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Regarding Linens and Other Things

Years ago, my mother had a real problem with the store “Linens ‘n Things.”  She loved everything in that store. . . except the prices.  She would drag me out every weekend to go shopping and complain about the cost of items the whole time and never buy a single thing.  It became a ritual of sorts, we would go out and get a Caramel Frappuchino (also something my mom thought was too expensive) and head out for what promised to be some retail therapy.

She would thumb through the sheets, bed spreads and pillow cases. . .and never stop complaining about the cost.  It would start very innocently: “Tni, do you like this set?”  Naively, I would offer my opinion about whether the particular bed set would work well with the style of her bedroom and the color scheme.  She would pause for a moment and then ask:  “Well, what do you think about the price?”  That question was rhetorical of course.  I mean, how could one really say that a $300 pillow wasn’t expensive?  Clearly it was.  I didn’t notice the pattern at first mostly because, well, I love my mother and enjoy spending time with her, and I really love Caramel Frappuchinos.  So, admittedly sometimes I wasn’t paying the best attention, especially when I was licking the last drop of whipped cream from the plastic top while I was strolling through the bath towels.

Eventually though, and because I am in the terrible habit of saying what I think (something she raised me to do), I turned to her one day and said “Mom, I’m not going to this store with you again.”   She was floored.  “WHYYYYYYYY?” “Well because you never buy anything in here. . .in fact. . . you KNOW you’re not going to buy anything from this store.   You don’t like the prices, and the prices haven’t changed for as long as we’ve been coming here.  It may be ridiculous to pay $1500 for a bed spread, but that’s what the one you want costs.  Sometimes you even have a 10% coupon and you still don’t like the prices enough to buy.  So, what’s the point of coming here every week?”  She was a little hurt, but she eventually understood.  Her Linens ‘n Things outings were a waste of both of our time.  After all, I could suck down a Frappuchino while engaging in almost any activity, and she clearly wasn’t going to buy linens or any other things.

Anyway, that moment was very instructive for me as a daughter and as a real estate agent.  Indeed, I sometimes have to have the “Linens ‘n Things” talk with my buyers as well and tell them that as much as I love spending time with them and respect their reasoning about prices. . .home prices are what they are.  If you are looking for a home right now, and buying at today’s prices (even with a coupon) still doesn’t appeal to you, that’s ok, but you don’t need to keep dragging me out to the store every weekend. . .

There is, of course, a happy ending to all of this.  As some may recall, Linens ‘n Things fell victim to the poor economy and declared bankruptcy not long ago.  Since they were going out of business, my mom called me up for a “victory lap” visit to the store and to get some closure on this chapter in our lives.  It felt almost triumphant to return to the familiar rows of soap dispensers, designer shower curtains, and George Foreman Grills and pick up a few bargains.  We stopped at Starbuck’s for fuel and then headed straight for the bed linens.  Of course, my mom looked down at them and said. . .

“You call this a close out?”

Copyright © Tni LeBlanc 2010 *Regarding Linens and Other Things*

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