America's greatest conspiracy lies in its housewares stores... It was 6:30 on a Friday evening when my phone alerted me to a text from hopefully one of the friends I was waiting to hear from re: our nightly plans. But alas, unpopular as I am, the text was from a random six-digit number, reminding me that my digital Bed, Bath, and Beyond 20% off coupon would soon expire. Oh, the horror.
Because there's a BBB within 30 blocks of my house and I apparently have no friends, I decided to trek over and take advantage of this exclusive offer, buying something I already needed, like dental floss or hand soap, but at a discount. Ha, I'd show them.
I walked into the store confident and ready to triumphantly flash my phone to the sales clerk, saving approximately sixty cents on my purchase
But as soon as the automatic doors whisked me in, I was transported into the great world of necessity, a terrible side effect of American capitalism.
The healthy cafe begged me to try its freshly made salads and soups, and I suddenly found myself browsing the plastic poster menus. "No," I told myself, "you are better than this. You're an aspiring New York Times food critic. You can resist." I pulled an organic green tea mint from my purse and continued walking through the store.
Only seconds in, I was assaulted by the pleasant breeze from several cheerily colored bladeless fans. No noise! No dust flying off, like my own personal fan. I needed one, and at 20% off, the outrageous cost wouldn't quite hurt as much. I resolved to pick one up on my way out, after finding the necessities I had originally walked the two miles for.
Bed, Bath, and Beyond either has a brilliant interior designer or was put together by direction-inept sales strategists who know how to make a pretty profit.
On my way to the toiletries department, I stumbled upon the home decorating area. I remembered I had postcards from Paris that I wanted to frame, and immediately shoved 12 discounted 4 by 6 frames into my swiped up cart.
Unwilling to accumulate any more unpredicted expenses, I headed closer to the shampoo, near which I found a handy display of kitchen tools, and I realized that everything I've been doing has been too difficult, too time consuming, or just plain wrong. There were devices for making grilled cheese, cupcakes, poaching eggs, scrambling eggs, frying eggs, separating eggs, slicing mushrooms, steaming milk, drying salad, chopping salad, tossing salad, slow cooking, fast cooking...
As a future New York Times food critic, I realized that all the money I'd saved on mediocre cafe food needed to be spent on these kitchen necessities. I mean, what kind of half-assed goofball doesn't have a special kitchen device just to appropriately sprinkle dried herbs?
This trip was going to cost me.
Plus, I wanted more accessories for my Magic Bullet and while I was here, I may as well pick up a new pasta machine.
As one clerk looked for the model of pasta roller I wanted and another searched high and low for the immersion blender that would save me time on transferring liquids to my magic bullet, I remembered that I always need more oven mitts and could probably benefit from an additional spice rack over the stove. These items fit nicely atop the specialized mason jars I'd picked out for my new collection of dried herbs and pastas and I worried I wouldn't have room for the fan atop of my newfound treasures.
On that fateful Friday, pasta machines were out of stock, and the immersion blender I had my eye on lacked the attachments I coveted so dearly.
Disheartened, I pushed my cart full of necessary items, not toothpaste, towards the checkout, and began unloading my cart in front of the register.
"Your total is--"
"Wait- I have a coupon!" I flashed my phone triumphantly, as if this 20% discount would even make a dent in the purchase of everything I didn't realize I desperately needed until that very minute.
"You have to print that out, ma'am."
I walked home empty handed, picking up a dollar slice for dinner and chasing it with a beer I opened without the aid of any device save for the edge of my key.
Bed, Bath, and Beyond is out to trick us.