Wear comfortable shoes and have some patience while negotiating the more than 800 stalls and stores crowded into this indoor mall. A cross between a flea market and a mall, the place is usually packed with bargain sniffers. At least 90 percent of the customers are elderly retirees, and New York accents abound (conversation overheard: "Morty, you're trailing behind me, and I'm gonna lose you -- do you wanna sit down for a while?"). It's not just the prices that draw all the customers, it's the incredible variety of goods in one place. There are stalls dedicated to everything Lucite; New York pickles in barrels, flown in twice a week; bonsai trees; cigars; leather; jewelry; incense; clocks; Russian dolls; pastries; all the latest infomercial gadgets, including the world's best showerhead; toys; sunglasses; shoes; clothes; pens; bags; and a bunch of other stuff you probably don't need. You simply will not leave without a plastic bag filled with purchases.

If you can make it past the graphic porn-video box covers and giant plastic dildos on the ground floor of the Adult Video Warehouse in Pompano Beach, the paintings and photographs in the upstairs Eros Loft won't shock you at all. On the contrary the feel up here is tastefully titillating. From nude paintings that exude a kind of curvy, Vargas-like innocence to tame but naughty Coney Island skin-flick posters from the early 1900s (such as Kuddling Kuties, $200) to artful, homoerotic black-and-white photographs, Eros Loft has something for all tastes -- except absolute prudishness.
In 1973, entrepreneur George Zimmer opened his first full-service men's clothing store in Houston. There clueless occasional dresser-uppers, junior executives, and flashy head honchos alike found a tasteful selection of name-brand suits and sportswear -- plus a knowledgeable staff to help coordinate their purchases. Men's Wearhouse now boasts some 560 stores in the United States, with outlets in Canada and Puerto Rico; it also owns the Botany 500 men's clothing line. Combine that with the company's sheer purchasing power, and you end up with prices you just won't find at department stores. (A Hugo Boss selling for $1300 elsewhere was a bargain here recently at just $700.) The friendly salespeople will help you mix and match jackets and pants into multiple configurations, giving you even more for your clothing dollar. And once you've had a suit altered, additional stitch or seam changes are done for free. The pièce de résistance: free lifetime pressing at any location.
Besides the nostalgic aroma of bicycle grease and rubber, the silver bike bells, the sparkling spoke-streamers, and the bunny squeeze-horns, one of the grooviest things about Lee's is its staying power: It's been dealing wheels for 54 years to locals, tourists, and transients alike. At Lee's there are cycles for eeeeverybody: high-end mountain bikes, red-glittered banana seat Schwinns, adult tricycles, rental beach cruisers, even a candy cane-colored replica of a '60s Western Flyer. Used bikes are stacked outside by the rear parking lot and start at $30; inside the shop new ones begin with a C-note. Check out the mannequin sporting a flame-painted helmet and vest that rides high above the store on a Jamis Boss beach cruiser. The shop also boasts on-the-premises bicycle mechanics and a full-service lock shop with 24-hour emergency service that rescues those who've left their keys in parts unknown. Lee locksmiths are angels of mercy: They're nice, they know what they're doing, and they actually arrive within 30 minutes of your 3 a.m. drunk-and-desperate call. Imagine that.
Bright colors adorn the walls at Adam & Eve -- purple on one, very French-looking royal blue with yellow stripes on another. A potpourri of scents is given off by fresh-cut flowers and boxes of candles. Between the visual effect and the olfactory one, the atmosphere can be quite soothing, to say the least. But don't get too relaxed -- presumably you're here to buy a special something for a special someone. Choose from flower arrangements set in a glass-block display dominating the center of the tidy shop or inside the row of glass-front refrigerators along the back wall. If you don't see what you're looking for, don't worry: Adam & Eve is a full-service florist, so the staff can put something together for you on the spot. And if you need anything to go along with the flowers -- say, a get-well or make-up gift -- you're covered there, too. Floor-to-ceiling shelves are filled to overflowing with gewgaws of all sorts, including flower vases and small pots made of black wrought iron or glass, picture frames, candleholders, and candles, especially the highly recommended, super-strong-smelling fig variety.

With its high ceilings and murals of grassy fields and gigantic cows, you feel you're walking into a barn when you enter a Gateway computer store. (The décor alludes to the company's South Dakota roots.) The service is country friendly, too. Employees greet you as you enter and offer to walk you past several computers on display in the front. The store custom-builds computers it manufactures, therefore they take seven to ten days to receive. And shucks, training is offered on the premises -- a three-hour introduction to a Windows course is $49 -- and the service department is open from 10 a.m. to 7 p.m. Monday through Saturday for all sorts of questions and troubleshooting. Gosh.
Does this sound like you? You were bar or bat mitzvahed a decade or two ago, and you've basically never set foot in a synagogue again. Well, you're definitely not alone. But now you can commiserate with others just like you (couples and singles in their twenties and thirties, most of whom grew up in Reform or Conservative homes) at Friday night Shabbat dinners, held at various Boca Raton restaurants every six to eight weeks. Says Pam Pardo Plotkin, one of the founders of Shabbos For a Novice, "We're trying to spark a little Yiddishkeit -- a little Judaism -- in a Jewish person." You'll light the candles, say the blessing, sing a few songs, slurp a little chicken soup, drink a little wine. And if you're single, who knows? The next time you set foot in a synagogue could be for a wedding -- your wedding. (Your mother will be so pleased.)

This shop's big-ass collection of poodle skirts alone makes it the heavy hitter of recycled threads. Stitched to the front of long and flouncy fabric, the little yippers' likenesses come in sequins, felt, rhinestones, and lamé. Venture farther into this jam-packed shop, and your hankering for the hard-to-find and one-of-a-kind is satiated with stuff like faux leopard fur, red satin circus tutus, mahjong-tile bracelets, glittering Mexican sombreros, pink-feathered cancan pants, rubber masks, and the back glass of long-gone pinball machines. And that's just for starters. For those chained to their computers, some wares can also be purchased online via www.ebay.com and www.utauction.com, but we recommend the live experience. What good is thrifting unless you get that sensory experience by running your hands all over such cool stuff?
We don't know if Pride French Cleaners can get that wine stain out any better than other dry cleaners. It's not magic owner Dhansukh Tailor is selling, it's old-fashioned, neighborly customer service. D, as his customers call him, greets you with his dazzling smile, a hello, and a joke, and he has even been known to give discounts to customers who get parking tickets while waiting on their clothes, not to mention impromptu neck massages to the stressed-out, all while Dr. Laura preaches on the radio in the background. A Hindu, Tailor also loans out books on metaphysical healing and teaches meditation for free nearby. Oh, and the cleaning is cheap and satisfactory. But Tailor makes you feel so special -- he treats you like a friend, not a client -- that's almost beside the point.
Ready to expand your knowledge? Get to Bob's. The store with the mundane name has plenty of the standard, benign fare like TV Guide, Time, and the world's newspapers along with the best-selling, schlocky books like The Celestine Prophecy. It also has trade books on everything from architecture to rare German coins. It's the other stuff, though, that makes Bob's a great place to go, the exotic items that are usually caught and disposed of by mass-marketeers. After all, who wants to read some self-serving crap about a rich and famous celebrity when you can check out The Big Book of Losers, which contains the "pathetic but true tales of the world's most titanic failures"? They have Playboy, but doesn't The Ultimate Guide to Anal Sex For Women sound a little more interesting? For do-it-yourself drug users, there are books on cultivating marijuana, making amphetamines, and an opus on mushrooms titled Psilocybin Production. For all you wacky neo-Nazis, there's Mein Kampf. And for the serious aspiring terrorist, there's Sniper Training. Fetishists also have a wide selection from which to choose, including a collection of pictures of nude women holding baguettes. You get the picture.

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