What can I say about Target that has not been said. Perched at the top of a minimall complex on LaBrea avenue near Hollywood, this branch of the famous chain store has all the requisite Target extras: cheap prices, well stocked store, good lighting, courteous staff. There are always sale and closeout racks to be found which can include some real bargains. Their return policy is good, if you don't mind standing in the seemingly neverending line. The only thing that sets this Target apart from all the others is its hideous parking. Unlike the normal giant parking lots where Targets are found, this one has an underground lot which can be murder at nights and weekends. And, if you happen to browse and not decide to buy anything, they will actually charge you for parking. Welcome to Hollywood.
I have been a major fan of The Groundlings comedy troupe in Hollywood for years. This is an all improv group whose alumni read like a who's who of comedy, including Jon Lovitz, PeeWee Herman, Lorraine Newman, Lisa Kudrow, Cheri Oteri and on and on. They perform in a little theater on Melrose Avenue several times a week. Several times during the evening of prepared skits, suggestions from the audience are welcome and are used to make up sketches right before your eyes. A long precursor to WHOSE LINE IS IT ANYWAY, the Groundlings have been brilliantly performing for many years. Even though there might be a clinker sketch now and then, most are pure gold and you never know what future star might be performing for you. A real treat.
Best Buy in West Los Angeles is one of those great electronics and more shops where you can browse for hours. There is an ample selection of electronics, home audio and stereo equipment, prerecorded music, computers and computer related merchandise and much more. There is a very helpful sales staff. You are always greeted at the door and offered assistance. The assistance doesn't always have the exact answers to your questions as on a recent visit when it took three people to get my TiVo inquiry straight. But everyone is friendly and eager to place. Their DVD selection is very complete as well, especially regarding old television series. There is never any pressure to buy which makes it a pleasant experience.
For those who love browsing, Fry's is electronic heaven. A Costo for eletronics (and much more), Fry's is situated near Burbank Airport which makes it great for wandering while waiting to do an airport pickup. The prices are very good and they have virtually anything imaginable in the way of electronics and appliances, stereos and tvs, etc. My only beef with Fry's is that you usually have to hunt down a Salesperson, even on a non-weekend day, and I've found them to be more interested in selling you the item than in answering your questions. I don't find the staff to be extremely knowledgeable but if pressed, they'll find you someone who is. I usually leave Fry's with something (even if it's not the item for which I was looking) and it's a totally fun place to while away the afternoon.
I have been going to Miller Nissan on Van Nuys Boulevard for years. I was always hesitant to use a dealership for service since there is the stigma that they will always charge more than a mechanic. But I have found that the staff at Miller Nissan is honest and hardworking and will be completele honest about whatever they find under my hood, while advising me what is immediate and what can wait. I usually deal with Phil who greets me with a smile and is patient when discussing my particular problems. Since I'm not especially car-savvy, I appreciate how he talks in "layman's terms" and not car gobblety-gook. Although there is a waiting room, Miller offers a free shuttle to anywhere in the area, with the Sherman Oaks Galleria and Fashion Square Malls in convenient distance. They will also bring you back. I highly recommend Miller for fast and reliable service, even for quick oil changes which are as reasonable as your local Jiffy Lube.
It's amazing how many birthdays, anniversaries, bar mitzvahs, weddings and other occasions seem to come my way every other week. For any occasion, I purchase my cards at Cynthia's Hallmark. It is located on the top floor of the Sherman Oaks Galleria. It is extremeley easy to get to as parking is plentiful. I grab myself a coffee from the nearby Food Court and wander Cynthia's looking for the cards I knew I needed, and those I didn't. Always wanting to be safe rather than sorry, I'm always purchasing extra cards for all occasions. The staff at Cynthia's is very knowledgeable and helpful. They always seems to be celebrating -- I once came in Oct. 1 and was greeted with Christmas music! There are other items such as stationary, wrapping paper and small toys. For extra savings, join the Hallmark Gold Crown program and receive free points which can be used towards future purchases.
I could spend hours just wandering around Long's Drug. I'm not sure why. Drug stores have never been exactly my choice for browsing but for some reason, I can't just walk in and buy something without wandering each and every aisle. Before I know it, half an hour has passed and I'm not even half done. Long's is not just a drug store but a complete amalgamation of food, cards, speciality items, clothing, cameras, games, etc., etc., etc. The only thing missing is the kitchen sink - though that might be coming soon. The prices are equivalent to other similar type variety stores. The staff is pleasant and always knowledgeable - even if it's not "their" department. For pure enjoyment, take an hour or two and drop into this branch of Long's. I guarantee you won't leave empty handed. And don't expect to just drop in for a quickie.
Ogden's is a wonderful one hour cleaners located in a small strip mall at the corner of Crescent Heights and Wilshire Boulevard. They do terrific work at reasonable prices. When they make a mistake, which is rare, there is never a complaint or defense, they just accept responsibility and make it right. When was the last cleaners that could say that? Additionally, you get a bonus right before you pay. They lead you to a felt "craps" board and have you roll the dice. Depending on what you roll, you can get a 10, 20, or 30 percent discount on your cleaning. The employees are always very friendly and greet you with a smile. They seem genuinely happy to have you shop with them and I, for one, am happy to continue to do so.
I discovered C&C Internet Cafe when I had a computer breakdown in the middle of the night, of course hours before I had a project due. I had previous seen the location, at the corner of LaBrea and Sunset Boulevard in Hollywood, CA, and filed it away in my mind for future use. I trekked up to the location and discovered two floors full of computers waiting to be used. At 4 o'clock on the morning, I was shocked to see a rather large crowd of others using the computers. It seemed to be a mix of young kids playing games, writers, and computer nerds happy to be out of their homes. I was able to buy a rather cheap card and got lots of mileage out of it in the next week. I recommend this internet cafe for those needing to log on immediately at any hour of the day or night. Food is also available. The only downside is that when I encountered a problem, none of the staff seemed to be able to help. On a subsequent visit (at the more sane hour of 12 noon), I was able to get some more knowledgeable people. And
When I moved back to L.A. after an absence, I needed an immediate p.o. box. Since the U.S. Mail service refused to give me one (I had no "permanent address,") I came upon Box Depot, at the corner of Wilshire Boulevard and Crescent Heights. It was perfect. You get a p.o. box with 24 hour access (although it is only staffed between 8 and 6 on M-F and 8 and 4 on Sat). The owners are extremely nice and always greet you with a smile. The best part is that they accept packages, UPS Shipments and FedEx. If you live in an apartment and are never home, like me, it is like having a full-time concierge at your fingertips. You can also ship out mail and packages from there. A real find!