A Year In New York

A Daily Bite of the Big Apple

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Day 82: The Unbearable Annoyance of Being (Here)

September 18th · 3 Comments

Shortly after moving to New York I bought a lampshade on Lexington Avenue for $55. That seemed like a lot, but what did I know? Maybe lampshades just cost more in Manhattan, like parking spaces or toothbrushes.

Then I discovered an equally attractive lampshade at Bed Bath and Beyond for $10. Today I re-visited the Oriental Lampshade Company in hopes of exchanging my pricey mistake for a torchiere, the floor lamp admired by college students everywhere for its excellent dollar-to-lumen ratio. They cost about $12 at IKEA. Here the cheapest was $250.

I dropped the price tag and had a thought:  If New York is being usurped by chain stores, maybe $55 lampshades and $250 torchieres are a good place to start assigning blame.

Then the racket from the lampshade company’s new neighbor began.

Yogurt stores are popping up all over town these days with fruity names like Pinkberry and Red Mango. This fresh outpost was called Berrywild, the Art of Yogurt. It is undergoing heavy construction. It might be called Berrywild, the Art of Drilling Until the Walls Shake.

The lamp-store employees – a Middle Eastern manager, a Filipina saleswoman and a Puerto Rican to schlep things around – looked a little hollow-eyed. “Hello?” a customer hollered into her cell phone, badgering past me and my lampshade as she headed for serenity of the street. “Hello? Helloooooo?”

At the counter, I tried to put aside my annoyance with the prices and the noise for the benefit of the frazzled Filipina doing my return. I put on my friendly California hat. “I went to this yoga class in San Francisco one time with that kind of construction next door. The instructor yelled but I still couldn’t hear him,” I said indulgently.

This is not the friendly California hat.


“What?” she yelled.

“Never mind,” I snapped, and hustled out of the store as fast as I could.

Tags: Sights & Scenes · Why I Hate This Town

3 responses so far ↓

  • 1 Bev // Sep 21, 2008 at 7:30 pm

    Shed some light on this subject if you will…did you get your pricey dot com refund or not?

  • 2 Sarka // Sep 22, 2008 at 12:38 pm

    This is like having your laundry done in Sausalito. $57 for a smallish pile and a few shirts. I walked out gasping, but clutching my clean (and poorly folded) clothes.

  • 3 Ferris // Sep 24, 2008 at 10:03 am

    I did not get a refund, sorry to say. I got a store credit. Not too useful, since the lampshade was the cheapest thing in the store!

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