Ode to Oakland 7 | Big Longs
Big Longs would have to be on this list. An Oakland institution, that supposedly is moving and/or becoming another store after a recent buy out, it's not called Longs Drugs. It is the place to purchase anything under the sun. From fresh fruit, to beer, to toothpaste, to nice Buddha statutes, to the fantastic (best one in Oakland) nursery, to the best place for ethnic/cultured fabrics, to multiple types of garden manure, to my favorite watch repair guy: this store has it all. [previous Monteskewed blog post]
It has my favorite parking lot to troll in search of good bumper stickers: I always find a gem there each time I come.
It often served as my "therapy" place of choice as I'd take a break and cruise the nursery section coveting the plants for sale (a licensed counselor probably would have been cheaper for me in the end).
It's also great because it's Oakland: the mix of people shopping and working there from all slices of life, class sub-categories, cultural backgrounds - shopping together and so often giving and getting good gardening tips while waiting in line.