The Registry

I can completely visualize everything from moving around the world, to having kid(s), to getting old; all of that. But the hardest thing for me is to visualize what you’d like to have in your cupboards for the rest of your life. That’s kind of what a registry really is when you really get into it. Sure, getting married is all about planning your lives and minds around the idea of being a unit, but the registry is essentially the same thing in a shopping list format. I can’t describe how difficult it was for me to try and visualize whether I’ll be happy with a set of plates in 5 years much less 10, 20, 30 on up to the end of our lives. I can’t see how I’m going to end up dying as an old man, how can I possibly know what food processor I need?

These were a lot of the things knocking around in my head while Sylvia and I discussed the registry. Originally, it seemed like a fun thing where we could just pick a bunch of things out that seemed really cool and then we’d have cool stuff. Sylvia did a lot of reading regarding them and realized far earlier than I did that the registry is serious business. We tossed around the idea of where we should register and it was pretty early on that we decided that Amazon was a strong candidate. I mean, you can find anything on Amazon, which gives you a pretty wide net to play with. Sylvia found out that you could add things to an Amazon registry, even if it happened that they weren’t sold through Amazon to begin with. So, with Amazon, you can basically register for anything that’s sold on the Internet. Period.

This actually ended up being a big hindrance because when you have a pool of the sum total of anything, you have a really hard time settling on what to register for, much less which brand/model of whatever item you decide you want to register for. Sylvia and I get along really really well and we had a few arguments about a number of registry related items and just the purpose/concept of one to begin with. Originally I was looking at it as a wish list of things that would be great to have in a household, but her point was that it’s not just that; you’re registering for things that should last you years and years and not need to be replaced at the drop of a hat. You’re starting a life together for real as a unit, not just roomates. Any time I’ve looked a registry in the past for friends who have gotten married, I’ve never thought about it from that perspective and now I don’t think I’ll ever be able to be so casual about it. Once I started descending down the rabbit hole of the importance of registering for the right items to last indefinitely and that we’d be happy with essentially till death, Amazon was just too much to handle. I recognize that this might sound a bit over the top, but if you search for a set of dishes or flatware on Amazon, come back in 30 minutes and tell me how you make out with that task.

After much strife and deliberation, Sylvia made the wonderful suggestion that we don’t just register with Amazon and try to find a physical store that people can walk into to shop. Something that’s common enough and that would potentially be able to accept international orders from any of the overseas folks who might want to get us stuff. That ended up being another (thankfully smaller) can of worms. We first thought of CB2, but there are only a handful of locations, then Crate and Barrel, but that got nixed because there just wasn’t enough there that we were looking for.  Then it was Macy’s, but they didn’t have any dishes that we liked so we were back to square one. Luckily, we had a lunch date scheduled with our friends Nora and Phil, who got married a couple of years ago and their suggestion was Bed Bath and Beyond. I had the next day off of work because of Presidents Day and we decided to head down there on a lark to check it out and maybe try registering.

It ended up being the best decision that we’d made in what felt like forever. Our assistant, Shannon, was super nice and helpful and awesome and was more than excited to go through any questions or wacky ideas that we had. We started with dishes just because we’d been so frustrated with that on Amazon/Internet searches and I learned that the reason that people get fancy china is because it’s super strong and durable. I was under the impression that the opposite was true just because so often you see super dainty and delicate looking fancy china. Being the pragmatic people that we are, we saw a set of basic white, square china that were the perfect balance of being fancy china as well as everyday and also much more affordable than the standard super fancy china with the gold or platinum banding or fancy patterns. Then she gave Sylvia a bar-code gun, I pulled out my list and the three of us started wandering the store asking questions and scanning things as we came to a consensus. Sylvia and I had a minor argument about two models of Kitchenaid mixers and Shannon was classy enough to not interfere until we’d cooled off a bit. We asked her how often do couples argue while registering and she laughed and mentioned that one guy actually left the store and went to the bar next door to wait till the lady was done. It’s uplifting when you can have a disagreement about something and then someone else tell you that you’re actually quite tame; you didn’t actually raise your voice and at least you didn’t bolt out of the store!

We wandered the aisles with the list to make sure that we’d at least seen something that we hadn’t registered for on Amazon or to see what alternatives Bed Bath and Beyond had and it ended up being a lot of fun. I’m still not sure what had happened to the time, but we ended up spending about two and a half hours in there before we’d finally exhausted our list and realized that we were beat and needed a meal. Shannon kept up with us the whole way like a champ and the advice that she had was more than helpful. Because the staff there aren’t paid on commission, there’s no incentive for them to try and up sell you on anything. Apparently they have a fantastic return policy as well, so it makes sense why they’re more interested in finding you the thing you need instead of something you might return. I got the manager’s info from Shannon because I was just so happy with how much she helped us and wanted to make sure that somebody knew about it. Then we were out of there for lunch and a nap.

The greatest thing about going to the physical store is that Sylvia and I managed to sort of ‘get’ the idea behind a lot of what to register for. When you’ve got flatware and dishes and a few big kitchen appliances out of the way, you’ve cleared enough of the cruft from something huge like Amazon that it becomes a better resource as opposed to a giant amorphous blob of oh-my-god-what-are-we-doing. With Amazon as a secondary registry, we were able to hone and fine tune that list as well. After a couple of days, we had basically most everything but a few additional big kitchen items figured out. I followed through on Nora’s additional suggestion of registering with America’s Test Kitchen and it was just helpful enough to narrow the last few things down, but if I had to do it again, I think I might have tried checking Consumer Reports as well. Regardless, with those last couple of items out of the way, Sylvia and I considered ourselves registered. I’m sure that there are other things that we might add in the next month or so, but right now, everything on the list (with the exception of this awesome thing) is stuff that fits in that balance of want/need. If anyone is getting married and needs advice, I can’t recommend Bed Bath and Beyond enough as a brick and mortar store and Amazon as a sort of catch all for extras that you don’t necessarily need to see like cookie sheets or spatulas. Or this cute little guy.

And in case any of you are interested, head on over to Bed Bath and Beyond or Amazon and judge us! Judge us. You can buy something too. That’d be grand.

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2 Responses to “The Registry”

  1. Naomi Says:

    Almost every couple I know has registered at Bed, Bath and Beyond. I joked to my friend last week that BBB is a wedding registry store first and the home-ware store second.

  2. Erica Says:

    The BEST thing about registering at Bed Bath and Beyond is that you can return things for CASH!! We over registered (and registered at 3 places, for out of towners), and then loaded up a cart and returned the extras and the money was credited to our bank accounts. They are the BEST, and helped us even a year later when we wanted to find something that was related to our registry. Glad you went with them!

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