Thursday, August 19, 2010




1 : to make beautiful with ornamentation :decorate
2 : to heighten the attractiveness of by adding decorative or fanciful details : enhance

I'm reminded of my stint working at A.C. Moore (arts, crafts, and more...with the extra "o" for...prestige?) in 1998. This was a store filled at least 84%* with useless junk: fake flowers, styrofoam balls, wooden letters, decorative stamps, pipe cleaners, tinsel, puff paint, scrapbooking supplies, miniature (doll) housewares, plastic beads, and magnetic notepads made in Korea. Actually, I'm sure everything in that store was made in Korea or Taiwan. This was a store that made its fortune off the craft movement that boomed in the late eighties—bored and restless housewives in need of a hobby, too impatient to knit or sew or paint, who want simply to stick one cheap plastic thing to another with the help of a glue gun.

Okay, to be fair, I'm all in favor of making anything. The act of "making" or exercising the creative muscle is surely better than parking in front of a television, but places like A.C. Moore really sell people short. It's like selling someone an Abflex and a bottle of diet pills instead of encouraging her to eat healthy and exercise. A.C. Moore is basically saying, "I know you're stupid, so I'm going to sell you some overpriced plastic junk along with a book explaining how to EMBELLISH a lamp shade with said junk while simultaneously making you believe you are 'creative' and should come back to our store to further invest in your new artistic lifestyle."

I worked there for six months, pressing buttons on a register and serving miserable, overweight, suburbanites. I quit the day my boss called me "Carly" three times; when I finally said, "My name's not Carly," he responded, "Well, whatever your name is, come over here and help me move this display." It was a spinny rack showcasing fake award ribbons. And I was done.

*The other 16% was yarn and a "fine arts" section with some paint and canvases.

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