Friday, October 29, 2010

Registering Review Rewind

Registering over a three-day holiday weekend is a productive use of time... except when everyone else has the day off and is hiding from the 100 degree June heat. You can escape the heat, but not the crowds. We had a whole day with nothing planned and just two store registries to tackle.

(if you're into consumer behavior, the linked article is interesting)

1. Macy's: Basics with a little luxury
We didn't have an appointment. Correction, we didn't know we needed an appointment. We loitered at the registry desks, waiting for two couples to complete their initiation. The black lacquer walls, soft lighting, muzak and cubby-holed fine china tried really hard to demurely whisper, "You know you want this" but those marketing efforts were lost us on us. We were anxious to get scanning as we'd squirreled away a stack of dinnerware and serving pieces that were probably being restocked as we sat idly. Which reminds me, Macy's needs mock-entertaining spaces, like mini dining rooms, where you can lay out selections to see how they look together. At the very least, they need a table at the registry desks for this.

Now entrusted with a scan gun, we resume. A young couple, blissfully unaware of the complexities they could have faced, simply scans it without anything more than a cursory "Do you like this?" Mr. P look at each other and shrug. TWO hours soon disappear and our only warning was growling tummies. We wrapped it up before we started growling at each other!

* Intermission *
This time is used to stuff our faces with Cheesecake Factory appetizers and mojitos while reviewing the Macy's list. It looks boring: lots of neutral, uninspired items... which is a serious violation to this design girl. But, the pieces need to move seamlessly from house to house and season to season. I reframed my thinking: classic, not boring. Acceptable.
* End Intermission *

personal photo

2. Williams-Sonoma: High-quality gadgets, rare pieces and the all-important cookware
We love to cook so WS was a no-brainer. Shopping here was fun; maybe that was the mojito talking. We're in our element with gourmet choices left and right. No bad decisions here. The stainless cookware is around the corner! Our pre-registering research is about to pay off. It's the moment we've been practicing for. Just as Mr. P is about to scan, he second guesses our pick, mostly out of guilt over appearing greedy. After a quick pep talk, he's getting giddy over mesh grill pans and I happy-dance as he scans in my coveted marble rolling pin. We're done in half the time it took at Macy's.

(Cute uni-tasker, what would Alton say?)

And here's the part where you benefit from our mistakes:

1. Avoid scanning seasonal, clearance or smaller (non-store) brands. This is especially true if you're setting up the registry months in advance. Stuff gets discontinued. It's usually the stuff you fall in love with.
2. Check your registry once you get home. Half the stuff from our Macy's list was scheduled to be discontinued (??) so the cake stand (but not the cover), half the towels and the serving bowls will disappear, time TBD. It was then that we understood our newlywed friends' frustrations.
3. Schedule your visit during off-peak hours. You'll feel less rushed and jostled as well as getting more personalized attention. That is, unless you're a "scan gun and run" type.
4. Don't be so picky. If you have a traditional registry, the store may not stock specific models/brands. Not a bad thing unless you've got your heart set on a certain something, like a vacuum with a high Consumer Reports rating. In this case, you may want to consider an online retailer to pick up those odds 'n ends.
5. Get your buzz on. Ladies, I'm not going to lie: alcohol helps. Whether you have reluctant shopper or scan gun hog, it makes the experience less like a chore and more like fun (ie something other than shopping for those with XY chromosomes). I'm not advocating downing a bottle of wine, just enough to take the edge off. You can always edit the list later (see #2).

Reluctant shoppers, don't get left holding the bag.

What registry tips and tricks did you pick up?

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