November 15, 2012

How To Shop At Bed Bath & Beyond Without Totally Losing Your Mind

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What is the issue?

Even those of us who normally avoid large chain stores like the plague and/or claim to only buy things from thrift stores have to bite the bullet every once in a while and throw down some cash for a new loofah and a tacky shower curtain. At one point I was quite proud of myself for having lasted a few weeks after moving to a new city, living solely off of hotel toiletries and the amenities of my gym’s locker room, but last week I finally had to face the reality of my bare bones apartment. So I did what some of us dread almost as much as going to dentist or even the DMV — I went to Bed Bath & Beyond.

And though I loathe trips to B3 just as much as the next guy, I learned that if you invest a little time in mentally/physically preparing, you can actually increase your chances of leaving there feeling accomplished and semi-sane. So if you’re planning to make a home goods run any time soon and are feeling a bit terrified, here’s a little guide based on my latest experience that will hopefully shed some light on/help you through your next pilgrimage to this domestic Mecca.

  • Take inventory of your apartment before you leave. Realize you can count all of your possessions on one hand. Make a list of things you need in order to live (i.e. bath towels, bed sheets, forks, a pillow).
  • Head to the store feeling confident you’ve created a realistic and modest list.
  • Start practicing breathing exercises and/or begin reciting positive affirmations in order achieve as much zen as possible before entering the inevitable chaos that awaits you.
  • Make a last minute pit stop to grab caffeine and some kind of solid food, recalling the trauma/horror that defined the last time you attempted to shop malnourished.
  • Just as you’re about to set foot into this multi-level homey haven, look down at your watch/phone and take note of the time. Be sure to set a time limit for yourself but also do yourself a favor and cancel any plans you have set for the rest of your day, just in case.
  • Silently struggle over whether you should grab a basket or a cart. Realize you’ll probably need a cart but make a pinkie promise with yourself that you will only fill it up half way. MAX.
  • Glance down at your list and commit to starting in the “bed” section. Plan to give yourself an hour in “bed” and an hour in “bath,” budgeting no time for the “crap I absolutely do not need” section, more commonly known as “beyond.”
  • Before you even take your first ten steps, become engulfed/hypnotized by the kitchen accessory display strategically placed in the front of the store.
  • Spend 20-30 minutes examining the infinity amount of spatula color/design permutations for sale, while the sound of a Nutribullet infomercial softly fills the air as ambient noise.
  • Leave the kitchen accessories section with one citrus-colored spatula and an obnoxiously bright orange Rachael Ray knife set, both of which you do not need.
  • Begin to make your way to the “bed” section determined to find a sheet set that’s “cute, 100% cotton and on sale.”
  • Feeling confident that you’re heading in the right direction but also feeling kind of brainwashed from all of the Nutribullet propoganda, accidentally knock over an elaborate spice rack display and realize you’ve entered an entire nook/aisle filled with every kind of spice imaginable.
  • Become annoyed that you’ve been distracted from your goal once again, but attempt to see the good in all of this. I didn’t realize this store had an entire section dedicated to spices! Should you get some tumeric? Maybe if you buy some exotic spices your kitchen will feel less “junior year of college.”
  • Peel yourself away from the spice section and desperately seek out an employee.
  • Stumble upon someone with a walky talky and collared shirt and ask them to walk you to “where the duvet covers are.”
  • Exhibit some serious self-control as you walk past a table full of jumbo cupcake pans and rows of bright pink Betty Crocker cupcake stands.
  • Immediately feel overwhelmed upon arrival by the amount of sheet choices available. Call you mom and start to have a fight over the phone as you try to convince her that modal or tencel sheets will be good enough and that you don’t care about/understand “thread counts.”
  • Exchange some angry words you instantly regret plus a few picture texts of bed spread options and then decide on a mauve-colored polka dotted full-size bed set, some matching pillows on mark down, and a bed skirt even though it kind of looks like a giant doily.
  • Pick up a few purple shower towels and a bathmat covered in hibiscus flowers that you found in the kiddie section. It’s probably too small but it’s cheap. Sold!
  • Make your way towards the checkout line only to observe that it wraps all the way into a good chunk of the “beyond.”
  • Ignore your initial gut reaction to abort your entire mission and flee the store crying.
  • Commit to staying in line and try distracting yourself from the plethora of portable back massagers, cutesy miniature toiletry bottles, every flavor of gum ever made and overnight hair masks by “doing some work” on your phone.
  • Once you’re up to the register, realize you forgot to bring all of your 20% off coupons and then quickly excuse yourself so you can run behind a pillar covered in laundry hampers and cry softly to yourself for five seconds.
  • Return to your spot in line and pull yourself together after realizing you can pull up all of your coupons from your smart phone!!
  • Feel sort of silly for causing a scene, but observe as your feelings of disgrace melt away and are replaced with feelings of joy at your relatively productive afternoon of errands.
  • Leave the store and look down at your watch, noticing it’s currently 9:45pm. You think you arrived some time in the morning, but now that feels like yesterday/you can’t really remember/who cares because now you have new purple sheets!
  • Make a note in your calendar to come in next week with all of your receipts so you can get everything price adjusted and feel super rich/smug for about two minutes. TC mark

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‪image – SeanPavonePhoto / Shutterstock.com

Stephanie White

Stephanie White lives in New York City. She has curly hair and horrible handwriting.

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