HOME > Chowhound > Food Media & News >
What are you cooking today? Share your food adventure
TELL US

The Annual Hater's Guide to the Williams-Sonoma Catalog

sandiasingh Dec 12, 2013 07:18 AM

If you want to roll on the floor laughing, here is this year's version of the ridiculousness of the W-S catalog. Don't mind the "foul" language--this is too, too funny.

http://deadspin.com/the-2013-haters-g...

  1. m
    madeliner Dec 14, 2013 03:25 PM

    Thanks, that was great!

    1. j
      janmcbaker Dec 13, 2013 12:06 PM

      That was good. I'm another one who wonders how they stay in business. I go in to see what's on their clearance racks. I did score an end-of-summer DeLonghi compressor- style ice cream maker for $100. Other than that though I often leave empty-handed.

      1. ChefJune Dec 13, 2013 08:36 AM

        Thanks for posting that link. That is effin' funny.

        1. DonShirer Dec 12, 2013 06:10 PM

          I was browsing through their store this afternoon. Came out with an empty cart and shaking my head.

          1 Reply
          1. re: DonShirer
            j
            Jerseygirl111 Dec 16, 2013 09:31 PM

            Not even Peppermint Bark? Egads.

          2. Firegoat Dec 12, 2013 09:16 AM

            I might buy the butter churning thing for my sister for christmas. She's a snob and that would be the most exercise she'd get in years.

            1. jrvedivici Dec 12, 2013 08:22 AM

              That pretty much sums up my feelings towards WS. There is a retail location by me, and I do go there for a token gift or two each year, but I honestly have no idea how they stay open. Who shops there year round?

              25 Replies
              1. re: jrvedivici
                sandiasingh Dec 12, 2013 08:29 AM

                From observation when I stop in our local store once or twice a year, shoppers are mostly older white women who obviously do not know how to cook. They are there for because of the branding.

                There is an outlet store outside of Boston I used to go to. Now that was nice!

                1. re: jrvedivici
                  r
                  Roland Parker Dec 12, 2013 09:08 AM

                  It's the perfect place to buy wedding gifts.

                  Besides I can see the appeal of the store. It's pretty without being excessive, it offers good quality cookware and dinnerware, sometimes at fairly good deals (the glassware is reasonably priced for what you get). WS is, let's put it politely, tasteful if a bit twee at times.

                  I have laughed at the store and some of the things they stock but on the other hand I've never felt that I'm wasting my money with what I've bought at Williams Sonoma.

                  1. re: Roland Parker
                    sandiasingh Dec 12, 2013 09:19 AM

                    Totally agree, Roland. It has its place. For me it's so much about the nostalgia of when Chuck Williams first started out. I think it was the first mail order catalog I ever received. I still have one individual sized chicken soup bowl I ordered from them in the '70's. It used to have a large lid that looked like a chicken but that broke many years ago. I could only afford two at the time and now just have the bottom half of one. But it's still here.

                    It is great for gifts and the people in our store are very helpful and informative. I don't go there often, but I'm glad we have a store in our area.

                    1. re: sandiasingh
                      HillJ Dec 12, 2013 09:27 AM

                      I like WS for the food demos and parties they throw, those are a good time usually. I like Sur La Table and restaurant depots for shopping. But this blog hate is something that only a true WS hater would enjoy as intended. Oh the irony in blogdom!

                      1. re: HillJ
                        sandiasingh Dec 12, 2013 09:38 AM

                        Ah, those we love to hate. A friend is a catalog photo shoot producer and W-S is a client. When I oohed and ahhed over a two page spread of their mail order pastries, morning buns, etc. she said it is almost overwhelming in person. They go to amazing lengths to set it up and make it as mouthwatering as possible. And the crew gets the goodies in the end, of course!

                        1. re: sandiasingh
                          HillJ Dec 12, 2013 09:55 AM

                          So true!

                          I tend to pop into WS for the free peppermint cocoa with homemade marshmallows they set up for customers or when they're demo'ing hot cider with all sorts of spices...the year they had waffles coming out of the gadget was fun...you get the picture... :)

                          1. re: HillJ
                            Firegoat Dec 12, 2013 10:00 AM

                            I received a lovely copper pan from there as a gift. Loved it. (was stolen) Loved that someone thought of me to get it. It is an enjoyable store.

                            1. re: Firegoat
                              jrvedivici Dec 12, 2013 11:51 AM

                              Without getting too personal, I was just wondering was your home broken into/robbed? If not, how did someone steal a copper pan?

                              1. re: jrvedivici
                                sandiasingh Dec 12, 2013 01:23 PM

                                Actually, that is a curious state of affairs, jr.

                                1. re: jrvedivici
                                  Firegoat Dec 14, 2013 03:10 PM

                                  They were packed into boxes and in storage in a locked shed at my dad's farm. A couple of thieving kids broke in and stole about $5000 worth of items. They got a slap on the hand and a misdemeanor.

                                  1. re: Firegoat
                                    sandiasingh Dec 14, 2013 03:25 PM

                                    Oh man, that's a crying shame. I don't have much copper, but what I have I cherish.

                                    1. re: sandiasingh
                                      Firegoat Dec 14, 2013 03:29 PM

                                      I had a nice set. Mismatched, but collected over a period of 20 years or so. Lost a favorite gun, computer, and more stuff that I don't even know. It's been about two years ago. I got a call from the police a month ago that they found my old district attorney badge from oklahoma in a ditch. Guess that was stolen too, and tossed out on the side of the road.

                                      1. re: Firegoat
                                        HillJ Dec 14, 2013 06:30 PM

                                        Wow, that's really awful Firegoat. I didn't realize that's what you meant when you commented upthread.

                                    2. re: Firegoat
                                      jrvedivici Dec 15, 2013 07:56 PM

                                      Ohhhhh pretty extraordinary circumstances, I'm sorry about that. I was initially wondering what kind of friends you keep, a nice dinner party, next morning your favorite pan is missing, you Xanax bottle is empty and your cat is pregnant, was more what I was imagining. Sorry again.

                                      1. re: jrvedivici
                                        Firegoat Dec 17, 2013 07:01 AM

                                        I just checked my cat. Just in case. He seemed a little offended.

                            2. re: HillJ
                              r
                              Roland Parker Dec 12, 2013 10:53 PM

                              I went into Sur La Table for the first time last year when they finally opened a store in Baltimore. I was impressed. It's clearly a store for cooks.

                              1. re: Roland Parker
                                s
                                sedimental Dec 13, 2013 01:15 AM

                                I love Sur La Table. I shop at the original store (Seattle) and can't walk out of there without several items. I could spend hours in there.

                                1. re: sedimental
                                  LindaWhit Dec 13, 2013 10:57 AM

                                  I went into that original SLT way before the Chestnut Hill, MA store opened, and I was absolutely entranced. My friend knew it would take awhile, so she planned several hours for us to be there. :-)

                                  1. re: LindaWhit
                                    sandiasingh Dec 13, 2013 11:33 AM

                                    Linda, is the Chestnut Hill store still there?

                                    1. re: sandiasingh
                                      LindaWhit Dec 13, 2013 11:55 AM

                                      Last I knew, yes. There's now one closer to me in the Burlington Mall. But I don't enter any Mall between Thanksgiving and New Year's. :-)

                                      1. re: LindaWhit
                                        sandiasingh Dec 13, 2013 12:33 PM

                                        Fond memories of browsing thru the C. Hill store, but I thought most of the mall had closed in the last few years (Barney's, etc.) I still love the W-S outlet store at Wrentham.

                          2. re: Roland Parker
                            c oliver Dec 12, 2013 12:27 PM

                            If there's brand they carry that another retailer does also, the other one will almost always be less. If an individual has registries at both WS and Crate & Barrel, I'll almost opt for C&B.

                            1. re: Roland Parker
                              r
                              ratgirlagogo Dec 12, 2013 06:05 PM

                              I think everything I've ever bought in there was for a gift. I just bought some cake decorating stuff from them yesterday as a Christmas gift, in fact..

                              I find it most useful though, as a Cookware Museum where I can pick up and examine the exhibits.

                            2. re: jrvedivici
                              melpy Dec 12, 2013 10:03 AM

                              My parents.

                              1. re: jrvedivici
                                Shrinkrap Dec 12, 2013 02:31 PM

                                My almost twenty one old year old, not white, hoodie-wearing son LOVES Williams-Sonoma, and all the single use stuff in there. I sent him the link last year, because he was forever after me to get one of those ebelskiever things. We were at one two weeks ago and I think I had to convince him that gingerbread houses did not need kits and did not taste good.

                              2. NE_Wombat Dec 12, 2013 08:14 AM

                                For those wondering, you CAN get live bees shipped via the US mail (Priority and Overnight Express).

                                Now, about shipping them to Ethan Hawke,...

                                1. m
                                  mwhitmore Dec 12, 2013 08:03 AM

                                  Love the portable chicken coop, "in case you want to take your chickens for a walk around the block". Hadn't thought of that.

                                  7 Replies
                                  1. re: mwhitmore
                                    Firegoat Dec 12, 2013 09:15 AM

                                    Portable chicken coops, more commonly called chicken tractors, have been around for ages. They allow you to move the feeding ground around and spread fertilizer.

                                    1. re: Firegoat
                                      r
                                      ratgirlagogo Dec 13, 2013 09:09 AM

                                      I'm pretty sure all the livestock care stuff is only in the W-S catalog to increase the "homey" element and the "farm to table foodie" feel. That is, I can't imagine they sell many chicken coops or beehives but people who get the catalog like seeing them there.

                                      1. re: ratgirlagogo
                                        c oliver Dec 13, 2013 09:16 AM

                                        Because of the price, I'm sure they don't sell many but raising chickens in an urban environment has become pretty 'trendy' so I bet they sell a few.

                                        1. re: c oliver
                                          r
                                          ratgirlagogo Dec 13, 2013 09:28 AM

                                          Oh, I'm sure they do. In fact it might explain how some of the NYC hipsters (from the NY Daily News article a few months back) who were having such a miserable time trying to farm and raise livestock on their tiny little patches of barren toxic earth had managed to spend tens of thousands of dollars doing it. But yes, I just don't think WS could be moving very much of that stuff.

                                    2. re: mwhitmore
                                      w
                                      walker Dec 14, 2013 11:58 AM

                                      I know someone who lives in Berkeley and bought a few chickens. She has another home in Lake County (1.5 ? hrs away) and she takes her chickens there in cardboard cat carriers when she goes back and forth .. the chickens don't seem to mind.

                                      1. re: walker
                                        k
                                        Kontxesi Dec 16, 2013 04:03 AM

                                        Wha...? I've never heard of anyone doing that. If the chickens are cool with it, it's okay I suppose, but.... It just seems so labor-intensive.

                                        But obviously you can't just leave your chickens unattended. I guess that works better for her than finding someone to take care of them while she's gone.

                                        1. re: Kontxesi
                                          w
                                          walker Dec 16, 2013 09:10 AM

                                          I don't know the exact number, less than 10.

                                    3. c
                                      charlesbois Dec 12, 2013 07:52 AM

                                      Drew magary has some funny writing. Always look forward to this kind of article from him. Who even buys that Miele iron?

                                      6 Replies
                                      1. re: charlesbois
                                        sandiasingh Dec 12, 2013 07:58 AM

                                        Haha! I grew up using one at home when we used to iron bedsheets, and sometimes wish I had one for tablecloths, but that seems a bit excessive!

                                        1. re: sandiasingh
                                          Caroline1 Dec 12, 2013 10:47 PM

                                          We had one waaaaaaay back in the 1940s, possibly the "mangle" type the Miel ad talks about? The brand name on ours was "Maytag," as I recall. The thing ours did that the Miel ad doesn't mention specifically (though it does mention doing shirts) is that it had a "switch" that stopped the roller from rotating so it could be used like a steam press that dry cleaners use. I learned how to press my fathers white dress shirts with French cuffs so they were perfect! I was maybe 8?

                                          Show me one for ten bucks at a garage sale and I'll buy it in a heart beat! They are fantastic!

                                        2. re: charlesbois
                                          r
                                          Roland Parker Dec 12, 2013 09:03 AM

                                          I was intrigued by the Miele iron.

                                          I can see why some people would want to buy it. Never underestimate the appeal of crisp, freshly ironed bed linens and napkins.

                                          1. re: Roland Parker
                                            Firegoat Dec 12, 2013 09:14 AM

                                            If I found one for $10 at a yard sale I would totally buy it.

                                            1. re: Firegoat
                                              sandiasingh Dec 12, 2013 09:15 AM

                                              I think that is highly do-able.

                                          2. re: charlesbois
                                            ChefJune Dec 13, 2013 08:40 AM

                                            My mom had one of those. We called it an "ironer." After she went back to work when I was in 8th grade, no one ever used it again, but it sat in the kitchen for decades and was used to put the cooling racks for baked goods on... (i know, riiiight?)

                                          3. HillJ Dec 12, 2013 07:50 AM

                                            Last year's guide was posted on CH too. I had no idea such love-hate existed until I saw that guide.

                                            Gingerbread Estate, lol.....

                                            6 Replies
                                            1. re: HillJ
                                              c oliver Dec 12, 2013 08:25 AM

                                              I think the link is silly and not particularly entertaining. Don't we all know how insanely overpriced they are, especially for food products? Sorry. Yawn.

                                              1. re: c oliver
                                                HillJ Dec 12, 2013 09:28 AM

                                                It is silly. And I would imagine that lots of humor especially of this type is read and laughed over by lots of folks or the blog would dry up.

                                                1. re: c oliver
                                                  LindaWhit Dec 13, 2013 10:44 AM

                                                  The only time I buy anything there is when I have a gift card. Unfortunately, they no longer carry the mega-jar of Maille Dijon mustard. :-(

                                                  1. re: LindaWhit
                                                    mcf Dec 17, 2013 07:50 AM

                                                    I buy gifts there occasionally. That's pretty much it. I may have bought my Thanksgiving cloth napkins there, and I still love them, wherever they came from.

                                                  2. re: c oliver
                                                    pikawicca Dec 14, 2013 03:32 PM

                                                    Except the croissants -- the best this side of Paris.

                                                    1. re: pikawicca
                                                      HillJ Dec 14, 2013 06:29 PM

                                                      I remember when Oprah had those croissants on her favorite things show and the 'whole world' went and bought them. I tasted them at my SIL's soon after and found the ones they sell at Trader Joe's just as good if not better for considerably less dough.

                                                Show Hidden Posts