Other days it will be cat urine. Which, if you close your eyes, you’ll think about the beautiful spray of roses and sweet pea that the late screenwriter and director Melissa Mathison sent to your coworker Lesley for pulling off a spectacularly successful New York City screening of her film Kundun in 1997. You’ll think of the four female employees sharing a fancy hotel room, marveling at the so-much-more-fancy-than-FTD bouquet, until someone pointed out the room smelled like cat pee. …


Why hello, middle aged white man! It’s so good to see you again. It’s nice to see your fly-away salt-and-pepper hair peeking out of the sides of a weathered “Harvard” ball cap. It’s nice to see your low-top Converse All-Stars spattered with paint or crusty clay from your pottery session. It’s nice to see your sharp and beady eyes trying to earnestly look into my own tired eyes so you can really, truly get your point across. It’s nice to see you don’t know when I’m being facetious.

Middle aged white man, you’re asking for an experience, service, or product…


Remember when Tyra Banks had a daytime talk show? I might have been on January break during college, and I might have had some time on my hands, so that’s my excuse for spending a few hours watching that three-ring circus.

Tyra Banks wearing a “fat suit.”

At any rate, on one episode Tyra put on a “fat suit” (a totally horrible and insensitive thing that should be expunged from our collective cultural history) and walked around New York City, trying to experience what it’s like to not be treated as a supermodel.

My version of the “fat suit?” Working in retail. Behind-the-counter, plate-glass-window, open-sign-on-the-door, brick-and-mortar…


A few weeks ago my letter-carrier delivered a plastic box smaller than a deck of playing cards. It is an electronic payment and credit card reader produced by Square, Inc., the now-publicly traded San Francisco-based technology company that launched its mobile processing system and companion “magstripe” reader in 2009. The new device now sits beside an iPad on the counter at Beehive Sewing Studio + Workspace. (Side note: author purchased a few shares of Square stock during the November 2015 IPO.)

New Square EMV reader shipped in January, 2016

This upgrade is concurrent with banks’ issuance of credit and debit cards with an embedded chip (EMV). You may…


This essay was first published in the Daily Hampshire Gazette, 12/16/15 with the title The arrival, and promise, of ‘experiential retail’

The Gazette and other local news outlets have been abuzz with news of Northampton, MA storefront retail establishments closing or facing the threat of sale or closure. Each new report reminds residents and shoppers of the closures that still sting years later (think: Mountain Goat).

Yet the nature of the conversation changes little: small(ish), locally owned or operated establishment faces high rents and an inability to compete with behemoth e-tailers. …

Tess Perrone Poe

Making things. Happen.

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