Saturday, July 16, 2011

All Shopping is Not Created Equal

Several months ago, I received an e-mail from a friend who had just returned to the U.S. from France with the subject line, "Overwhelmed."  When I opened up the photo attachment, it was a picture of the peanut butter aisle in her local supermarket.  I got a belly laugh out of that one, thinking I should have counter offered with snapshots of the yogurt and chocolate aisles in Paris.  I never managed to do that so belatedly I offer two shots from my recent American retail experience. 

The first one?  I can only call it a little slice of heaven.  The wrapping paper section of The Container Store.  Oh how I missed you:  your reasonable prices, your high quality, the endless mix and match combinations of ribbons, papers, cards, and bags.

And did I mention the containers for any kind of little gift on your list?

This display, on the other hand, at Bed Bath & Beyond kind of made me queasy.  I'd have to classify the store as a necessary evil.  I did find the zebra bedding ensemble that was high on my younger child's priority list and at a very fair price to boot.  But the giant shopping carts and the stacks of merchandise to the ceiling were the very embodiment of excessive American consumerism.  If you need this for a snack, maybe you should rethink things.


  1. Ah, Bed, Bath & Beyond Me, as a Roz Chast cartoon once put it. I, too, love to hate that store, but still shop there. I have one with walking distance of my house and sometimes you just need a new bed pillow or mattress cover or set of sheets. My pet peeve is all the other stuff near the checkout. The plastic stuff in clamshell plastic packaging that is all, product and package, just destined almost straight for landfill. . . back scratchers, and 'the bump' to poof out your hair, and weird tools that no one needs or will really use. I try to boycott and then they pull me back in with those 20 % coupons that never stop coming to the house. . .

  2. Maria: well said. And thanks for the tip on the Rox Chast cartoon;I've always loved her work.