Tuesday, January 12, 2010

Bed Bath and Beyond the Circle

My parents take great joy in the post-holiday sales and who I am I to say 'em Nay... but shopping (like collecting Santas) skips a generation in my family. I do, however, love spending time with my Mom and if that has to happen in a Mall sometimes, well that's just the way it is.

The woman is a machine though.
By the seventh or eighth store, I'm getting lightheaded and just want to lie down -- but there will be none of THAT on her watch. By the time we got to Bed, Bath & Beyond, I think I was tugging on the hem of her coat and actively whining that I wanted to go hooooooooome. She finally had to distract me with something shiny (I never thought to accessorize my linens with leather, but I will now.) I am not sure I am someone who could pull off leather bedding --- but preliminary online polls suggest I should give it a try. (That is my new dream bed, pictured above.)

And while I don't enjoy shopping (at all), I do admire Art, and my mother can turn any trip to the Mall into one. I honestly think she could walk into Neiman-Marcus with nothing but a few baubles and pox-infected blankets and walk out with their entire inventory in trade. She is both tenacious and slick. And no one ever sees her coming. My only job when I accompany her on these expeditions is: hydrate; wear layers; and periodically go to the car to exchange her O2 tanks. (It is seriously a little embarrassing to be repeatedly lapped at the Gap by someone who is rolling an oxygen trolley -- and if you get in her way, she will roll it right over your toes.) I usually think of Bed, Bath &Beyond as adorable but overpriced (it goes without saying we do not pay retail in this family), but wait'll you see the little demitasse set she scored for me. I'm not even sure they sell demitasse sets there, but she honed in on this one in about three seconds ("wasn't somebody just asking you if you had one of these at Brunch?" -- well, yeah, Chef Tom mentioned it... I don't know if he thought we needed it, per se, or was just asking...) Within two minutes, she had a price check and had recounted enough imagined flaws that I'm pretty sure they paid us just to take it off their hands.

By the time we had moved onto clothing, I was sitting in the store windows pressing my face up to the glass (possibly rocking myself... and maybe whimpering, but probably not audibly) waiting for her to bring me dresses. Yeah. OK. I'm not proud of this. I just sat on the floor and pulled them over my head far enough to see if they would basically fit.

She forced me into the dressing room for the last one -- a thoroughly adorable cocktail number that was about 180 percent off -- and then made me come out and show it to her. She was obviously immediately sorry, starting with, "well, if you're looking for a dress that says Nude 2010, this is it" (and that clearly wasn't intended as a compliment). I just clutched it closer. Then she pounded the nail into the coffin: "you know if you gain one OUNCE between now and Friday, that dress will not fit."

So I bought it anyway. And then I ate pie for dinner. Right in front of her. Hey, she needs a reason to live, and I am glad to give it to her.


  1. You know, I suspected that there were people who could walk into department stores and get price markdowns, but I am too timid to try to be one of them. I would like to follow your mom for a day and learn her secrets. I am so intimidated by people who work in retail that I get sick with anxiousness dealing with them. I was buying perfume at the Chanel counter in Bowling Green, KY, and the PYT behind the counter actually corrected my pronunciation of "Eau Fraiche"--"You mean, OH FRON-SAY?" she said--and I let her. Did I gripe to my husband the whole way home? Yes. But did I nod meekly when she said it to me, not daring to correct her back? You betcha.

  2. Mostly what I've learned after 40 years of following my mother around is that you should always take my Mother shopping. However, last night: the waitress/salesgirl did try to tell me that the dress I'd picked out was NOT fifty percent off (despite the yellow tag that clearly indicated it WAS). And here was her rationale: "it's SLEEVELESS" (i.e., I guess it didn't qualify as "winter merchandise").
    I said "Fine. I don't want it then." (And I was very diffident about it.)
    I got the 50 percent.
    My mom is VERY powerful -- even just by osmosis.

  3. Nude 2010 sounds adorable... just not on my daughter.