I’m not a natural salesperson. I’m very frugal, far from rich, and have a hard time convincing others that they need things they can’t afford. However, the job market was slim last year so I got a job as a Sales Associate at a well-known high-end store in a not too high-end community. (Half our elementary kids are on the free lunch program and we have a stock car racetrack.)
So, I’m in the china department one day and three customers walk in. Mom, Daughter (20ish) and Daughter’s Guy Friend. Their mission: Get wedding gift for Mom’s niece/Daughter’s cousin. Guy Friend is, of course, unenthusiastic and just there to hang out and see a movie later (he seems nice.) Mom and Daughter print registry and corral me to ask about this item or that. I show them the place settings: $165 each, couple requested 12. Mom doesn’t want to insult me (though, frankly, I agree with her more than the store) and just quietly asks about something less expensive. Maybe glassware? The couple has selected 12 pretty flutes, 12 white wines, and 12 red wines that are $45. “Is that for a set of four?” Mom asks me, hopefully. “No,” I say, “each.”
Guy Friend speaks up: “What are they going to do with all this stuff? Do they really need thousands of dollars in dishes?” Mom and Daughter nod in agreement.
I’m not a natural salesperson. I agree also. (Eh, it was minimum wage. I go in, I get paid, I go home.) We wind up having a friendly conversation about registries being ‘guidelines,’ and not ‘commandments’ and I show her some nice kitchen basics (not on the registry) that I wish I’d had in my first kitchen. I help Mom buy a few kitchen must-haves for a novice cook (which the bride is, Mom and Daughter tell me) and they throw in a little gift card and some gift wrap. So, it turned out to be an okay sale. Hope the bride likes it.
My point is: If you are one of the few people anymore who actually hosts formal dinner parties frequently and loves serving your dozen beloved friends great wine and great food, then by all means, register for great wineglasses and great plates. You deserve it, you generous hostess, you! But if you’re like most of us and didn’t know what a ‘charger’ or ‘fingerbowl’ was until the helpful china salesgirl insisted you register for 12, and you listened to her, then you have some serious self-contemplation to do, my friend. You’ll never use them! And so many brides believe that marriage will suddenly transform them into whole new, French-cooking, Martha-Stewart people! You’ll still be you! Register for a popcorn maker and a new DVD instead and start your hostessing career with a Blockbuster-potluck party. Or go bar-hopping or bowling, if that’s your thing. To thine ownself be true, or something. You’ll like it, your friends will like it, your guests will like it, and your HUSBAND who fell for YOU which is why he’s MARRYING you will still RECOGNIZE you under all that tulle. Isn’t that nicer than plates? 0921-08
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