Sunday, July 26, 2009

Bed Bath and Belligerent: Fisticuffs in My Favorite Store

© 2009 Leighann Lord

Bed Bath and Beyond is one of my favorite stores. I love every part of it: the Bed, the Bath and especially the Beyond. In the main it’s a horrible store. And by horrible, I mean evil. You can’t go in for just one thing. I’ve tried. I’ve even tried to make a list, but B3 is list proof. It’s as if the store says, "I’ll see your list and raise you that cool shower squeegee you’ve been looking for." Dammit!

I’ve tried to outwit B3 by browsing its aisles without a shopping cart. Midway through the store, my arms full of merchandise, a kindly clerk will come by and offer me a cart. We don’t exchange any words beyond pleasantries. None are necessary. We both know I didn’t stand a chance. I was done for when I saw the box of Slim Line hangers on sale.

It helps that I’m on the mailing list and regularly receive B3's 20% off coupons. Sometimes they are addressed directly to me. Sometimes they say "Neighbor" or "Resident." Sometimes they’re in other people’s mail boxes all together, but that doesn’t matter. I know they’re all meant for me. It makes me feel like I’m getting a deal on stuff I didn’t even know I needed. It’s a shopaholic’s dream.

B3 is also great because it’s one of the few stores that my Husband and I both enjoy going too together. I hate food shopping. He hates the mall. But if one of us wants to go to Bed Bath & Beyond it’s a race to the car.

It’s my fault. I introduced him to B3 when we were creating our wedding registry. As an amazing cook, his favorite part of the store is kitchen stuff. I leave him alone in there at my peril. But if I turn a blind eye to his matching dish towels, he overlooks my umpteenth Bed in a Bag set. Marriage and shopping are about compromise.

B3 gets an A for ambiance. It’s big and well stocked without feeling cluttered. Visually appealing, superbly organized, clean and quiet. So I was surprised to go one Sunday with my Mother and walk in on a fight in progress. Two middle-aged Jewish men were engaged in full on fisticuffs and, sweet Jesus on the cross, the yarmulkas were flying.

I usually don’t stop to watch outdoor altercations. Ever the wary city dweller, I suspect most fights are staged diversions for pick pockets and purse snatchers. I felt safe enough in B3 however to treat myself to a free fight, but you get what you pay for.

On closer observation, it was sad. Their technique was terrible. Neither one of these guys had the proper distance nor stance. No decent punches were thrown or landed. Foot and leg work were nonexistent, and nobody even tried for a take down.

It wasn’t so much a fight as it was a vigorous tussle. They wouldn’t even have made the under card. There was some shoving and shirt pulling, but each man probably hurt himself more from the effort of exertion. The best part of the fight was watching the wives of the tussling men try to break it up. The wife wielding the umbrella had pretty good form.

The security guard eventually ended the disturbance and hustled the men out the door. B3 equanimity restored. I don’t know what the fight was about. It doesn’t matter. When grownups get physical, it’s usually over something petty: a parking space, who’s next in line, oil.

What is important is that both couples left B3 without completing their purchases. That means they didn’t use their coupons. For a fleeting moment I considered offering to take said coupons off their hands, but could see no tactful way to broach the subject without starting another row. From what I saw I could take the men but the woman with the umbrella looked like trouble.

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