So, there I was at the Crate and Barrel Outlet, picking up a tin of Nellie’s Laundry Soda for my diapers, when I spotted them:
Three darling, bright red, Mario Batali personal sized cast iron dutch ovens. They were stuck on a shelf sort of ramshackle like, with all of the other “last hurrah”s . You know, the things that were once displayed in glory with piles of like items, that were picked over and bought. And seasons changed and displays switched and prices fell and now they sit, mismatched, inexpensive and lonely, retaining only a glimmer of former newness-to-the-store. I casually flipped one over, as if for complete inspection and not to show that the true determining factor of the purchase would be the price. $1.95. “WHAT? That’s like, less than a package of plain white paper napkins!!” My thoughts immediately shifted to “Yes! I’ve always wanted a set of personal dutch ovens!” And I began sorting through the recipes in my head for which these little treasures would soon be used in my home: “Baked Ziti*, Boeuf, Market Street Chowder, Rosemary Corn Bread*…” Then, for some unknown reason, I hesitated. “Three?” I thought, “Three is such an unfortunate number for service. Two or four would be great, but three?” And then, the weight of Milo in one arm, my oversized (yet darling) diaper bag in the other, and the tin of Nellie’s tucked into an elbow all felt a little heavy. “I’ll just saunter over to the Marrimeko fabrics and grab a few scraps while I decide whether to buy two or all three.”
So, I set Milo down on the cutting counter along side my bag and the tin, and I began picking out some chunks of bright stripes from the barrel. I waded through oranges and metallic purples before I came to the decision that I would get all three. I turned with excitement of my finds and pleasure at my decision back towards the “Last Hurrah” just in time to see a girl walking away from the shelf WITH ALL THREE DUTCH OVENS IN HER BASKET!! ” Oh, no! Why did I hesitate? Three is a PERFECT number! It makes it that much easier to find one more, or give one away as a gift, or put one on display while still using two, or…”
I had to fight back my desire to calmly approach the girl and explain that I had, actually, decided to buy those three beauties, but, you see I had my hands so full, I had to set a few things down. And so, I had simply left them on the shelf as a sort of oh, personal layaway…you know? Ahem…so…? Instead I did what any rational woman shopper would do. I found something else, with similar price to the lost deal, that I would convince myself I absolutely LOVE, and will use FAR MORE OFTEN than the original find. I settled quickly upon this set of heart cutters. “Oh, how perfect! And hearts are chic all year round. And I recently saw the cutest little photo somewhere with some heart PB & J sandwiches. These were just meant for me. And only $4.95? Well, I’ll even save a dollar buying these!!” And I did.
And then it happened. That mystifying shopaholic mentality creeping in. Whispering “You have always wanted some personal dutch ovens. Maybe you should check other outlets. Maybe look online. Maybe on ebay. You were so close to buying them, you definitely need some. Other colors would be okay. Leesburg is close. Your kitchen just might feel incomplete without them.” I resisted the urge to search and call. Instead I shared the tale of woe with everyone I spoke with…and asked Dave if I should search and call or just not worry about them. He said to try to not worry. And I didn’t…for a while…and then I called. Just to make sure that the girl had actually bought ALL THREE. I mean, what if she had decided she didn’t want them, or if her credit card had not worked, or if there was an emergency and she had to leave right away without checking out. Or what if there were even a couple hiding somewhere in the back that an employee might be able to scout out for me. I had to call.
“Hello, I was in the store earlier today and I saw a few red Mario Batali personal dutch ovens in the Last Hurrah. Would you mind checking to see if there are any still there?”
“I know we have some white ones, but let me look for the red…”
“White? Are the white the same price?”
“The white are $19.95…let me look for those red ones for you.”
“Hi, it looks like we do have red ones. There are two.”
“Ah hah!” I thought, “She left two for me after all!”
“Great. Now, (I lose all price-shame here) the red ones are $1.95, right?”
I’m crushed and relived all at the same time
”They are all $19.95.”
“Okay, great. Thanks!”
I liked them, but I didn’t love love them. I mean, $19.95 is a good price and all, but I really don’t have a ton of extra space in my kitchen. I’m glad I got the heart cutters. I think they were a great choice. They are cute, and small. Will tuck right into the drawer with the cookie sheets. And I love a good heart-shaped PB & J.