Posted by: cassymuronaka | March 31, 2010

The Tall Mouse tiptoes away

I keep hearing that the recession is ending, but you wouldn’t know it from living in California, where all the former pots of gold have rusted and the leprechauns scattered, all looking for fresh rainbows and new nuggets. One of the latest casualties to hit my area is the loss of one of three mom-and-pop craft supply stores that kept artists and crafters in foam board and earring findings for many years.

The Tall Mouse began its closing sale today in Cerritos, CA, today at 9 am. This store is located in a large outdoor shopping complex, and when I arrived at about 9:20, fleets of mostly middle-aged women were circling the large parking lot in their cars like hungry sharks, ready to pounce on an available parking space.

At that time, the checkstands were not too crowded, but the store was hopping. You almost needed a whip to work your way through the yarn department. However, by the time I had finished cruising the aisles and had made thoughtful decisions about how many Exacto knife blades I really ought to have, that first wave of determined shoppers had shifted to one of the many now-lengthy register checklines and were killing time by snooping through the contents of the carts and baskets of the other people around them.

Before I left my house, I promised myself I was not going to buy anything that …

A.) I didn’t really need
B.) Wasn’t priced awesomely

I can’t say that I desperately needed about 10 papier-mâché eggs of varying size, but the price was not bad, and I had not been able to find any at any of the chain craft stores during the last several weeks, so I was able to justify the purchase. I’m all ready for Easter of 2011 now.

Most of the store’s inventory has only been knocked down about 20 percent, although there were a few 50- and 70 percent-off buys. But the selection was as good as it is going to get. That’s always the problem faced by garage sailors and going-out-of-business shoppers: Do I go early and get what I want at the lesser discount, or do I go later when the selection is not-so-good but the prices have been slashed?

I’m very big on showing up at the last possible minute at a sale, which means I often end up with nothing or something very odd and wonderful at a very good price, so today’s trip was a little out of character for me. On the other hand, a measley 20 percent discount keeps my ATM card more firmly anchored in my wallet.

Most of the people who were opening their wallets were interested in scrapbooking materials, floral supplies and fake pumpkins. I cannot explain the zeal for the latter, especially given that some surprisingly appealing two-feet high white reindeer, not to mention a lot of Christmas ornaments, appeared to go begging.

In the end, the trip was more about the adventure and less about the purchases I made, which probably was a good thing financially. I might come back later when they’re selling more of the store fixtures at reduced prices. You never can tell when you need a 25-foot wall of pegboard.


  1. Actually, this is from Sharon — This is exactly the sort of thing that would be so welcome on our FB project! I really enjoyed reading this.

    • Thank you so much, Sharon!

  2. This is from me and I agree that it’s an awesome post

  3. […] shares her craft store closing sale adventures in hilarious detail. Her suburban haikus are a hoot. Often her photos speak for themselves. Cassy […]

  4. This was so much fun to read….we must be related LOL!!

    • Thank you!

  5. I worked thier from 98 to 99
    thats when they still had crafts .
    over the years the crafts slowly disappeared.
    It was wonderful craft when first open rivaled
    michaels at one time.
    bad management was a constent occurence
    thats because the original owner was getting old.
    Thats when daughter and son and law stepped in.
    Hiring almost all family and friends.
    which most did not have clue about the bussiness.
    it was evident by mistakes that were made.
    I suspect most money that was suppose go to the stores went to high salaries of the family & friends.
    I met daughter and son law once they came
    off as flase. the son in law was kinda of a bulldog.
    Bought stuff in bulk not needed in a craft store
    I remember a boxs of asian brush never put for sale and huge pallette of green spray paint
    about a 100 of them.
    a manager at the time who had no idea what
    she was doing never really there, just smoozing
    with owners.
    There so much lack of mangement is was not funny. I got blamed for things that were not my fault. there still crafts though just have mail order

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