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Dec 12, 2013 07:18 AM

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

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.

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  1. 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

      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

        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

          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

            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

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

            1. re: pikawicca

              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.

        2. 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

            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

              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

              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

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

              2. re: charlesbois

                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. 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

                  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

                    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

                      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

                        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

                    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

                      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

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

                  3. 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. 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

                        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

                          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

                            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

                              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

                                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

                                  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 get the picture... :)

                                  1. re: HillJ

                                    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

                                      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

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

                                        1. re: jrvedivici

                                          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

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

                                            1. re: sandiasingh

                                              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

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

                                            2. re: Firegoat

                                              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

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

                                    2. re: HillJ

                                      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

                                        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

                                          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

                                            Linda, is the Chestnut Hill store still there?

                                            1. re: sandiasingh

                                              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

                                                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

                                    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

                                      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.

                                      1. re: jrvedivici

                                        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.