I felt every bit the rural pumpkin I must be when I visited a Bed, Bath and Beyond in New York City last week. The store took up a three levels over an entire city block. I had to keep my head back to look up and see the stacks and stacks of supplies because racks were hung floor to ceiling. There were nail polishes, shampoos, emery boards. There were many devices that appeared to need both a ladder and scientific explanation before ever bringing it into contact with any body part. The numbert of grooming products left me dizzy and overwhelmed. All I wanted was one pretty nail polish.
Years ago, my friend and her husband and my husband and I built a house together. They lived in New York, we lived in Massachusetts; the house was on Martha’s Vineyard. We fell into the habit of talking in sku numbers. We would make reference to the hall lights outside the master bedroom. by saying , “Oh, I meant to mention we need two more lights, sku #1122334, will you order, or shall I?” The four of us convened one dreary Sunday afternoon at a Home Depot in Connecticut. In three hours, we blew through the store choosing toilets, tubs, flooring, fixtures, and every conceivable item other than wood that goes into building a home. The most remarkable thing about that trip was there was not a hint of discord. In an uncanny way, we all agreed on tiles, colors, finishes and texture and size. It was a training run for my friend and I. We had a date; after three months went by, my friend and I left our husbands home. Together, we tackled a Bed, Bath and Beyond. We sought out the manager and explained that we would be purchasing everything necessary to stock a home. We had cash in hand; cash that we set aside for just such a purpose.
The Bed, Bath and Beyond was small and quite manageable. However, we had to stock the house we were building in short order because it was rented to several families over the summer. I would agonize, “Do we have to have to provide two cutting boards, won’t one do?” “Six or eight place settings?” We were done in a record ninety minutes. It took the two of us completing some sophisticated geometry problems to fit everything in the car.
Here's what I can say. Enter Bed, Bath and Beyond and you enter a parallel universe that can be consuming. Be fearless and keep your eye on the exit. You may emerge in one piece, but you might find yourself with a lighter wallet and a plethora of previously unnecessary household goods.