Wednesday, August 27, 2008
Shopping Opportunities: American Science & Surplus
Before I start, I have to issue a disclaimer. These geodes are not from American Science & Surplus. They are from the handful that my friend Carolyn and I cracked (see my post here about them) - they come from Illinois. (These are some of Carolyn's geodes. She gave them to me when we met for lunch, since they are all sized nicely for jewelry. Where was I? Oh, yes:) However, after writing that post, I thought it would be nice if I could find an on-line source for geodes, and, lo and behold, one of my favorite stores happens to sell them.
If you live in Illinois and know an engineer, chances are, you already know about this store. I kind of think of this as a rummage store or emporium for engineers. (Possibly, I am biased, as I was introduced to the place by the Husband, who is an engineer, when we were dating.) The taglines to the store says "Incredible Stuff! Unbelievable Prices!" and "Unlike Any Place On Earth!", and it's pretty much true. It has the oddest inventory you are likely to find in any retail store - everything from parts for electronics buffs, to miniature build-your-own-volcano sets for kids, to Pyrex beakers, to yarn in psychadelic colors, to, well, geodes (imported from Mexico). And, in the bricks and mortar store, you are likely to find the yarn placed next to, say, automotive parts and fishing tackle, which makes the whole experience even more surreal.
Well, yes, Melissa, but what does all of this have to do with beads, you ask (apart from the geodes)? Well, due to the unconventional inventory, if you do a little digging, you are likely to come across some Very Useful Items disguised as seconds or technical junk (if you'll pardon the term). How about a set of dentals tools that are "slight seconds" and not usable for teeth, but could be good for other things, like working with clay (of different types)? Forceps in a variety of sizes meant for medical purposes that could be astoundingly good for working with cabochons? Triple-magnifier visors that frankly, I, being of a certain age, would be able to use pretty handily when doing detail work? All of which are offered at pretty reasonable prices? Sound good? Then I suggest checking out this store. They have three bricks and mortar store locations - two in Illinois and one in Wisconsin (addresses are on the website), but the website itself has a comprehensive catalog of goodies and is worth exploring. (Actually, it's worth exploring just for the descriptions of some of the items for sale.)