Pondering A Potion. . .

Industry Observer CalBRE #01165532


Pondering A Potion

For A Particular Kind Of Notion  


The other day, I found myself out and about walking a bit later than usual.  It was early afternoon.  More people and activity than I might typically observe earlier in the day.


My midday trip was interrupted by a woman who approached me with a question. Her phone (where her request was spelled out in Spanish) aided her communication. And I was glad for that. Even though I learned to speak and read it in school, my fluency often falters when proceeding beyond the basics. 


Through my limited skills, some luck and her ability to pantomime effectively we were able to determine she was searching for sewing supplies.   There was a time (albeit long ago) when products such as these were widely available and some may remember them classified as “notions”


There were entire departments in stores where such things could be found.  In fact, there are still fabric and craft retailers where you can find them today. I'm no expert in this field either. No such business came to mind in the area where we were. It was important to keep reasonable walking distance in my thinking.


Of course, had she asked me where to find a nearby cup of coffee, I could easily recite many choices but this time it was important to use my hyperlocal wits for something else.  This was a test.  Could I meet the challenge?  Could any of us?  I digress. . .


I suggested a store telling her (or at least I think I did) that it was a slim possibility but worth a try. She seemed satisfied with my response mas o menos (translation: more or less) and she was on her way.


While I am not sure she found what she wanted, I hope she was glad for the effort.  After all, a kind thought matters, right?


Could I have done more?  A quick online search later didn’t offer any additional suggestions.


Although quotes about notions seem rare to find as well, I found these words that seem to fit nicely with my thoughts:


It’s amazing what ordinary people can do if they set out without preconceived notions.  Ben Stein



Posted by

Michael Jacobs


CalBRE # 01165532

P. O. Box 587

Pasadena, CA 91102

Call/Text:  818.516.4393




Comments (48)

Sheri Sperry - MCNE®
Coldwell Banker Realty - Sedona, AZ
(928) 274-7355 ~ YOUR Solutions REALTOR®

Hi Michael,

I always enjoy trying to figure out your posts based on the title.  Sometimes I am close, but most of the time, not so much.  In today's effort, I thought that the potion might have been an alcoholic beverage.  Not even close! 

I have seen sewing supplies in Wal-Mart for future reference. Happy Saturday!

Jun 11, 2022 07:53 PM
Lawrence "Larry" & Sheila Agranoff. Cell: 631-805-4400
The Top Team @ Charles Rutenberg Realty 255 Executive Dr, Plainview NY 11803 - Plainview, NY
Long Island Condo and Home Specialists

Years and years and years ago when I worked in NYC near the garment district there were many of these stores. Wonder if they exist there anymore?

Jun 12, 2022 05:43 AM
Patricia Feager, MBA, CRS, GRI,MRP
Selling Homes Changing Lives

Michael Jacobs - I think you handled the language barrier well and you were as resourceful and helpful as you could! Others may have simply shook their heads no or said, no and kept walking. If someone asked me that question, I wouldn't know the answer off the top of my head. I never did learn how to sew and come to think of it, I don't even know if there are signs in department stores that sell Notions. Now I am curious and will observe the next time I shop. 

I think the important thing to think about is that even though it was later in the day than usual for you, you gave the woman the courtesy of giving her the time of day and that makes all the difference. 

Jun 12, 2022 06:22 AM
Michael Jacobs
Pasadena, CA
Los Angeles Pasadena 818.516.4393

Joan Cox - Wayne Martin often references coffee as a necessity for his morning routine.  Although I may not be fueled in the same way as he is, I understand the power of a cup of "Joe".  

Sheri Sperry - MCNE® - "potion" may not have been the best word choice to include in this post title.  Of course, Wanda Kubat-Nerdin - Wanda Can! reminded me (albeit later) in her comment of a possible replacement.  "Commotion" might have worked better in a different approach.  I have learned that WalMart is a possible solution due to the comments here although unfortunately there isn't a store located nearby.  


Jun 12, 2022 07:09 AM
Michael Jacobs
Pasadena, CA
Los Angeles Pasadena 818.516.4393

Lawrence "Larry" & Sheila Agranoff. Cell: 631-805-4400 - that seems a likely place to find such a store or at least someone with more expertise.

Patricia Feager, MBA, CRS, GRI,MRP - kindness can take place anytime and sometimes with the simplest of acts.  It really doesn't need much effort.  

Jun 12, 2022 07:13 AM
Patricia Feager, MBA, CRS, GRI,MRP

Ditto! And it doesn't have to cost any money either. Small acts are a big help to those in need. 

Jun 12, 2022 07:17 AM
Ed Silva
Mapleridge Realty, CT 203-206-0754 - Waterbury, CT
Central CT Real Estate Broker Serving all equally

Preconceived notions can clog the brain, at the very least she may have been appreciative of the help, but then a phone translator app won't translate the very short descriptive words

Jun 12, 2022 01:48 PM
Hannah Williams
HomeStarr Realty - Philadelphia, PA
Expertise NE Philadelphia & Bucks 215-820-3376

Michael Jacobs It is amazing isn't it what phones can do these days.  Your kindness I am sure was much appreciated. So funny your story hit home as I had a similar experience someone in my development was lost using their phone and showed me the address they also spoke Spanish and I showed them how to get there the best I could. Like you my Spanish is not that good. They were grateful :)

So glad Carol Williams featured this as i missed it 

Jun 12, 2022 03:23 PM
Michael Jacobs
Pasadena, CA
Los Angeles Pasadena 818.516.4393

Patricia Feager, MBA, CRS, GRI,MRP - your additional input speaks volumes and the out-of-pocket advice is wise as well. 

Ed Silva - sometimes the communication isn't translated into easily understood language in the way a simple directional cue can be given.  

Hannah Williams - it is definitely not uncommon and can be a situation any of us could encounter anytime.  

Jun 13, 2022 06:34 AM
Roy Kelley
Retired - Gaithersburg, MD

Good Monday morning, Michael.

Have a great day and an outstanding week.

Jun 13, 2022 08:07 AM
Will Hamm
Hamm Homes - Aurora, CO
"Where There's a Will, There's a Way!"

Hello Michael, why you did better then I could of done for her.  I hope she found what she was looking for.


Jun 13, 2022 08:54 AM
Steffy Hristova
HomeSmart Elite Group Tempe AZ Tel: 602.710.8161 - Tempe, AZ
Tempe AZ Realtor - Your Home Close to Your Work!

Hi Michael Jacobs , I didn't know until now that 'notions' had this meaning, too. We keep a bag of notions in our house, but rarely use them. You got me thinking if somebody asked me that question what would my answer be, for our area. Maybe notions, like public phones, are museum pieces. We still have alterations stores in many plazas - that will be a good start. 😀


Jun 13, 2022 10:08 AM
Jeff Dowler, CRS
eXp Realty of California, Inc. - Carlsbad, CA
The Southern California Relocation Dude

Hi Michael:

Sounds like you went out of your way to try and be helpful despite the language challenges. Hopefully she found what she wanted.

Your title made me think of a key issue many sellers these days are facing...where to go.


Jun 13, 2022 01:27 PM
Michael Jacobs
Pasadena, CA
Los Angeles Pasadena 818.516.4393

Roy Kelley - thank you and I hope your week is off to a good start as well.  Maybe more anniversary celebrating???

Will Hamm - I am unsure if she was successful in her search but hopefully she appreciated the effort.

Steffy Hristova - I think the name "notions" is not exactly one that is well-known, if at all, to many people.

Jeff Dowler, CRS - well, real estate seems related to so much in daily life.  It's not an unlikely connection.  

Jun 13, 2022 03:32 PM
Grant Schneider
Performance Development Strategies - Armonk, NY
Your Coach Helping You Create Successful Outcomes

Hi Michael - coming back to this blog today I am humming a the tune for a song with those words. 😉

Jun 14, 2022 03:18 AM
Nick Vandekar, 610-203-4543
Long & Foster Real Estate Inc 610-225-7400 - Devon, PA
Tredyffrin Easttown Realtor, Philly Main Line

I am sure that because you were willing to take time and help made this lady's day. So many people might have just acted too busy and walked away.  I am not sure if I could tell anyone where they could get sewing supplies locally. As you say, there used to be whole departments and shops dedicated to these items. An indication that we are not a people who continue to make our own clothes. 

Jun 14, 2022 12:38 PM
Michael Jacobs
Pasadena, CA
Los Angeles Pasadena 818.516.4393

Grant Schneider - it is interesting what prompts our thinking process, isn't it?

Nick Vandekar, 610-203-4543 - maybe part of it is the ability to replace with new is easier and more convenient than repair items has been a part of life (for some).  Life is always changing.  Something that continues to make pondering about such things an ongoing activity too.  

Jun 15, 2022 03:04 AM
Gary Gucciardo
Century Homes Realty Group - Flushing, NY
Let Gary help open the door to your perfect home!

Isn't it funny how something as simple as going for a walk can turn into something so interesting?

As I read your post I am left with the thought of a pantomime for sewing supplies between two people who have never met and it leaves me with a smile. Thank you for your post, and the chuckle. 

Jun 15, 2022 08:10 PM
Michael Jacobs
Pasadena, CA
Los Angeles Pasadena 818.516.4393

Gary Gucciardo - some are quite effective when pantomiming.   Others may not be so proficient.  Life is comprised of many skillsets.  Thank you for the comment as well as insight.  And a chuckle and a smile make any day a bit better in my opinion.  😃

Jun 16, 2022 05:45 AM
Andrew Mooers | 207.532.6573
Northern Maine Real Estate-Aroostook County Broker

Try to help, to make it better than it was... make a difference. You did Michael Jacobs, west coast wordsmith.

Jun 17, 2022 02:08 AM
Michael Jacobs
Pasadena, CA
Los Angeles Pasadena 818.516.4393

Andrew Mooers | 207.532.6573 - my wordsmithery skills remain a work-in-progress.  I am definitely not ready for the main event.  And nowhere close to competing in any Maine event.  😃  Have a good weekend.  

Jun 17, 2022 10:01 AM