Thursday, January 29, 2009

Mixed feelings - Material delights and frugal tendencies

Yesterday, a few packages from Williams Sonoma arrive for me. They wait patiently for my kids to go to bed and then the fun begins. First off, they arrive in what appears to be your run-of-the-mill corrugated cardboard boxes. But a closer examination reveals that they don't have the conventional perforated two flaps that are taped up in the middle, but an entire fold-over flap that tucks inside the box, ie. the box opens like a giant hinged gift box - very elegant and reminiscent of origami. Then, when you lift up the flap to open the box, the inside is lined in white paper and the Williams Sonoma logo in giant print "greets" you.
I've ordered stuff from other retailers before and never have they elevated or refined the humble and hum-drum corrugated cardboard box, so hats off to WS. Definitely not environmental to be creating, designing and using boxes that are non-standard, but boy are they delightful.
Finally, the throw that I ordered was tied up to look like a present in white grosgrain ribbon.At first I decided it was too nice to even open, but that created an economic dilemma because I wanted to use the throw. In the end, I settled with saving the ribbon and using the throw.
But, the biggest surprise of all was that, tucked inside one of the boxes was a complimentary round petite soap, wrapped in finely pleated tissue paper. I felt so giddy, it was like finding a luxe chocolate mint tucked in your bed, a top off to "turned down" service at a nice hotel. Except it's even better, because I don't eat mints but I do use soap.
Finally, I am so sad to recycle these delightful cardboard boxes and throw them out on the curb, because without closer examination, they look exactly like their regular, unrefined, with-no-family-crest cardboard box cousins, at least thrice removed and definitely from the wrong side of the tracks. It would be much better and more efficient for the world if my delight could be recyled to other people.
In sum, I have to give WS a lot of credit for stirring and bundling these emotions in me - both delight and a weird sense of Depressionesque-World-War-II-rationing-frugal-must-save-everything mentality.


RC said...

Ralph Lauren uses the same type of box...and they gift box for free! I have the same thrill. Love online shopping so much more than in the store.

Anonymous said...

I enjoyed reading this so much because I can share in the delight and surprise of the recipient. So many people might say "Yeah, but how much did you have to pay for it?..." but I think the concept of receiving something in unique and tasteful packaging is as important as what it contains and will suggest greater value to you. For instance, my new Vizio lcd tv came with an easy setup guide in color on durable glossy stock that unfolds as big as an art poster. And it's so easy to understand - as opposed to the pulp inserts of most manufacturers. I may even keep this one.Hurray for those of us who value thoughtfulness as well as price.