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It says something about you, your life preferences, and your associated memories that you’re actually pretty excited when City Target opens downtown, but the thought of entering the Bed, Bath, and Beyond just blocks away curls your toes a bit and your left eye starts twitching. You tell yourself that you are being silly, there are many practical reasons this store exists, and you are an adult and shopping at places that your Aunts in Mukilteo would even find a bit precious is just another thing you do when you are being a practical adult.

I HAVE MY REASONS

Last week I decided, after looking at my collection of coffee mugs, that they were displayed in a manner that was insufficiently attention catching, considering how excellent my mugs are. I needed to free my mugs from the tyranny of the cupboard and hang them on one of those little mug-hanging-thingies, which I learned is called a “tree,” on account of it not looking like a tree.

First I looked at the Goodwill on Capitol Hill, since I happened to be in the neighborhood. No dice. Then the Goodwill on Dearborn, which has a much larger “crap for your house” section, and still no luck. This makes sense, I guess, since mug trees probably don’t get donated en masse, unlike shoes that are in my size but still don’t fit me.

So yesterday I took a trip to my beloved City Target for a few other items and figured I’d swing by their “you didn’t know what this kitchen thing was called until a week ago” section. They had three whole shelves of mugs with the worst sorts of sayings on them, but no mug trees.

“YEAH, WE DON’T CARRY THAT”

So today I went to Bed, Bath, and Beyond. This store is deceptive, because they stagger the very practical needs in between the sections for bridal showers or picture frames with faux-hand-painted slogans on “reclaimed” wood.

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HELL FOR THE COMPANY

Spend over thirty seconds in this section and your brain starts to mush into a soft goo, the sort that Gerber feeds to babies.

I BEGAN TO STUPEFY

I could feel myself losing my resolve and thinking things like “you know, I only eat rice at home every now and again, but this IS a good deal on a rice cooker.” Which is understandable. Less understandable is this:

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for when a knife won’t cut it.

That said, nothing quite matched my horror — and awe — when I gazed upon an entire wall of nothing but clothes hangers.

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Don’t stare too long

It’s hard to say *exactly* what makes Bed, Bath, and Beyond so much more than Target, or Fred Meyer, or any other given American department store. Part of it is the strange preciousness of it’s marketing. Where other places are all like “come get stuff. you need stuff, we have it, and our prices are good or whatever,” Bed, Bath, and Beyond puts it’s hands on your shoulders, stares glassily into your eyes and says “We’re here for YOU. You deserve this, and you deserve to live your best life in reclaimed woods.”

It’s creepy.

I DID FIND THE MUG TREE, THOUGH, YOU ARE VERY RELIEVED

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Just like what grows in the forest

There’s also something both relieving and a little gross that you know that of course this store has something as superfluous as a goddamn “mug tree.” I remembered one other thing I wanted and asked a staff member for help. They were fashionably dressed, handsome, with tattoos peeking from under their long sleeved shirt. In another context we probably would have spoken of bands or books we assumed the other person enjoyed. But no. In this context, they were only here to reveal the greater horror of this Bed, Bath, and Beyond.

“Okay, so for that you’re going to want to go downstairs. . .”

THERE’S A DOWNSTAIRS?!

Originally published at how’s your morale?.

Written by

Graham Isaac and Peter Johnson

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