Registering Continues to Suck


Last Sunday Collin and I attended a Crate & Barrel “registry event.” We dropped in the store (which is brand new to Pittsburgh) a few weeks ago to check out dish patterns and were immediately made as an engaged couple and invited to this event where the store opens early for registering couples so they can be given lots of attention to manage all their annoying questions like “is this carafe hand blown?” all while  mingling with other engaged couples over mimosas and pastries.

It was disappointing. First of all, growing up without religion has left me extremely ill-prepared to do anything outside the house before noon on Sundays. The event started at 9:00AM.  There was coffee, but it wasn’t enough.

Particularly because the mimosas did not exist. There was a  carafe (and I don’t know if it was hand-blown, but I’ll get to that in a minute) of freaking seltzer water with strawberries floating in it. And the pastries amounted to one stale apricot danish cut into thirty thumbtack-sized pieces.  Sorry to be an entitled bitch, but when I’m promised mimosas and pastries, I need more than fruit chunks in seltzer water and crumbs, especially at 9:00AM on a Sunday.

It got worse from there: the woman running the event pointedly handed the scanning gun to the dude in every couple, and a checklist to the woman. UGH.  BUH. BOO! I wonder what she would have done if there were a gay couple there? Given the gun to the more butch partner? I WISH I WERE JOKING.  This whole idea that men can only be made to tolerate wedding planning/domesticity when given toys, and women crave ever more wedding-related check boxes makes me feel pukish. And goddamnit, I want to use the scanner gun! That’s like 2% of the reason I got engaged in the first place!

The tour of the store was very spend-pressure-y (“be sure to register for furniture, just so your guests have an idea of your taste. And you never know, maybe a group of friends will go in on a $1,200 chaise.”1) and not nearly as informative as I wanted it to be (“The type of cookware you want depends on what kind of cook you are.” Full sentence. No follow-up. Not about what kinds of cook there are, and not about which cookware suits which.).

The lameness was not all Crate & Barrel’s fault, though. None of the couples talked to each other. I tried a few times to break the ice (“A multi-use avocado tool? What a space saver!”) but heard only crickets. Wedding blogs have spoiled me into thinking everyone else getting married around now will be awesome and friendly.

We’re also to blame. Collin and I were both grumpy and indecisive. Collin has bizarre issues about receiving gifts/attention that I blame on him having grown up with a twin sister, in particular one who is abundantly enthusiastic about everything she encounters. He got his painfully uncomfortable “present face” from the moment we started (or should I say HE started, grr) scanning. He wouldn’t make choices because he doesn’t like getting presents. I wouldn’t make choices because I don’t like making decisions. It was a very unpleasant stalemate.

And I couldn’t help but conflate Collin’s lack of enthusiasm about registering for a lack of enthusiasm for getting married, even though intellectually I knew that wasn’t fair. Plus, all jokes aside, I really do want that avocado spoon thingie. Registering isn’t all bad.

1Confidential to Liz: I only included that link because I know you already have a chaise. If you didn’t, I’d censor that for your own good. You know I love you.


  1. This is why we registered on amazon.com and made our registry in bed

    • We did too! But I really wanted to get C&B plates and it seemed to make sense to register for them in person.

      • That’s smart. We registered for fiesta plates without seeing them which definitely had the potential to backfire. Gluck with this whole process (wine+bed = happy registry making)!

  2. Yikes. We registered there too and I remember being sad that they didn’t offer this at our C&B. You should totally have called someone on the lack of mimosas.

    One thing I will give them is that they sent us a little coupon thing in the mail a few weeks ago for 10% off the remaining items on our registry, and there were 3 photographs of couples on the coupon – one couple was multi-ethnic and one was a gay couple.

    So, + 100 points to you, C&B for gay registry recognition. But – 500 points for misleading alcohol advertisement.

  3. Damn living in Australia where scanner guns for registries don’t yet exist. You have to actually, wait for it, write each (20+ number) barcode down on a piece of paper and then the sales person puts it in a computer. *pain*

    Also, on the mimosa note: I have been to 3 wedding dress shops that promised a glass of champagne. I have yet to receive one.

  4. I’ve noticed, and maybe this is just me, but other brides: not so nice! Any event we’ve been to, I have TRIED to be all, “Hi, when is your wedding?” only to receive grunts and nasty looks back. I would have been grumpy here too!!

  5. Wow, now I’m extra glad that we didn’t bother going to the Crate & Barrel registry event near us. I thought it sounded like fun, but I would have been really annoyed if we’d managed to drag ourselves there only to find no mimosas or pastries to speak of.

    Also,”And goddamnit, I want to use the scanner gun! That’s like 2% of the reason I got engaged in the first place!”–YES. I mean, there were lots of other better reasons too, but I’ve been waiting to wield that gun for years. (Helping my sister-in-law create her baby registry at Babies R Us helped a little though). But seriously, we had to take turns w/ the scanner so no one got too jealous. :)

  6. Yes, this is why we did not go to the C&B wedding event. In fact, we specifically went when we knew they would be busiest; the woman hurriedly shoved a gun and checklist in my hands before rushing off to help others, and no one much bothered us or tried to force us to register for service for 18 or anything like that.
    Now, our experience at Bed Bath and Beyond, OTH, was awful. I had to say, firmly, 5 different ways, that No we did NOT want an associate to guide us around the store and help us pick things out. They were pretty nasty about it. I was like “Look, we have a SPREADSHEET of the sizes, brands, colors of things we want and we’ve shopped at this store before. I think we can handle it.”

  7. Hell yes, amazon registry! (We don’t have nearly enough things registered for. It’s kind of ridiculous, but I’m hopeful that it means that people will just bring love!)

    • We’re under-registered too. I get really stressed about it sometimes, which is so lame. I don’t want people to think I’m pushing for checks! I do kind of want checks! I also REALLY don’t want to waste any more of my life thinking about registering! If only people just brought love as a rule.

  8. That sounds painful. When mimosas have been promised, mimosas should be served. This is just common sense.

    We did BB&B and I started it online. We had to tell the saleslady firmly that we could handle the scanner gun on our own, and she was impressed (appalled?) at our speedy run through the store, but not too pushy. I have also only encountered other nice and excited engaged people so far. I had no idea how lucky that was!

  9. Sounds just like my registering experience(s). Ugh. I ended up changing our registry away from two different stores because of our experience there.

    • In “One Perfect Day” she wrote a lot about how bridal registries are important to businesses because they suck you into that store’s brand for life. Given that, you’d think the stores would make their registry customer service exemplary.

  10. (I’m a thing thrower who also happens to be a friend of the BAB’s brother so weird ven diagram overlap here happening there)

    But, my finacee has been told the VERY VERY strict rules of how the only people who get to be asking for presents on registries are the people who do the planning. He wants to help, he wants input, then he does output because NO WAY am I planning this without assistance. THE END. We just started planning. Frankly the idea of planning reinforces desire to elope.

    One of my best friends wedding advice was elope with an orphan. Yes.

    • It’s a small Internet after all!

      I like your rule. I do wish my fiance did more planning, but, well, putting gifts on the registry is one part of wedding-prep that I really dislike, so at least he is doing that.

  11. Oh my god, everything in my house that isn’t that chaise is wrong.

  12. We did our whole registry for C&B online. I never have had the opportunity to attend one of their registering events, although I always wanted to. I’m glad you posted this because now I realize I’m not missing anything.

  13. Oh and I want to add that I love that chaise. The last time I was in Minneapolis we went to a C&B and I made Mr. Beagle take a picture of me on it. And yes, it is my facebook profile picture now.

  14. I’m pretty sure Sarah and Jason did this. I’m pretty sure they were similarly underwhelmed.

  15. You know what’s funny? I didn’t go to an event but had a similarily frustrating experience – mostly our fault. We went to the bay (canadian store) and registered. It took me a few days to even plan a TIME that we could both get to the store, and when we got there we sat down with a woman with a somewhat heavy accent, who spoke quite quickly so sometimes I lost the thread of the conversation. (She was very very nice though, but I was tired and cranky and hungry from work).

    We were similarily told not to forget to register for huge things like appliances and big screen tv’s because you never know…etc. I found that part ok to be told once, but she must have said it like 12 times and explained WHY we need to have big ticket items. I already know the guests coming and know this will not happen unless their personalities all change, so this was superfluous information to me! She did hand us a checklist, but more interestingly she handed a “areas of your house to consider” checklist with some examples of things you may need in your new home. I found this list very handy indeed but I really just wanted the gun. (Apparently my Beau found this talk very illuminating, which I was surprised by because I kept tuning out and gazing towards the nearest shiny objects).

    Then the really bad thing happened: We were let loose in the bay, and had NO IDEA what the heck we wanted/needed/used/liked. We basically just..well, we scanned a salad bowl. And I did know what dishes we wanted.
    Beyond that we must have spent like a good hour, mabye two, wandering around in a half-frustrated, half-scared trance, of not knowing what we are “supposed” to register for, or if people will think we are snobs if we register for carafe X instead of Carafe Y which is slightly cheaper.

    All in all it took us a good…3 or 4 trips to make some progress, and this included me doing research, and calling in the mother in law as backup as to how many towels one really needs, and more!

    I recently had to go back to the store to add a few more items, and that old familiar sensation of deer-caught-in-the-headlights came over me once more. Partly I blame the store because they organize by brand rather than product, but partly, I just wish everyone was psychic so they would just instantly show up with my favourite things in the whole wide world :)

  16. that is false advertising! no mimosas or food? I would’ve raised hell! also, almost all ‘bridal events’ I went to totally sucked. I don’t know if I was anticipating something different or if they were really just terrible.

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