Wednesday, September 17, 2014

Shopping... for Body Parts

Someone has spent far too long in the Chestnut Hill Pottery Barn: 


I interpreted this as a warning and kept my visit to well under an hour yesterday. I can happily waste lots of time in Pottery Barn and it's probably good that we lost the store in my neighborhood despite my frequent patronage. I'm a sucker for their paisley duvets and pillows along with their towels, boxes, serving pieces, and seasonal items — our apartment is filled with PB purchases. But I was in Chestnut Hill for a doctor's appointment and couldn't resist dropping in to see what was what. 

It's wise to shop at PB stores instead of online because items are often a very different size than you imagine from photos. (I'm pretty good with intrepreting measurements and using a tape measure, but clearly not good enough....) I'm a retail optimist, imagining that things will be exactly the size I want, but reality usually brings a surprise. 

We need new bedside lamps and PB had a metal style I liked. (I've never owned a traditional table lamp with some kind of decorative base and a fabric or paper shade. I've lived with clumsy, playful, and/or passive-aggressive cats since college and I know better than to buy lamps that will break when — not if — they are knocked over. I stick with metal.) We drove to a store to see the lamp in question and it was too big to fit on either bedside table. It was like a floor lamp for toddlers. So we're keeping our old lamps until we move. The scale issue is true for lots of things: serving pieces that appear neat and modest in scale online turn out to be better for catering banquets. Paisley prints that seem striking in an image are mind-blowing on a shower curtain or bed. Yesterday I looked for what I imagined to be a little brass tray in the shape of a maple leaf maybe as big as my hand; it's actually the size of a charger. 

While I'm not buying much these days, I'm unable to resist certain seasonal items. I suggest that you check out the Halloween selection at PB online or in person. They've gone bananas this year, offering everything from that life-size skeleton (on sale for $79) to skull-shaped decanters to little glass votives on spider legs. I spent my visit yesterday carrying this skull candle around (knowing I would never, ever light it):


I felt like Hamlet. It has a satisfying weight although it's more kid-size than Yorick-size. (I thought it would be bigger, but at least it looks much better in person). It was also on sale — a bargain compared to Damian Hurst's platinum-and-diamond skull, which I vastly prefer, but it last sold for $100 million.

So bring on the pumpkins; I'm ready for October. Afterward, this will live in a dark corner on a bookcase, showing off its gleaming teeth until I can afford the platinum version.

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