Thursday, May 05, 2016

May 5, 2016--ABC Carpet & Home

We're always on the lookout for cloth table napkins. Using them at breakfast and dinner is one of our small luxuries. And thus we like to have a large supply from which to choose.

So, when we found ourselves the other day at the Union Square Green Market, just two streets south of ABC Carpet & Home, after rounding up cremini mushrooms and fresh spinach for the next day's breakfast omelet, Rona said, "Why don't we walk up to ABC. We haven't been there in eons. Maybe we'll see something for the apartment or Maine cottage. We'll be there in ten days and maybe we'll find something decorative to put on the dining room table."

"Good idea," I said, "We've been looking for a ceramic bowl or a piece of folk art for it feels like years. Maybe we'll get lucky."

We didn't. There were very few things that caught our eye and the two pieces that had possibilities were $3,500 and $6,000.

"You mean that pathetic stone sculpture of a sea bass is $6,000? I'm incredulous."

"In general it looks a if they're out of control with their pricing. Picking numbers out of the air. When we bought furniture here 25 years ago we found a lot of things and the prices felt fair. Now, like everything else involving downtown living--from the cost of food in restaurants to the price of apartments--is off the charts."

"We're living in the world of the one percent," I said.

"Five percent," Rona said. "Don't make it worse than it is."

"Fair point," I acknowledged. "Five percent is bad enough."

"Let's get out of here," Rona sighed. "I used to love this place. Now it's aggravating me. Everything feels like a rip off."

"We can always look at napkins," I said, winking, hoping to make both of us feel better about the new New York.

"I think we pass by them on our way out," Rona said. "I don't want to spend any more time here than I have to."

"I just remembered," I said, perking up. "The one time we ever saw Donald Trump in the flesh was here 22 years ago."

"I remember that too," Rona said, enjoying the recollection. "He and Marla Maples got off the elevator just as we were getting on. They had their new baby with them."

"Tiffany. She's 22 now. That's how I know when it was.

"Well named. After a jewelry store."

"She was amazing looking. Marla, I mean.

"Perfect skin and totally radiant."

"How appropriate that we're here the day after he became the presumptive nominee."

"Remember how we changed our minds about getting in the elevator and followed them around as they shopped for bed linens?"

"I do. It was a lot of fun."

"Not like today," Rona muttered.

"Here are the napkins. Maybe we'll fine something we like."

And quickly Rona did. "I like these," she said, holding up a couple of what looked like blue vegetable-dyed embroidered Indian napkins. "These could work in the city or Maine. Maybe better in Maine as we have a lot of blue things there."

"For old times sake maybe we should get them."

"Sounds like a nice idea. Let me see how much they are."

Rona squinted at the price tag and more to herself than to me, said, "This you won't believe."

"What's that?"

"They cost $75."

"For a set of six?"

"No. Apiece."

"Your kidding. Let me take a look."

Rona passed them to me. "You're right," I said. "It's either that they're a ridiculous price, since these aren't fancy napkins or especially well made, or they're mislabeled. They're probably $7.50. Let's ask a salesperson."

"This is making me cranky. I'm OK to forget about these. Let's just go."

"Now I really want to know. First there was that stupid fish and now this."

Just as I was saying that a salesman approached and asked if he could help with anything. I asked him to check the price of the napkins. "I think they're not priced correctly."

"Let me check," he said. "I can do it over there at the cash register. I'll be back in a flash."

And he was. Thankfully since Rona was about to bolt.

"Sorry, but the are priced correctly. I mean maybe not the price itself. They do feel a little expense to me," he whispered.

"A little? Seventy-five dollars for one napkin made in India for maybe a quarter?" Rona shushed me and was tugging on my arm to get me to stop and leave. "You mean, if we bought four it would be $300?"

"Plus tax," Rona said, getting into it.

"Well, that means we can get the napkins delivered."

The salesman stared at me not understanding.

"It says there on that sign that if you spend at least $300 you get so-called free, same day delivery anywhere in Manhattan."

"Be we live only ten blocks from here," Rona said, "and it would be only four messily napkins. Even without the tax . . ."

"For free delivery it has to total at least $300 before sales tax." He said, smiling broadly.

"Not a problem," Rona said. "If we bought four . . ."

I knew she was being ironic. It was my turn to pull on her arm. It was past time to leave.

At the door, Rona looked back nostalgically at the glittering displays, "I suspect this is the last time we'll ever come to this store."

"And I doubt, with The Donald on his way to the White House, that we'd ever see him here."

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