Today I made the tactical error of checking my work email. And, you know, one thing led to another, and before you knew it, I was doing a load of wash, packing actual carrots in the kids’ lunch instead of simple sugars and things that come in crinkly packaging, and contemplating writing a blog post. It’s a slippery slope.
A few months ago I went shopping with my mother and wandered into Restoration Hardware. I hadn’t been in that store in at least a year and I always went there around Christmastime to get weird but useful stocking stuffers. It was also a good place to check for rugs and lighting and unusual hardware for cabinets and doors, so when we were fixing up our first house I used to shop there. When I went in this last time, I sent my husband a text that said something along the lines of, “I think I accidentally stumbled into Count Chocula’s secret lair,” because nothing in the place looked actually buy-able and it was all straight out of a torture chamber. I think the only thing that looked interesting to me was a mannequin wrapped in spiked chains holding a mace, but I don’t even want to explain why that’s appealing – not that I really could. In any event, I certainly couldn’t reconcile what I was seeing with the store I used to go to and from where I’d purchased my reproduction arts and crafts living room rug.
When I came home today, my husband showed me the mail and announced, “Mystery SOLVED.” Sitting on the counter was this:
“My WORD!” I exclaimed, “It’s huge!” *
Because it is! It’s like a phone book! But that wasn’t the best part. And that wasn’t even what the husband was talking about. The real reason that Restoration Hardware has gone crazy and there isn’t a thing in there you would want to buy is THIS:
This is Gary Friedman, Chairman and Co-Chief Executive Officer of Restoration Hardware, and he felt it was very important that we see him in all his casual - thumbs in pockets! - and very coiffed glory. Next to the full page color glossy photo of Gary is a kind of mission statement explaining why there isn’t a single thing in the catalog that any sane person would want to buy. Although he doesn’t actually word it that way. He starts by quoting the Rolling Stones and then encourages us, you and me – customers ostensibly, to just be us. And in doing so, in just being us, we should be comfortable with Restoration Hardware’s decision to be the “defiant troublemakers” of their industry who chose not to lower quality or (and this is the important part) reduce prices despite the tough times. And thus, in their first ever “source book” weighing in at twelve and half pounds (not really), we can “witness items that, like rock’n’ roll did in the ’60′s, push their established boundaries and stimulate ideas of a new and evolving way to furnish our homes.”
And then he quotes Mick Jagger some more.
And then he shows us pictures of what I can only assume is Dracula’s castle. In black and white. Because…someone forgot color film? I don’t know. I can’t explain that. Maybe it’s a defiant troublemaker thing. Maybe Mick Jagger told him to do it. I’m a pretty big Stones fan, and I never caught that part, but who knows.
See what I mean?
But then, you know what? Mr. Defiant Troublemaker got a little nervous, I think, and decided to hedge his bets with a little Pottery Barn safety net! Because every McMansion in the U.S. of A. has a bathroom that looks just like this one. Except, you know, in color.
Just be us!
*Not my actual words, because I’ve never said, “My word” in my life, and you can feel free to make whatever inappropriate jokes you’d like. My husband did.