The guys at Enterprise rock: free soda when you walk in, nice people, and they deal. Granted, renting a car is usually not a pleasant experience, especially because the majority of cars are rented when your car is in the shop. And if your car is in the shop for a prolonged period of time, it's because you were in an accident. These guys understand. Here's a sample conversation:

YOU: "Hey, I was in a wreck, and I need a rental car. But I'm also under 25 and really don't want to spend an extra $20/day just because I'm younger."

THEM: "No problem. These things happen. We've got a full-size car for $36/day."

YOU: "F@#k! I only wanted an economy size and $36/day is too F@#$%n pricey."

THEM: " All right. Check this out. We'll rent you the full size at the economy price of $23/day, and you get unlimited miles. Now how you like them apples?"

YOU: "I likes."

The folks at Rent-A-Wreck understand that the primary need of a customer is to obtain reliable transportation. This is a no-frills auto rental shop, but that doesn't mean the cars are inferior, despite the unfortunate name. We loved the midsized automobile that we rented for a week at a price far lower than at one of the national chain stores. Next time you need a car between auto shop visits, save a few dollars and check them out.

The people who sell their CDs to this store either have fickle tastes or really love their CD burners, because it's easy to score used copies of new albums here. The selection runs the gamut from small, local labels to major-label releases with healthy doses of independent releases and imports available too. The selection is better than most, and so are the prices. Depending on the number of copies in stock and how long they've been sitting around, a used CD runs from $2 to $9. That means you'll save enough on that used 'N Sync CD to grab their Japanese import with the additional tracks.

OK, so the stock on hand doesn't match up with the warehouse chains, but owner Donna Cressman and her staff make up for it with friendly service and by offering useful critiques of books they've actually read. The selection of hardbacks and paperbacks is good, and if they don't have the particular title you're looking for, they'll quickly order it and give you a call when it arrives. The salespeople obviously love books and are quick to tack a note on the shelves offering a personal review of something they're eager to recommend. It's one of those hospitable stops that visiting authors, touring to beat the drum for their latest tomes, love to see on their schedules. It also sells a good selection of magazines, national and local, and greeting cards for every occasion.

In the late 1940s, Angus Wynne began building the Wynnewood community, the heart of which was the Wynnewood Village shopping center. By the early 1990s, this once very modern shopping center was an almost-abandoned hulk. In an almost miraculous rebirth it's again flourishing with stores that run the gamut, from Bobby's T-Shirts and Pan Africa Connection to Kroger and MacFrugals.

Don't stop driving until you find this hidden stone yard in Oak Cliff, snuggled against the Trinity River levee. Drive in and weigh your vehicle. Then wander the rows of stone to your heart's content, admiring rocks hauled from all over the United States. Even though it's near downtown, this is a lost bucolic corner of the city: You'll scare up some cottontails as you search. Load up what you want, weigh out, and pay up. They also deliver.

Whole Foods Market
Healthy food can be hard to come by, but Whole Foods has no problem keeping a vast stock. From organic veggies to vitamin supplements, the granola munchers of Dallas have a place to call their own. The produce sections are large and the alternative vegetarian fare--tofu dogs and such--is more varied than what most non-healthy eaters would believe possible. A fun aisle contains books of varying worth, from holistic eating guides to vegetarian manifestos. The people at Whole Foods, by and large, look pretty fit and trim; perhaps the best endorsement of the natural food concept is their toned bodies. For those who are not so committed to health but want a light meal, the prepared food section is pricey but delicious.

Times have changed in the health-food business. Lost to the beef culture are the local health-conscious restaurants of old. Natura's, Eureka's, and Preston's have all succumbed to the Atkins diet and gone belly up. Low-fat now means chicken-fried steak without the gravy. Mega-health food stores with enclosed food courts rule the day. For those who like their carrot juice freshly chilled and their wheat grass freshly mowed, there is still Roy's in Preston Royal Shopping Center. This health-food store is small but hands-on, a holdover from the organic health food movement of the '60s when wheat germ was king. Knowledgeable devotees peddle a vast array of vitamins and supplements to keep you thinking that you are doing something, anything, to stay young. Try the protein plate if all else fails.

SPCA of Texas Lone Star Campus
The SPCA of Texas has been around since 1938, so it's a sure bet you're dealing with a reputable group. Each month, the nonprofit organization handles an average of 1,200 animals. It has two locations, one in Dallas, another in McKinney, and you can adopt a pet at either place. The Dallas location can house more than 200 animals at a time, and the McKinney location can shelter another 80. That means there is a good selection of pets from which to choose. Dogs are $129, cats $99. The SPCA also provides information on numerous breed groups in the Dallas-Fort Worth area, and many of these groups have animals available for adoption or can refer you to a reputable breeder. The SPCA offers many offsite adoption programs.
Not all of us like to acknowledge that we've had to dip into the color wheel now and again, but when middle age starts creeping up and gray hairs become evident, the colorists at this shop know how to keep you away from the tell-tale orangey glow or the just-too-vivid blonds.

Vegas is all about fantasy, and Legend is the way to get there. (It's also the best way to go to Los Angeles, New York, and Washington, D.C.) For less than the price of a spur-of-the-moment ticket on any other airline, you'll be treated like a high roller from the time the valet takes your car at their private terminal until you're on board, wrapped in a roomy, luscious leather seat for the 9:45 p.m. flight. You'll be at the tables by 11:15 p.m. Even if you crap out, Legend will treat you like a high roller on the 1:05 a.m. flight back to Big D.

Best shopping center name in the Internet era

TheWebb@LBJ

You must admit, it's clever, and you won't forget it or the location after glancing at it once.

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