Thursday, January 29, 2009

Limited Express

I was waiting for a city bus today and when it arrived, it pulled sharply to the curb like a drunken sailor as waiter-bys like me jump from the curb fearing for our dear lives. As people were boarding, I shouted a question to the driver. "Is this express?" He grufflyreplies, "No!" Sadly, I walk away but it occurred me, for clarity, I should have said Is this limited? Why the MTA uses two words for the same concept is beyond me.

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.

Monday, January 26, 2009

Harvard wants my money and they're gonna get it

Just when I was lamenting for someone to curry favor with me, the latest issue of Harvard's publication, "The Yard" is addressed to both me and Josh. I don't know how or why this happened, but we're both perplexed over it.
Looks like I'll be giving money to Harvard and not Cornell....

Sunday, January 25, 2009

Looking for a new (and cheap and clean) nail salon

I was at the nail salon this weekend, trying to explain to the owner that I had lost my loyalty card. (If you get 10 services, you get a free manicure.) I've easily been to this place at least ten times but have never cashed out on the free manicure. So I told her about how I got my purse stolen and that the thief took the contents of it, including my loyalty card. I was interested in getting about 5-7 stamps from the owner. I thought it was a reasonable request given that we can both agree that I've frequented the salon more than 5-7 times in the past year. She flatly denied my request (and moreover, didn't even sympathize or make one comment about my stolen purse). So I boldly looked her in the eyes and said, I probably won't be coming back here anymore then. I don't like frequenting service oriented places that pretend you've never been there before. I don't want to be treated like a number or a twenty dollar bill. I'm so annoyed that she wouldn't give me the stamps and made zero attempt at currying my favor. When I get my nails done, I want a pleasant obsequious chatty owner. Not a money-focused tight-lipped shrew. Is that too much to ask?