Yesterday evening, Rhiannon and I attended a college savings night at the Container Store near our house. It was a night for college students and their parents to shop after normal business hours – the entire store was marked 20% off. Rhiannon had been looking for a few things for her classroom and we figured this would be a good time to pick a few things up. We had stopped at the store earlier last week and had a pretty good idea of what we were looking for, so we didn’t think it would be a big deal to swing by, grab what we wanted. Pulling into the parking lot, we felt like we had stumbled into a mini version of the Friday morning after Thanksgiving, except it was a Sunday evening in July and no one was passing out hot cider to keep warm and it was light outside.
So maybe it really wasn’t like the Friday after Thanksgiving, but the parking lot around a smaller store was packed, which was a little unexpected. As we walked in, there was a greeter in the front asking what college I would be attending. It must have been my boyish good looks (or the fact a rather lengthy line was still behind us) because she didn’t bat an eye as she asked what college I was going to and filled out a nametag for me. She turned to Rhiannon and said “Well, if he’s going to Mines, you’ll be spending lots of time there too.”
Neither of us are going to Mines anymore, and Rhiannon was a little irritated that she wasn’t asked where she was going to school.
As we entered the store, we saw cliques of people already forming, from the preppy girls and guys who wear five t-shirts, two necklaces, brand new jeans that will be lucky to make it through one more wash cycle and perfectly styled hair to the athlete/jock group wearing basketball shorts to their mid-shin, a lanyard with keys and t-shirt with some name brand athletic company logo on the breast to the shy kids who were just hoping to escape the store without anyone seeing them out with their parents and why did they have to come here anyway?
In some cases, the parents were worse than their children in the I-have-to-have-everything-give-it-to-me-now behavior. And the things they were getting, like file cabinets and desk organizers, will not be used as they see in their minds eye. I was lucky to find paper and my textbook much less tax return information. And the small three compartment laundry dolly for your son? If he is like me or any of the guys I lived with, he will bring laundry home or do it every four weeks or when he runs out of clothes, which ever comes first.
We bypassed the line for carts (we grabbed a basket instead) and waded into the sea of young’uns. There isn’t much at the Container Store that can’t be found anywhere else – storage is storage – you pay for the label on it and what color it might be more than anything. Most of the items could probably be found at Wal-Mart for a lower price. Sometimes people without a mortgage (read: Rhiannon and I a year ago) don’t think about the lowest price. We think about brand names and the cool factor of shopping at a trendy store.
We grabbed a few things that we knew we couldn’t find elsewhere or were actually reasonably priced since they were on sale and managed to make our way out.
Then we went to Wal-Mart. And in two days of having the Wal-Mart pencil cup on my desk at work, I’ve gotten 5 comments on it from co-workers.