Wednesday, July 2, 2014

Can We Talk? Hello!


Greenwich P.O./ RH under construction
Many of us have fond memories of villages and towns with maple and oak-lined central shopping streets. Among those shops would have been at least one and probably two hardware stores.

It is no secret that nearly all of those shops were replaced by warehouse-sized stores which often form the base of shopping malls located on busy devoid-of-character thoroughfares. 

In the place where I work, the last surviving hardware store is now an Oyster Bar. The bartender reaches for a slice of thick California Cab, for those who must, from a shelf near where I used to reach for a new screwdriver or hammer in Feinsod's Hardware.

Where I live, the Prada-Hermes set can still shop at the last remaining hardware store, where prices reflect the fact that locals are used to having their cake and spending it too. Into that environment the upscale purveyor for the home, Restoration Hardware – AKA RH – has built itself a new home in a building that was once Ye Old Post Office.

That would be the same Postal Service that loses about $8 Billion a year and has to sell buildings all over the country just to try to pay its healthcare and pension costs. That is one fat check that will never be in the mail.

As RH was preparing for the grand opening of its new emporium, they gave the same Postal Service – was this in the contract? – a huge piece of business in the form of promotional mailings to residents of the coveted Greenwich zip codes. Residents, such as your author, received a hulking set of RH catalogues at their doorsteps the likes of which had not been seen since the heyday of the printed Yellow Pages, which have gone the way of those hardware stores. Caputski.

My wife the DG and I were aghast that anyone would be so oblivious to the environment, not to mention good taste, that they would waste all that paper, forcing residents who never asked for it to recycle it with barely a glance inside. Who, after all, would want to do business with people like that?

Apparently, quite a few, since this week another one of those behemoths arrived at residences around town, including our own, double-wrapped in plastic with its eight sections bound in an acrylic ribbon.

Hole Couch Potato! Take that you lefty-pinko environmental crums of Greenwich CT 06830!

Do we need RH stuff enough to participate in this particular kind of stupidity and arrogance?  Do we need: $3495 Parisian leather sofas, $15-each cabinet knobs, or $12,295 wool rugs?

Well, okay, I like nice stuff around the house as much as anyone (I must admit that the leather sofa is pretty cool and the catalogues are well-produced). And, both the DG and my daughter are interior designers with clients who want and/or need some of these things. I am mindful as well that others who cannot afford to buy them do make them, wherever they may be around the world, and that they need those precious jobs.

That said, there must be another way to market RH products to those willing and able to buy them without sending out these 11.4 lb. (true!) books, even if they are made from recycled/recyclable paper. After all, I looked up those items listed above on their website. Why not simply send out a nice
invitation to use the site?


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