA, a hilarious show that went straight from there to off-Broadway. So you never know who or what you'll be seeing. It's fun to support the smaller houses so I try and visit the Coast occasionally and am usually rewarded with a fun evening. Nearby La Boheme restaraunt is a great place to drink or dine post-show.
Although not the closest lot to LAX, WallyPark is a great place nonetheless to park for long or short term hauls. There are shuttles that leave all the time (one is usually at my car before I get my luggage out!) and the staff is very friendly. WallyPark is located very close to the airport and it takes no time at all to reach your terminal. Conversely, they are always circling the airport when you return. Although you are given a number to call, I never have had to because I merely go out to the assigned curb and a WallyPark shuttle arrives in no time. There is ample parking - I've never been denied a space. And they take the AAA card. I have also found coupons for WallyPark on the internet as well so a little pre-trip planning can save you money. For big spenders, you can park with the bumper guards that protect your car and have your car washed and gassed before you return.
World Book and News is, quite frankly, the best newsstand in the world. I might be exaggerating but not much. This 24/7 business located on Cahuenga Boulevard in Hollywood is a browser's delight. There are so many magazines, I wouldn't even dare to guess the amount they stock. They carry the ordinary weeklys and "trade" magazines, rare and hobby issues, games, "racy" magazines, foreign and domestic newspapers and on and on. You can always find people milling about, 24 hours a day and night, with their noses in some magazine they might only be able to find in the heart of Hollywood. Although the staff, usually consisting of one man hanging out front, doesn't condone reading the material without purchasing, I've never had anyone tell me to drop the Newsweek and run. Subtlety is the name of the game. And it's a great people watching spot, as well.
I stumbled upon For Eyes from one of those coupon inserts in your mail. I needed a checkup and some new glasses. I was thrilled to discover the very nice, friendly and professional people at For Eyes. In their small store, there is a doctor to give eye checkups, and a very knowledgeable and helpful staff to assist in finding just the right pair of frames. They explain everything - no hidden fees here. Although they take most forms of optical insurance, if you don't have insurance, they work with you so your bill won't pop your eyes out of their sockets. Even without another coupon, I would come back to For Eyes.
I discovered the Fashion Square Mall in Sherman Oaks when I was searching for a big mall to walk in during a bout of rain storms. The mall is filled with the standard mall stores, anchored by Bloomingdale's at one end and Macy's on the other. There are two floors and a food court on the top. I love to stroll up and down each floor at a brisk pace... and I am not alone. The mall is bursting with walkers early in the morning, smiling and getting their exercise. But I found a special bonus above the food court. There is a special alcove with overflowing seats for excess food court customers. It became my daily place to come in the morning and sit with my computer and write. I would visit the Coffee Bean downstairs and bring my coffee up to one of the many tables (with lots of plugs) and just write in silence. A great, unpretentious mall with all the expected stores and some unexpected treats.
Although every person in L.A. claims to hate Walmart for their political and union practices and aspirations to take over the world, you'd never know it from the mobs at this branch in the Fallbrook Mall. Hordes of people shove their way through the aisles looking for bargains, including me. I love Walmart. With deodorant prices at rock bottom prices, fifteen varieties of razors, sale racks galore of durable clothes, electronics, automotive, videos, appliances... I could go on and on. There is literally nothing you can't buy at Walmart for amazingly low prices. It's the type of place you go into for three things and end up with a trunk full. And my personal favorite is the Sam's (as in Walton) Trail Mix which is worth the drive in itself. The staff is friendly and helpful and will usually walk you right to the item you want. Target, eat your heart out.
Aahs has always been one of my favorite card and novelty stores. There are tons of cards of every type. From funny and sappy to naughty and beyond. There is an especially large selection of humorous cards for all occasions. I usually end up purchasing a bunch of cards to use for later, in addition to those I came for. There is also a large selection of novelty items. This is a great place to shop for gag gifts for birthdays and office parties. The staff is very friendly and can usually direct you to the right card within their tremendous collection. I highly recommend Aahs for a fun browse and some terrific buys.
I found this branch of Verizon to be especially lousy regarding customer service. The staff is obviously rehearsed to sell sell sell but the minute you try and return with a problem or a question, they can cite every rule in the book why they shouldn't have to help. I tried to return a faulty phone and the snotty salesman immediately started telling me all the reasons why I was responsible and they weren't. It's absolutely amazing how a company of this worldwide stature can condone this type of customer non-service. Additionally, the weekend lines can be interminable. I wouldn't recommend this branch of Verizon at all.