Neat Stuff

There's a store right around the corner from my apartment called Neat Stuff: Collectible Toys and Memorabilia. 


On it's own right, it's not so appealing. In fact, it's rather creepy.


What fascinates me about this store is that in the 6 years (yes, it's been 6 whole years) I've lived in Philly, I've never once seen this store open.


So you're probably thinking that since I'm always working from 1:30 - 5:00 (in my opinion, ridiculous business hours), that's why I've never seen the store open. Au contraire, my friend. Even during times I've passed the store on purpose during business hours, hoping to see that "Open" sign, I've found signs like this:


Or like this:


I began to obsess wonder what on earth was going on with this store. I would loudly proclaim to anyone who would listen that it must not even be a real store.

However, walking by today, I did a double-take. It was open! I so very dearly wish I had taken a photo of the "Open" sign before walking in. I didn't because as I was gaping at the door, I became acutely aware of a woman wearing sunglasses, a jean jacket, and a peace sign necklace lurking in the shadows. Tentatively, I pushed open the door.

Her: "Why are you in here?"

Me: "Oh, I'm really interested to see what you have in here!"

Her: "Do you collect?"

Me: "Umm...no."

Her: "Usually only guys collect. Except for the Smurfs. Men and women collect those. See over here? Mint condition."

Me: "Well, to tell you the truth, I'm so excited you're open."

Her: "We're always open. 1:30 - 5:00."

I wasn't going to argue with her. For the next 15 minutes, she proceeded to talk my ear off about her various collections, the fact that she couldn't protect her 10-year old from the news (she used the example of Hillary Clinton supporting gay marriage as something she thought a 10-year old shouldn't hear), how taxes on their building had gone up significantly since 1985 when they opened the place, and about how they didn't take credit cards anymore. I started thinking that there was no way I could ever get out of there. Finally, I told her I would love to come back when I had the cash to buy something. In the back of my mind, I kept thinking of how I could get that picture of that "Open" sign.

Me: "So I'll take a picture of the door on my way out, to remember your hours."

Her: "Not necessary. We're open from 1:30 - 5:00."

Darn it. I decided that maybe she wouldn't notice anyways, thanked her, and walked out of the store. Just as I was snapping my amazing "Open" sign picture, she changed the sign from the inside from "Open" to "Closed."

It was 4:45 PM.