Friday, February 15, 2008

$250 for the head of a pig?

Once, at a graduation party, I was sitting with my wife, our friend Gail August, and some of the graduating seniors. We were talking about people's favorite subjects in school, and Gail said, "I think with history, you either love it or you hate it. Jenna, how do you like history?" To which Jenna replied, "It's alright," thereby destroying Gail's original thesis. For some reason, this cracked me up.

Anyway, I feel the same way about Valentine's Day. Like, you're either supposed to love it (mostly if you're a girl) or hate it (mostly if you're a guy). But if you asked me, I'd tell you, "It's alright." I don't love it like, say, Christmas or my birthday, but I certainly don't think I hate it. I'm mostly indifferent. And at least I've had some interesting ones. Like my first Valentine's Day with Sara when I borrowed her car and drove it into a telephone pole. (That's hyperbole, but whatever.) Most recently, Valentine's Day resulted in my first visit to Designs by Maida (inexplicably pronounced MAY-dee-uh), a new boutique on the square in Woodstock that sells nice stuff for your house, mostly.

I was in the market for a gift for my lovely wife, and since we just bought property on which to build a new house, I thought I'd get something with which to decorate said house. Seemed timely. So I decide to walk in and do a little browsing. Immediately, this woman (I'm going to call her Maida, even though her name was something like Kate) says, "Welcome to Designs by Maida! Can I help you find something?" Very friendly. And I told her I was just browsing for a Valentine's Day gift, so she backed off for about 15 seconds before reattaching herself to me and asking, once again, if there was something she could help me find. Well, during that 15 seconds, it had become clear that I was out of my league at this place. The first thing I looked at (not because I was going to buy it, but because I was intrigued) was a door knocker in the shape of a pig's head. It cost $250. I was not going to buy anything at Designs by Maida.

But I didn't want to be rude, so I said, "Sure, Maida. Imagine that you and your husband have just bought a new house, and he's looking to spend about $75 on a gift that you can use to help decorate that new house, and he walks into this store. What would you want him to buy?" Now, I feel like I did that well because 1) I think salespeople like it when you ask them stuff like that. Same with servers at restaurants; 2) I'm being friendly, so she might give me a break on something; and 3) I've made my budget clear. So Maida thinks for a minute, then she says, "Candle holders."

Yeah, okay. That could be cool. And it seems like I should be able to get a nice set for $75, so I say, "Okay. Show me your candle holders." She asks if my wife would prefer glass or wood. Definitely wood. We're not fancy people. So she leads me to a shelf with maybe a dozen different kinds of wood candle holders. "And all of our candles are on sale," she tells me. So the first candle holder I look at is the biggest one, which might have been a mistake on my part, but it was nice-looking, so I thought I'd check out the price. $210. Are you kidding me, Maida? For a freakin' candle holder? So I start wondering what the price range is here. I look at the smallest one on the shelf. $108. Did I not make myself clear? First of all, under no circumstances would I buy a damn candle holder for $108. And this is especially true when I told the salesperson that I didn't want to spend more than $75. Did she not hear me? Did she think I was kidding? What the hell?

Anyway, now I'm standing there looking at candle holders that I'm not going to buy, and Maida is staring at me, and I don't know what to do. So I tell her I'm going to keep looking around. I walk around and find lamps that cost $300; blankets that cost $450; a wine rack that cost $1,200. I remember hearing a George Carlin bit where he says that he wanted to open a restaurant where one meal cost $10,000, so they'd only have to have one customer a day to make money. I wonder if Maida didn't hear that same bit and take it seriously. Regardless, I walk around, worrying that I'll knock over a $5,000 teapot or something, until I finally make something up about how I have somewhere to be and I don't want to rush the decision, so I'll be back. I don't know if she bought it, but I don't care. $450 for a freakin' blanket. It didn't even look that warm.

So I got my beautiful bride some wall art from Target, a singing card, flowers, and a big Toblerone bar. And now I'm going to tell her that I love her on my blog.

I love you.

Later gators.


The Smith's said...

Awww. That's sweet. I've been contemplating writing a post about a similar boutique in our hometown, except in my story, I've been in the shop two times and neither time will any of five frosted blondes with expensive clothes and flashy jewelry who work there even go so low as to speak to my frumpy, jean wearing, brunette, horn rimmed glasses self. Aargh. Needless to say, I will not be going in a third time.

panykattack said...

That first paragraph made me so very happy. I know some people type 'lol' and don't mean it but I really did laugh out loud.
Oh man. That was great.

Sara said...

Thanks for the shout out. I love you, too. And, I've found that it's hard to read this blog with Charlie on my lap because he just wants to look at the photo of you and Joe on the right and shout "Daddy! Joe!" and gets mad when I try to scroll down and read the rest...

Claire said...

and since we just bought property on which to build a new house

I did not know this! See, things Claire learns by reading your blog, #2340345. That's fantastic! When will there be a house there, and where is it, and all of that stuff?

And that store sounds ridiculous. I always feel like I'm five years old again and really shouldn't touch anything because the possibility that I would soil it even a little and have to buy it would be disastrous. As you might imagine, this happens in LA a lot. I can basically only shop at Walgreens.

jbake 2.0 said...

i really liked this entry a lot. i also really liked the "endorsment" entry. (did i spell 'endorsment' correctly?). i want to be as involved as humanly possible in helping out with this new house. you know me, i love to shop - so bring on the microwaves, counter tops, paint swatches and carpet samples... or, just let me know the colors you are using and i will paint you some stuff.

i ESPECIALLY loved your beautiful wife's comment, because it just proves that Charlie loves me most.

Stacy said...

1. For those of you who want to see the aforementioned property, see #7 of the "endorsement" entry.

2. Did this entry remind anyone else of Four Weddings and a Funeral when he tries to find something off the gift registry? Anyone? (Sara? Kelly?)

3. I just told my class about the first Sara/Alex V-Day. Seriously - one of my students who just got engaged told the class that his now-fiancee broke up with him on their first Valentines Day. So, I said that bad first Valentin's Days might be good luck. (Remember that we had Murder Mystery practice that day, too?).