Last week I went to a children’s ministry conference with the children’s ministry staff from my church (which is a great story in and of itself, so I’ll let you know when it’s posted). On the way back to Virginia from Atlanta, we stopped at an outlet mall to get some much needed shopping done.
Wait, let me explain. Our children’s ministry staff consists of two women and me, the lone male voice in the car. My protests from the back seat fell upon deaf ears. It’s not that I didn’t want the ladies to enjoy some shop time. It’s just that I’m not a shopper. I’m not one who likes to show up at the mall with no destination or plan other than to just wander from store to store until I find something I want to buy. I only go to the mall (or any store for that matter) because there’s something I need to get, in which case I go in, get it, and get out.
So we stopped in Gaffney, SC, home to House of Cards‘ Frank Underwood and that ginormous water tower that’s supposed to look like a peach but really looks like a huge butt. Seriously, look at that thing. Just a gigantic butt.
Anyway, Gaffney is also home to an impressive outlet mall. I guess it was impressive. I’m not all that impressed by outlet malls as a rule. Now, I’m sure I could have chosen to sit in the car while the ladies shopped, and I’m sure they would have been kind enough to crack the windows as if I was the dog they brought along on their road trip. But I figured that someone needed to keep an eye on the time. Left to their own devices, it’s possible they’d have stayed there well into the night. I wasn’t in a huge hurry to get home, but I knew that it would need to happen eventually. I asked them for a time limit. They told me 2:00 and I was ready to stick to it.
The first stop, and the only one worth talking about, is the store mentioned in the title of this post: Pottery Barn. Up until now, my only true exposure to Pottery Barn has been that episode of Friends where Rachel bought an apothecary table from the Pottery Barn while she was living with Phoebe and it was explained that Phoebe hated the store and its mass produced products, because she believed there was no symbolic history behind them. I’d never before set foot inside an actual store. I was unimpressed.
I’m a practical person. I grew up in a home that had lots of stuff sitting around. And I had a mother who liked to have her children dust and vacuum as a part of our weekend chores. Somewhere along the way, I decided that, when I grew up, I would not have decorative knick knacks sitting around my home. If it doesn’t have a practical purpose, I don’t want it. Because I don’t want to have something else that just needs to be dusted every week.
This was my problem as I looked around the Pottery Barn. So many overpriced items that were aesthetically pleasing but had no real purpose. Let’s take a look at some examples, shall we?
First, the throw pillow. I love a pillow. In fact, the more pillows the better. With one caveat: the pillows need to be comfortable. What is the purpose of the pillow? It gives you something to lay against when you’re resting. The throw pillow pictured above? Kind of seemed like little more than a canvas sack with a raised design made with what seems to be a braided rope of some kind. Sure, in the right living room, this would look lovely on someone’s sofa. But I’m not going to want to take a nap on this thing and wake up two hours later with that rope design carved into my face. I saw some other pillows with little plastic fake jewels sewn or somehow woven in. “Here, sleep on this pillow with rocks on the surface!” No, thanks.
Next, we have this ampersand. I wish I’d put something next to it to give you a sense of how large this thing was. If I had it standing up, I’d approximate that it was three feet tall. It was made of some kind of lightweight metal. I assume it’s meant to hang on someone’s wall. But why? Who decorates their homes with conjunctions? If I saw that on someone’s wall, I’d just be like, “And what…?”
This was sitting beside the giant ampersand and was something that I could actually support if someone wanted to buy it. Not because it’s the Batman symbol. But because it has shelves. Granted, it’s not the greatest bookshelf in the world and would probably, really, only be used to store some of those pesky knick knacks I’m so against. But at least it has a purpose other than to hang on someone’s wall and do nothing.
One of the purchases that was made was this candlestick*. Actually, this is one of a pair that was purchased. I asked Julie if she planned to install actual candles in the candlesticks that she planned to light at some point. She said no. She admitted that the candles and the candlesticks would be purely for decoration. I just shook my head. I have candles at my house. But they’re for if there’s a blackout at some point.
Finally, we come to this chair. It’s so comfortable. Believe me, I tested it out. That makes it practical, right? But the chair had a serious defect. It cost $1787.97. I’m sorry, but who in their right mind is going to spend that much on a single chair?! I’m sure there are people out there who do. But that amount is insane. It’s nearly twice what I make in a pay period. I know that doesn’t say a lot about whether or not I actually make a living wage. One could argue that it’s not that bad because it was 40% off at the outlet store. But that just means it was still over $1200. I can get the same pleasure from a large bean bag from Target for $50.
Overall, I would rate my Pottery Barn experience as less than positive. I’m sure Julie and Kaylee will refrain from ever inviting me on any shopping excursions with them in the future, due mostly to the fact that I was ranting like a cantankerous old man the whole time we were in the store.
Seriously, though, the rest of the trip was great. Stay tuned.
*This candlestick shattered within minutes of leaving the store. True story.