I don't care for shopping... not even a little. A shopping trip with me almost always ends badly.
Since I don't shop much, the latest trends in retail are lost on me. On the other hand, I did work in television for a while, so I am fairly tolerant of advertising, particularly television advertising... so while I might not be inclined to go into a store to buy something, I have a reasonably good idea of what might be out there on the market. I like to watch ads to see if the advertiser did a good job of getting his or her point across.
So the other day, we received a print ad for Bed, Bath and Beyond, and one of the family members pointed out that on the back page of the ad, it showed that they had "Pedi-Paws", which is basically a manicure device for your pets. This is one of those cases where advertising meets need - we have a neurotic dog that hates to have his feet touched, much less have his nails clipped... So we have been contemplating this purchase for a while. The impediment was ordering it by mail, and the wait. So when we found out that you could walk into a store and buy it, we were sold (that and the $10 off coupon sealed the deal).
So yesterday evening, off we went to Bed, Bath and Beyond. When you combine my disdain for shopping with the kind of merchandise that one might find at Bed, Bath and Beyond, it is no surprise that last night's trip was my first visit there... ever.
It wasn't what I expected.
It was as if Crate and Barrel, JC Penney, TJ Maxx and Costco had a four-way love child. Every endcap had an "As Seen On TV" item. "Pedi-Paws" was right by the front door, which for the Anti-Shopper, was incredibly convenient. They had those bowl-sealing things - those were on clearance for $5. They even had that item that looks like a bluetooth headset, but is really a hearing aid.
It was like walking into the Infomercial Store.
There were ten thousand of every kitchen gadget ever. The "Mandolin Slicer?" . . . Had it.
Strangely, I had a certain curiousity about the things I saw in there. It wasn't a consumer curiousity, but more of a people-watching or car crash curiousity... except for retail items.
Living in Alaska, you live a relatively sheltered life when it comes to the retail world. If a big retailer comes to Alaska, it is probably the end of their growth cycle: Target. Kohls. Bed, Bath and Beyond. They arrive here with a bit of fanfare. Ultimately, they're just another store. And I feel a little bit of culture shock when I go into these places. Every square inch of usable merchandising space is occupied, managed, and designed to put these consumer items within easy reach of you as you walk through the store... and as a result, puts your hard-earned dollars within easy reach of their cash register.
But I have to hand it to Bed, Bath and Beyond. Were it not for the "As Seen on TV" items, there would be virtually no reason for me to ever go back there. I doubt I would make a special trip back... but if I was in the neighborhood, I might stop in... Which is what I do when I go to the local mall, where they have a "Hotdog on a Stick.". If you've never been, it is worth the visit.