The sting of defeat


Colorado bowl via Anthropologie

If you’d like a little chuckle on this sunny Wednesday, allow me to take you on a hilarious harrowing journey involving suspense, confusion, ceramics, and ultimately, defeat.

A couple months ago, Anthropologie released their spring catalog of home goods. It was a visual delight after all the red/evergreen/gold of the holidays — pinks and whites and fresh greenery abounding in sun-drenched abodes.  My eye landed on a particular pink ceramic footed bowl, and I instantly coveted it.  Once it arrived in stores, I’d make it mine.  Of course, thanks to the magic of advertising, I had thoroughly bought into the whole scene: sweet clementines in the bowl promising citrus-y sunny afternoons, books galore to savor — I wanted the whole package.

Fast forward a few weeks, and it had appeared online but not in stores. Now, I should note here that I loathe paying for shipping.  I have never been a fan, but the advent of Amazon Prime ruined me entirely.  I love a good deal, even better if I can stack a coupon on a sale price, and free shipping is a virtual requirement for me these days.  Also I prefer shopping in stores to online because I am very tactile — I like to see and feel an item before buying it, try it on, mull it over.  But alas, my bowl was not showing up in stores!  It waited patiently in my online cart as February ticked by, a coupon for 20% off at the ready, but I kept hoping I’d get to see it in person first.  With my code about to expire, I finally decided to take the plunge and buy it online.  But alack!  It was sold out.  No longer available.  Wha-at?!  Just barely the start of spring, never even hit stores, and poof, already gone?  A call to customer service revealed no extra intel, no advisement of future shipments.  It was, seemingly, gone.

Two more weeks went by, and while browsing throw pillows I found myself on the Anthro site again.  When I clicked on my cart, curious about the (1) indicated, there was my bowl — and it was in stock!  Oh frabjous day!  In a move most unlike me, I checked out immediately, full price item, shipping cost and all.  The elusive bowl would be mine.  That, my friend, was the high point of this little tale.  Victory and the pretty ceramic bowl were mine!

Three days later, still awaiting a shipping notification (Amazon would have delivered me that puppy already, darn it!), I got an promotional email.  It was Anthro Day, and all full price items were discounted for the weekend.  Three measly days too late.  Meh.  Well, being the resourceful woman I am, I ordered my beloved bowl a second time. I figured could return the full price one.  You know, the one that still hadn’t even shipped yet.  But huzzah, a discount!

I got my shipping notices one after the other over the next couple days, and they were ultimately delivered one week later, both on the same afternoon.  It had been a long day, and I was cheered by those three magic words, “out for delivery.”  I arrived home to two giant boxes.  Wow, they must have needed a lot of packing material for the ceramic, I thought.  Well, yes and no.  Mostly no.  I opened the box, and behold!  My little pink ceramic bowl was… giant.  Ginormous.  Oversized, at the very least.  It was awfully pretty, though!  The contrasting textures were delightful!  But… where on Earth would I put the darn thing?  I packed one up with the receipt to return and pondered ovacs_0035er the second.  It was larger than my head.  A few tangerines?  I could fit fruit salad for ten in it!  Perhaps decorative on my bookshelf?  Well, no — it dwarfed the stack of large art books I put it beside.  Dwarfed it.  Perhaps over on the media console?  It might look more in-proportion next to something larger like the TV?  No, no, no.  That only emphasized how big it was.

My mom requested a photo as I texted her my surprise about its size, so I obliged. She quipped that it reminded her of a baptismal font or something — that I could perhaps put it next to our front door and fill it with holy water?  Much laughter ensued, on both sides.  (Great, my pretty bowl was now comedic relief.)  Sigh.  I put it on our table near the front door, thinking I’d mull it over.  Then the next day, my husband asked if I was going to return my God cup.  Great.  Great!  Now it looked like an oversized chalice!  Pour in a bottle of wine or THREE and we’d be all set for the largest Communion gathering anyone would ever see.  And I couldn’t un-see it.  Now I really had to admit defeat.  Not one, but two longed-for, lost-and-then-triumphantly-found, dramatically oversized God cups ceramic bowls got packed up into my car to be returned.

Sometimes, it just isn’t meant to be.  We could proselytize here about the inherent illusions of advertising or the glossy unreality of social media, but the real lesson here, I think, is that I just need to read the dimensions next time.  Because apparently, Anthropologie has really big books and bookshelves.

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