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A Less Than Subtle Grip for Glasses



You'd think that the notion of snakes or spiders or lobsters crawling down your chest to keep you from losing your glasses would have little appeal beyond the "Tales From the Crypt" crowd. But we hear that skiers, older women and teen-agers are wearing Subtles Eyeglass Cords, which employ a variety of creepy creatures to help you hang onto your glasses.

"They're also a hit with pediatricians and schoolteachers because children adore them," says Susan Subtle, a Berkeley-based journalist who founded Subtle Corp. to market the eyeglass-minders featuring plush, soft-sculpture creatures or body parts. "Men are sort of hesitant to wear them, but there are some adult men walking around wearing them."

The cords come in 10 different styles (snakes, lobsters, whales, spiders, leopards, ducks, frogs, fish, alligators and human hands). The suggested retail price ranges from $15.50 to $19.50, depending on the species. The lobster cords (pictured) are $15.50 and are carried at Homeworks in Santa Monica, Folk Tree in Pasadena and Gallery Alexander in La Jolla. For more information, call the Subtle Corp., (415) 540-1057.

DEAR HOT: I'm fed up hearing about these bad experiences people have with store clerks. I've seen pleasant clerks be polite to customers who make Genghis Khan look like Mister Rogers. The good ones deserve some kind of recognition, but do I just thank them profusely and let it go at that? Call or write the manager? Recommend them for sainthood?

DEAR HOT SHOPPER: Exceptional salesclerks should definitely get some well-deserved recognition, especially the geniuses who can find the perfect Little Black Dress that makes you look skinny even after you've overindulged in holiday cheer.

Seriously, clerks who go out of their way to help you locate something at another store, in another department, or lend good advice on buying gifts or putting an outfit together, should be thanked. If you feel this person has gone above and beyond the call of duty, the best thing to do is to write the store manager. Include the clerk's name, the department and what he or she did that was so swell. This also goes for a salesperson you deal with often who is consistently polite and helpful.

If you're short on time, you might mention it to the store manager while you're there, or do your praising through a brief phone call.

WATCH OUT--We wish we hadn't seen this but we thought you should know it's out there. It's a watch, designed for Nordstrom devotees, and its face says: "I'm a Nord-a-Holic . . . (and I love it)."

The watch comes complete with instructions advising that if the wearer is found wandering in a mall, he or she is to be taken to a Nordstrom and given a credit card.

There have been lots of shopaholic jokes (and we know that overspending is a serious disease for some). But we think this watch ranks too high in kitsch and too low in laughs to deserve two charge cards up from us.

Should you appreciate the concept more than we do, the watch is available for $60 at some but not all Nordstrom stores. It may also be mail-ordered (for $49.95) from Political Time Co., P.O. Box 94, Huntington Beach, Calif. 92648. For more information, call (714) 969-8463.

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