Thursday, November 11, 2010

Bed, Bath and Beyond: It's like Best Buy for Women

I recently got an ad from Bed, Bath and Beyond that had some bar stools that looked like they might fit the bill of what I have been wanting to get for our newly remodeled kitchen, so I thought I would stop by and give them a look on my way home from Home Depot.  As I entered this tiny sliver of the local strip mall, I quickly realized that I had moved into territory that few men would dare to explore without the cover of an ovary-bearing being.  I was as out of place as a hippie at an NRA skeet-shooting competition. The store was a bee-hive of young to middle-aged hip women gliding effortlessly from bamboo bowls to aromatic therapy solutions. 

They sell things at BBB to meet needs I didn't even know I had.  Did you know that there are devices that remove the pits from cherries and others that take the leafy parts off of strawberries?  I thought that's what thumbs were for, but then I don't have the ability to pull off corderouy pants or cashmere sweaters either.  At the top of my want list is the homedics foot massager.  Think of it, a device that gently rubs your feet for as long as you like anytime you want, and you don't even have to wash the dishes or compliment it on its new haircut!

While wandering through the narrow aisles wide-eyed and self-conscious as a teenager at his first dance, I was stopped by a woman whose job it is to try and sell home soda makers.  As the name implies, this is a device that sits on your counter and allows you to transform regular tap water into soda pop by injecting carbon dioxide into it and carefully mixing in a pre-made syrup, one liter at a time.

I tried to politely let the saleslady know that I am quite happy with Coca-cola's products and the convenience of grabbing a can out of the fridge, but she had a sales pitch to give, free product to disburse, and time on her hands and even though I obviously was not in her target demographic of "eco-friendly, bargain loving, health-conscious mother of 1.5 children" she went through her spiel, which included such touch points as the lack of high fructose corn syrup (high calorie)in the regular and aspertane (which has been shown to cause cancer she reminded me) in the diet concoctions, the low price per liter, and the fact that I could save the local landfill from 10,000 bottles by using her product.  She also assured me that it tastes just like Coke, and gave me a free sample she made on the spot, carefully walking me through the three easy steps to making homeade soda as she did so. 

Unfortunately, I don't really have to worry about calories, I don't mind paying 40 cents per can vs. 17 cents per liter considering the convenience of not having to mix my own soda, and landfill space is near the bottom of my list of things that keeps me up at night, right below fearing for Nancy Peloci that her eyes will pop right out of her head during a session of Congress.  Also unfortunately, the sample she gave me, while drinkable, definitely did not taste like Coke, which means her presentation neglected step 4: pour out unsatisfactory soda and get a real Coke out of the fridge.  At least she was friendly and offered to throw my empty cup away as I politely thanked her for her presentation but declined purchasing her $100 RC Cola maker.

Believe it or not, this was not my only interaction at the BBB.  While I was looking at bar stools another lady came up to me with a store ad and asked me to show her where some napkin holders were located.  I let her know that while I would like to help her I was unable to point her in the right direction, as I was not a normal shopper there.  She was extremely embarrassed at her mistake, as she had assumed that I worked there, as apparently any men to be found in the store without the accompanyment of either a woman or a flamboyant life-partner are normally store employees.  After that I figured I had better get out of dodge before word spread through the store that a man had infiltrated without an escort and I was kindly asked to leave.