Royalty at the Crate and Barrel

By 2007.03.16 tags: . Comment»

Last night I drove to the local Crate and Barrel to buy sheets. Normally I don’t buy sheets or anything else at that overwrought emporium, but it’s nearby and it was Time, time to buy some damn sheets.

The clerk was sad to learn I wanted plain white sheets. “Perhaps the Clarendon?” He suggested, pointing out a lime-green fabric with cherry stripes “Or the Ogelthorpe?” Mustard with pistachio rhomboids. “Or….”

And then he shut up. Everyone did. Because a little old Japanese woman walked into the room. She moved slowly, on account of her age, also because she was bearing the burden of great wealth. You could tell. Impeccably dressed in shades of black- a bit too much jewelry-but still- this wasn’t just the wife of some millionaire. This was an Ambassador’s wife at the very least. Or even one of the Royals…

She eased Herself onto a display couch and began to speak. Her English was correct but indistinct, she spoke in a whisper so everyone around had to strain to understand. She was used to this. She spoke of rugs:

“We have these…sort of white….carpets…you know …that were made for us …and sometimes they get a spot on them…and that’s all right….you just spray them with a can of that wonderful Ovo…” (Novo? Blovo? ) “….you just spray them… and the spot comes out….so that’s all right…”

But now it seems her daughter has a carpet and it got a spot on it and the Wonderful Brand Name doesn’t want to work. So that’s not all right. So what she’s wondering is, what do you spray on a carpet so it doesn’t get spots in the first place?

“Jesus Christ, lady, this isn’t a hardware store!” the clerk screams.

Oh no he doesn’t. He thinks it for a second, we all do, but then of course we realize a Lady can’t distinguish a hardware store from a flower shop from a dog pound. To her they’re all just


So, helpfully, the clerks calls over the other clerks and they put their heads together and somebody remembers there’s a web site called or something and they get on the computer and surf around till they find it. There’s no indication Herself is going to get off the couch to look at the computer, so the clerk writes the address on a card and hands it to her.

She’s ever so slightly miffed. “Well….that’s all right…” she murmurs “…but I’ll need two cards…since….of course…. my daughter doesn’t live with me.”

When I left with my plain white sheets (the Ku Klux Kla) she was still sitting on the couch. Just waiting. Waiting, apparently, to see if there was going to be anything else on her mind tonight…

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