Goody Goody
When it comes to wine and spirits, Goody Goody Oak Lawn's staff know their stuff. Don't be surprised if when you walk in the door you're warmly greeted by at least three or more alcohol aficionados — especially during peak hours. The staff is eager to guide you through the expansive wine and liquor selections. Not only is the service great, the prices aren't bad either. Despite an expansive selection, when you ask the staff for suggestions and recommendations they'll have an answer for you, and if they don't, they'll ask someone else, and if that fails they'll happily hop on the computer and find it. There's no hard sell here, just good old-fashioned customer service.
Curiosities
We've known proprietor Jason Cohen since his days running Forbidden Books in Expo Park; he's the man who introduced us to the joys of Naughty Dallas ... and Naughty Dallas, the movie, which is a whole other story. But then he morphed into a picker, an expert in discerning your trash from your treasures and then directing them to the attention of those of us who like to go to, let's say, curated garage sales. No, he doesn't specialize in Texas goodies, but he and the others sellers in the shop keep their searches close to home, which is why we spent one brutal Saturday afternoon agonizing over whether to take home original Norman Bell sketches done for Southwestern Bell Yellow Pages covers or a Tango opening-week poster or a State Fair panoramic dating back to the '20s. We panicked and left with a press photo of the Dallas Eagles baseball club of 1951, which we found buried beneath a pile of old magazines and newspapers. Pick your picker.
Mike's Hobby Shop
We admit calling Mike's best "hobby shop" might be limiting the definition of hobby a bit. Maybe your hobby is knitting, or pottery or viewing online porn. Fine, there are plenty of yarn stores, craft shops and the Internet out there for you. Our hobby — the non-Internet one, anyway — involves things with electric motors that go high and fast and, sadly, break fairly regularly under our unskilled hands. If radio-controlled airplanes, cars or boats are your thing, Mike's is the best place for kits, servos, motors, radios and any other part you can send on a death spiral into the ground. The joint is huge, with dozens of models of scale planes dangling from the roof, plus indoor and outdoor tracks in an adjacent warehouse space featuring a competition schedule for RC car hobbyists who prefer to keep things mostly on the ground. (Watch out for the jumps. In fact, just watch these guys go. There's some amazing miniature driving on display nearly every day.) The employees know their gear and will even take the time to explain it to rookies, and prices are comparable to online shops. Best of all, there's not a dried flower, ball of yarn or gnome in the joint.
Retro Revolution
This is a head shop? Where are the shelves lined with vibrators and dildos? How nice it is to venture into a store catering to fans of the herb that doesn't treat tokers like they're one skeevy step away from being a perv. Browse through the collection of retro-style clothing, art, jewelry, tchotchkes and incense and you may forget why you're there — to blow bucks on an original, artfully blown, hand-crafted "water pipe." (Of course, "water pipe" fans are liable to forget lots of things.) No worries though, Retro has a vast array of pipes, extractors, papers, jars, grinders and all the other accoutrements needed to keep the hippie in you happy. Well, all but one. This ain't California.
Kohl's Plano East
We're men. That's spelled M, E-child, N. Buh-DUH-buh-bump. What we want from clothes is fairly straightforward: Not much ironing, durable, fit for wearing almost anywhere without requiring that we think about it too much. Oh, and cheap. Cheap is good because it leaves us more money to spend on things we really care about, like beer and toys and more beer. We're not saying all the men are fashion idiots here at the Observer. It's just that many of us — particularly in the seedier parts of the editorial department — are the sort who think savoir faire is a fancy kind of wine. That's why we are grateful for Kohl's, where we can sort through a massive stock of shirts and pants and in 10 minutes (that's about all the clothes shopping we're good for) walk away with a half-dozen items that will see us through a season and not make us look like we should be hustling for spare change. Nordstrom, Jos A. Bank, etc. are fine for fancy duds and there are tons of consignment shops if you want to try to pull off a hipster look. For some of us, though, clothes are a utility, something to be worn to avoid giving offense, something that shouldn't cost more than a fine bottle of bourbon. We shop at Kohl's.
American Eyewear
Remember those awful, dated glasses your mom and dad used to wear? Remember when you thought a giant pair of aviators or a set of Euro-styled teeny-weeny specs flattered your face? We hate to break it to you, but the fruit doesn't fall far from the tree. By that we mean those glasses on your face would make Mom and Dad proud. Seriously, tiny half frames are not a good fit on a American-sized melon head. You need help, and American Eyewear is there for you. With hundreds of styles to choose from by designers like Oliver Peoples, Gucci, Prada, Armani and Paul Frank, the staff at this 30-plus-year-old independent shop can guide you to something stylish that fits properly. Located on Preston near Northwest Highway, it's not the cheapest eyewear shop in town, but really, Waldo, you wear these things on your face every day. Maybe it's time to splurge.
Whole Earth Provision Co.
Have you seen the camping plates, cups and even cooking implements that unsnap and fold down flat like a piece of paper? What about the thing that's a compass and a waterproof matchbox all in one? Do you have one of those little metal things that's flat and fits in a shirt pocket, but it unfolds into a mini pellet stove that can boil a cup of water? But not in the paper folding cup. That could be bad. Most camping departments in bigger stores have a shelf of these partially useful eccentric outdoor gewgaws, but Whole Earth has the complete collection in its back room. Just looking at this stuff is the next best thing to actually camping.
David Day Redenta's Garden
Dallas potter David Day throws traditional terra cotta flower pots, whitewashed and stamped with their weight and city of origin (Dallas), ranging from one and a half to 12 pounds per pot in a variety of classical shapes. The whitewash gives them an especially timeless aura. Day learned his craft as a demonstration potter at Old City Park, then moved to the Cedars and set up his own full-scale studio. He works now at what he calls a "real job" during the week but continues to throw pots in his spare time. The management at Redenta's says the supply of David Day pots is sometimes a little spotty, but the pots are so special that people are happy to get on a list to wait for them.
Micro Center
Didn't say cheapest, did we? Micro Center usually has very competitive prices for computers and peripherals of all kinds, but the big thing here is "knowledgeable." That's important if you're trying to find a computer store where the employees know one single thing about the stuff they're selling. Or what day it is. Micro Center has the kind of sales people you have to wait in line to talk to sometimes because they're so busy solving everybody's problems. The point is, they know how, so it's well worth the wait. You can save money at this place just by not buying the wrong stuff and burning gas taking it all back six times. They also have a major service department.
Uncommon Market
If you ever frequented the old location in the Victorian houses on Fairmount where Uncommon Market did business for 40 years, you're in for a big surprise. The new location, in a vast airy warehouse on the edge of the Design District, is open and accessible but still manages to preserve that wonderful sense of discovery and surprise as you maneuver from room to room. The core attraction is the same — one of the region's most exhaustive stocks of antique decoration, hardware, furniture and props gathered from all over this country and Europe. Where else could you go and choose from four dozen different antique leather suitcases? Where else is there an entire warehouse space full of antique lighting fixtures? Or multiple retired 12-man rowing shells? It's so uncommon.

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