Friday, 15 March 2013

Window Shopping What-the...?

Cass has been enjoying running our new Window Shopping Wednesday pieces lately, but the way I see it, talking about just the cool stuff is throwing the universe out of balance a bit. This is misrepresenting my shopping experience; I spend so much of my time at many of these stores asking "WTF?" (Not literally Mom!)

Some stores inspire this more than others. The more eclectic and decor-focused the inventory, the more rich the "What-the Factor" (see what I did there?). So Superstore and even IKEA are not going to show up much in this space, whereas Pier 1 Imports is a veritable land flowing with milk and honey bee dining cushions.

So today, as my usual Friday Phil guest spot, we explore the other side of Window Shopping. In fact, we went to one of our favourite stores, Urban Barn, and found a wealth of weird.

I even have come up with my own, proprietary "WTFactor™" that measures weirdness on a scale of 1-10 using a unit I'll just refer to as "björks". (Should be self-explanatory, but if not: this. And this.) To get a sense of the scale we're working with:
  • 0 björks means an item is totally normal. A plain pencil or a white t-shirt would earn 0 björks.
  • An item with a WTFactor™ of 5 björks would be something that, if you displayed it in your home, would make your friends wonder if you've gone off your meds.
  • An item that earns a perfect score of 10/10 björks would be one that you could rope off your front door and charge admission to see, but only if Ripley's Believe It Or Not didn't sue you for idea-infringement.

All clear? Let's begin...

Disclaimer: In all cases, you can see larger versions of the photos by clicking on them. But don't blame me for the quality; I was working with an iPhone camera and trying not to attract too much attention as I was snapping away.

From the "Hyper-Specialized Tableware" department, these pizza plates are cool, except who has room in their cupboards for plates that you can only use if you're eating pizza? You could use them for all slice-shaped foods, including cakes and pies, but the plates are labelled "Pizza" and, seriously, what kind of commoner doesn't already have cake-specific and pie-specific plates?
WTFactor™: 2.9/10 björks

*Small warning: link contains a bad word, and might not be safe if there are little ones in earshot.
WTFactor™: 3.1/10 björks

"This food tastes like death! Could you pass the salt?
...Oh. Never mind."
WTFactor™: 4.4/10 björks

"I know it must be intentional. But it does look off doesn't it? But they must have meant it to look like that. But it does look a little off."
Two hours later...
"But what if it actually starts to break... How will I know if it's leaning more than usual? But they meant for it to be like this! Aghh! Take it back, Urban Barn, take it back!"
WTFactor™ of the lamp: 5.2/10 björks
WTFactor™ of my description: 10.0/10 björks (Take that, Mary-Lou Retton!)

Urban Barn focus group participant: "See, I'm going for this horse-themed room, but like, it's going to be classy, right? But I'm looking for lamps in all the stores and finding, like, nothing!"
Urban Barn executive: "Somebody solve this problem or heads will roll!"
WTFactor™: 5.9/10 björks

And yet, the movie industry does this, All. The. Time. And we're apparently totally okay with that.
WTFactor™: 6.2/10 björks

"For the farmer in your life who sleeps far too comfortably, get them this pillow to remind them just before they fall asleep: 'locusts.'"
WTFactor™: 7.3/10 björks

Apparently "Bling" culture-subscribers have grown out of their Juicy Couture sweats (or not) and Urban Barn now feels the need to court their business. But 1000 points to anyone who can point to a place where these pillows are legitimately used as decor.
WTFactor™: 7.8/10 björks

Cool, a black ceramic gorilla. That's kinda neat.
WTFactor™: 1.3/10 björks
I mean, why would you even post that...

Oh. It's actually an uncomfortably-bulbous black ceramic gorilla, who's mirror-finish has the tendency to blind passers-by using light reflected off its pronounced gluteus maximi.
WTFactor™: 7.9/10 björks, +1 björk just for how uncomfortable it made me to take this photo. Let's just say, I got looks.

I'm so confused. I mean, what are these for? How-? Wha-? Never mind, I'm just going to give it...
WTFactor™: 8.7/10 björks
...and keep moving.

We have a winner! not only are these amazingly weird, they are also seriously awesome. I mean, I don't know where you would display them--except for all over your house! I'm just happy to live in a world where these exist.
WTFactor™: 12.9/10 björks

...and just to prove I'm not just a peanut-gallery laugh track, here's something I thought was actually cool. I'm not sure it would find a place in our house, but it's got a neat mix of fun and style. Kudos, Urban Barn.
WTFactor™: 1.2/10 björks

That wraps it up! Anybody else come across anything truly weird at a decor store lately? Did you take a picture of it? Link to it in the comments, and we can all chime in with how many björks it truly deserves.

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