My friend Jennifer Sinclair asked me a question about my herbes de provence recipe from earlier this week:
hey on a side note…no lavender in your herbes de provence? 😉 Williams-Sonoma has a great one if you are in a pinch. (They have a new line of spices too that I am about to start working my way through. Black salt… for fish – i can’t wait to start experimenting! Prices are really great @$7 for a nice sized container that can be reused. I just spend $11 at Wegmens for a spice last week.)
My response was that I don’t shop at Williams-Sonoma in Syracuse because of an experience I once had there.
First things first, I really like Williams-Sonoma stores. I stopped wandering and drooling at Best Buy a long time ago, instead taking my browsing and salivating to Williams-Sonoma (the Apple store at Carousel Center is just too damn small to wander, plus I kinda have everything I want/need to that end). I really like their tools and bakeware (which is actually made by Chicago Metallic and much cheaper at Amazon.com) and their stock of obscure stuff is right in my wheelhouse.
About 3-4 years ago, I decided that I wanted to get some egg rings to use for breakfast. I was having difficulty locating them, when an associate came over, I thought, to assist. In a menacing way, as if she suspected me of stealing, this shrew snarls at me, “What do you need?” I say that I’m looking for cooking rings that I can use to make pancakes or eggs. I get, “Why, so you can make Egg McMuffins at home?”
Egg McMuffins? A man walks into a Williams-Sonoma, looks like he can’t find something, and clearly my palate is only as advanced as McDonald’s. I looked at her, gave her a raised eyebrow and walked out.
NOTE: So, I know I sound like a little bitch here, but I could have done without the condescension.
Fast forward to December. In my preparations for Christmas dinner, I decided I wanted a new meat thermometer. The two I have don’t necessarily work and I wanted one that could work remotely. So, I went for the Oxo Digital Leave-In Thermometer (I love me some Oxo) and ordered it from W-S’ website. This way, I could burn some gift cards and use a free shipping promo.
The thermometer ended up not working. Oxo’s no-questions-asked return policy is awesome, but I figured W-S should be on the hook. And, since I didn’t feel like doing a dance with shipping things back and forth, I bit my tongue and went to the store. Who was there? The Shrew.
I found the replacement thermometer and while browsing I saw her interrupt no less than three other staff members helping other people so she could help them better (I guess). This woman is a cross between a five-year-old, who has to know everything going on, and a previous boss of mine, who not only knows everything but will show you all of the ways why she is right and you are wrong. I digress.
I get to the counter and land The Shrew for my return. I explain the problem about how I followed the instructions for setup and the thermometer would not turn on. She starts fumbling with it and asks if I put the batteries in. I said yes. She asked if I tried fresh batteries, to which I also replied yes. She reads the instructions and pops off the battery plate and says, “Well I know why it isn’t working. These instructions tell you to line up the heads of the batteries so that they touch.”
I said, “Okay.”
And, in her best know-it-all teenager I get, “You can’t have two plus sides touching.” As she says this, she pops the batteries out to see that the batteries are not touching incorrectly. I mention that I knew that much and I had tried the batteries in the right direction pointing one way and then pointing the other. Either way, it didn’t work. What did I get back?
“You. Can’t. Have. Two. Plus. Sides. Touching,” as if I was both deaf and had an English comprehension deficiency. She tries the batteries pointing left and right to no avail.
“Well. It must be broken.” Sadly, my spirit was as well. We completed the exchange and I went on to cook a beef tenderloin roast for Christmas, vowing never to cross the threshold at Williams-Sonoma in Carousel Center again.