The store Anthropologie is to Shopping Golightly as Tiffany’s is to Holly Golightly.
Like Truman Capote’s Holly, I cannot afford the vast majority of Anthropologie’s merchandise but it doesn’t stop me from wandering the Cherry Creek store in Denver to rid myself of –as Holly would say- “the mean reds” and suck in opulence. I was there the other day in search of my simple luxury, scented candles. I buy them on sale. My favorite truly smelled of fresh cut grass, which is great to burn in the winter when that smell is six months off in the waiting. I find a lot of comfort in the faint glow of a candle battling the darkness, a comfort much in need with today’s troubled times.
As I was making convoluted trek to the sale section at the back of the store, a sales associate asked that rhetorical retail question, “Are you finding everything okay?” My polite, programmed response was, “Yes, thank you.” This usually throws them off my trail. That sounds rude, but when I have a question, I’ll seek out an associate. Besides, they often interrupt my thoughts when they ask that rhetorical retail question.
At that very moment, a new voice shouted in my head with Seinfeld's Elaine Benes urgency, “No, I’m not okay. Your prices! Well! They’re hurting me!” And they were. Here I stood in this beautiful store wearing one of its brand sweaters purchased for $5 at Goodwill while all the sweaters around me were well over $200. One on sale was $148! That is not okay! I kept the voice to my head and moved on hoping that the rest of the store didn’t hear it because it was painfully loud.
Why was I doing this to myself? Hurting my head with these prices? Because a little luxury from time to time helps.
In the movie Breakfast at Tiffany’s, Holly Golightly and Paul Varjak forwent the purchase of the sterling sliver telephone dialer and felt satisfaction in leaving their Cracker Jack ring to be engraved by the experts at Tiffany’s. I felt satisfaction in forgoing the purchase of a $148 sweater and leaving Anthropologie with an Aunt Sadie’s Red Delicious Apple Premium Scented Candle wrapped in beautiful tissue paper. I will reuse that tissue as wrapping paper.
However frugal or resourceful we may be, we all receive added joy from a simple luxury from time to time. I think this is healthy as long as we keep it “simple” and “from time to time.” Anything thing else might be obscene.It’s like the difference of savoring one specially picked Godiva truffle versus a 20lb box.
The gentleman at the Tiffany’s counter in the movie offered a genuine word regarding prizes in Cracker Jack boxes. He said, “Gives one the feeling of solidarity, continuity with the past, that sort of thing.” I think he could have just as much been referring to thrift stores. It’s not just the savings, it’s the solidarity.
What is your simple luxury?