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Bed, Bath, Boundaries & Beyond

by Derek Sisterhen on July 15, 2010

My wife and I were in Bed, Bath & Beyond last weekend for a particular set of cups we’ve had our eye on for a while. The place was crawling with people (which usually bothers me – I don’t like to shop with 800 new friends), but I found myself observing them like little mice in a social experiment.

Did you know that you can get any kitchen utensil you could ever dream of at BB&B? There are even some utensils aliens probably dreamt about, because I can’t see any benefit of having them. Why would anyone need a lazy Susan for a cheese grater?

Pots, pans, cosmetics, sheets, pillows, fine china, crystal, shoe insoles, gourmet candy, and – wonder of all wonders – a 20-foot high wall of Tassimo beverage cartridges. Because making coffee with a filter is so last millennium.

What struck me as I observed the mice was the apparent randomness with which they shopped. Some stopped in the pots and pans, got distracted by the inflatable mattresses, and wound up in the smelly candles. Others made a beeline for bedding, only to later be spotted with the latest “As Seen On TV” contraption in their buggy.

When going into stores like BB&B, recognize that the marketing powers that be have studied the mice. There is a reason the bed and bath items are at the rear of the store: you have to go beyond everything else to get there.

Everything else that you didn’t know you needed (and that they’d love you to buy).

I always recommend having a list when visiting a grocery store. Boundaries aren’t a bad thing and a list provides them so you get what you came for and don’t wreck the grocery budget in the process. Now that so many of the big box stores are offering everything necessary to human existence – and alien existence, for that matter – setting boundaries with a list for these shopping adventures will help you avoid the mousetrap, too.

  • Red

    Amen! I am a big fan of making lists before going to the store. I once dated a man who would walk down every single aisle of the grocery store “just in case” he forgot something. He refused to make a list. And I guarantee he spent more money because of it.

    Also, BB&B does have an odd assortment of merchandise.

  • Derek Sisterhen

    Thanks for the comment, Red! Rough stuff on the old boyfriend who would cruise the aisles for things he didn't know he needed. You're right, that's a recipe for overspending and – probably – over-eating.

    I agree with you that BB&B is a very unique store. It's tough to find a spot that sells very nice china, down pillows, candy bars, and space heaters under the same roof. I guess that goes to show that we have some ADHD shopping habits as a culture!

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