Tuesday, April 29, 2008

Life is good. For illiterates.



The only bookstore in downtown Palm Springs closed their doors a couple of months ago...



...and in its place a retail outlet has opened selling "Life is good." merchandise.



The brand was started by a pair of Boston brothers, Bert and John Jacobs, in 1994 (click here for their company history)...



...and it's a weird melange of "The Power of Positive Thinking" and whimsical, graphical childishness...



...printed on cheap cotton clothing and just about anything else one can think of that usually features a logo, such as golf balls.



For this Palm Springs grand opening, the brothers had arrived with two whimsical race cars covered in positive slogans...



...and they were also signing copies of their $20 cutesy book with little drawings and positive sayings, which was sincerely depressing since they were doing so in front of a recently deceased bookstore.



The message and its presentation obviously appeals to people since the company is now a $100 million plus enterprise, though Bert (above left) still looks like a Southern California surfer.



My favorite moment was the next morning, when the woman who had opened the store (looking seriously at the camera above), was in front of me in a line at a coffee place across from her store. She was decked out in "Life is good." merchandise from head to toe and was obviously in an impatient mood because whatever she said to the young Goth baristo was so nasty that he reeled back as if struck. When it was my turn, I gave him an amused look and said, "Life is good. Not." and I think I may have a new friend for life.

5 comments:

Matty Boy said...

Books are so last century. Being happy about being a consumer, and consuming stuff that says how happy you are being a consumer, that's so totally now and FUN!

jolene said...

It makes you wonder about the direct correlation between positive thinking and a person that no one wants to be around. Or literacy.

sfwillie said...

People won't buy t-shirts containing the message I am a moron.

Life is good sells better, but conveys the same warning.

Monica said...

Thanks for calling to my attention on my blog (Astrology Mundo) that you were there. I wrote a long comment and it disappeared so I'm going to say "Great photos" and I was happy to see "Life is good" move into an empty store in Palm Springs. I don't think they drove the bookseller out of business. I buy so many books and I'm such a cheapskate that I usually buy mine at Revivals, the thrift store chain in Palm Springs.

sfmike said...

Dear Monica: I don't think they drove the bookstore out of business either. Still, it was depressing seeing the Peppertree go away and being replaced by a store where I'd never buy anything because it strikes me as crap.

In any case, I do love how you write about anything and everything on your blog through the filter of astrology. It's fascinating.