Tag Archives: dish

Just Like Target, only (way) different……….

I went to Spencers this week. The best way to explain it is that it is like shopping at a mini-mart at a large gas station – only with shopping carts and air conditioning and actual cash registers – and a bakery and a kitchen section. Oh yeah, and an electronics station and a book section. (But no digital alarm clocks.) Okay, a very large mini-mart at a very large gas station. But this store is not just around the corner – it’s about 30 minutes away – with the potential for a good bit of traffic. So you have to really “plan” a trip there.

We now have a place large enough to invite friends over – so I am doing just that. However, I don’t really have the dishes and silverware to do that. To move here, I packed a lot of my plastic plates because I knew that they would not break when they were mailed over here – but I want to invite actual adults over – not my imaginary friends from plastic plate land. And we will probably want to use silverware. Adults – remember? Okay, American adults. Indians will often eat with their hands as is their custom – but not many Americans have adopted that method just yet.

So, off to Spencers I go. My experience at Spencers explains what it is often like living in India. “Ask for what you want, be happy with what you get.”

First off, I went with one of my very favorite friends in India. So we laughed pretty much the whole time. Very nice.

However, when shopping in India, you really, truly never know just what you are going to find. You could have been at a lovely market last week where they had 10 varieties of goldfish crackers and hardly enough room to put them on the shelf. You go back this week and they say “goldfish crackers? no ma’am.” You might as well have said you wanted a real goldfish served on a golden cracker. So my motto has become “get it while the gettin’s good”.

My whole purpose in going to Spencers was to get plates and silverware.

Mission One – plates.

I walked down the plate aisle. Walk with me – here is what you will typically find. Several patterns of Correll dishes that would have been absolutely perfect if I was inviting Sanford and his son over 20 years ago (remember the tv sitcom junkyard owner) and a few patterns of pretty  china. That’s right, nothing in between. Rags to riches on aisle 7.

But not this time. This time, I spotted a lovely pottery pattern. The plates and bowls and cups all had the same colors but not the same design.  They coordinated beautifully but were not all the same, same – matchy, matchy. Tres cool.

Normally when shopping in Spencers, there are 4 salespeople on every aisle ready to bug the heck out of you help you find whatever it is you do and do not need. Today? Not so much. So I went on a Spencers safari and hunted down the lone clerk lurking behind the drinking glasses.

Me: Could you help me, please?
Him: Yes ma’am
Me: Over here, by the plates?
Him: Yes ma’am
Me: I would like to get this pattern.
Him: Yes ma’am
Me: Okay?
Him: Yes ma’am
Me: Ummmm, what do we do next?
Him: Oh, yes ma’am
Me: Okay. Seriously, I would like to get this set of dishes. And I would like another set – two sets. Of this pattern. Is there another set in the back?
Him to himself : oh-uh that was too many words – I don’t understand her – maybe if I don’t answer she will just go away
Me: Do you think there is another set in the back? This set is missing a bowl. Are there more sets?
Him: Yes ma’am
Me: Can you get them?
Him: saying Yes ma’am – but still standing right in front of me – not moving
Me: Now?
Him: leaving…….
Him: returning…..empty handed
Him: No more in back ma’am
Me: I would like to get this set.
Him: No ma’am
Me: Why not…. what happened to Yes ma’am?
Him: A bowl is missing
Me: Really, I happen to know that – remember just a minute ago – I told you that. It’s okay. I still want it
Him: No more in the back
Me: I understand that. I want this one
Him: No ma’am
(Are you banging your head against the keyboard yet?)
My Friend: Do you think another store might have it
Me and My Friend: instantly laughing – yeah – that isn’t exactly how it works here
My Friend: Can she get a discount for the missing bowl?
Me: I wish he would just agree to sell me the set – can I pluhlease get this set
Him: Yes ma’am. Then he packed it up in a box from a different set. (Apparently the box was missing too. Some mysteries are probably better left unsolved.)

Okay. In the U.S., I would have n.e.v.e.r. been happy with this set of dishes. As cute as it was, it had a missing bowl and actually a chipped saucer. No, I did not point that out to HIM. Sista please. In the US, I would have asked if they could call around to every other store in driving distance to find TWO complete sets of dishes. Heck I might have even stayed home and ordered online. I would not have wanted it without two complete sets in good condition. In fact, in the U.S., they would have walked over to the computer – entered the sku- and let me know who in Alaska had purchased the same set. I would know if Madonna and I had the same plates. Okay, not really, but you get the point.

But here, I know that if I go back later, it will be gone. I know not to drive all over town looking at other stores.  I know that I liked it well enough to not risk it. It was so cute and unique that I just decided to get it and I will just make sure the 6th person I invite does not care for soup or ice cream. Seriously, conducting a survey of my guests will be easier than finding two complete sets of matching dishes that are not broken or orphaned in anyway – at least two sets that don’t cost a fortune. These were just about the right price. And somehow I managed to get an extra serving tray in the deal for free. I mentioned it might be nice to throw in a serving tray to replace the bowl and he agreed. Wahlah. And the guy even walked up to the check out stand to ‘splain the situation to the check out clerk.

Mission Two – silverware

Oh, and I bet you forgot I wanted silverware too. And just how do I know that. Because I also forgot I wanted silverware. Damn.