Filling My Role as a Paupered Chef

Wherein I spend an entire day to save $22

31st May 2006 Blake Royer

By Blake Royer I spent 4 hours on Saturday standing... Le_creuset I spent 4 hours on Saturday standing in a sweaty line for cheap cookware.  Broadway Panhandler, a kitchen supply store that generally has a massive selection and discounted prices, was having a moving sale .  75% off!  Free Food!  Live Music!  All of these things made me happy.  I dragged myself out of bed and left the house for the 11AM sale, armed with a scrap of paper jotted with competing Froogle and prices for All-Clad and Le Creuset pots and pans. I rolled onto Broome st. a few minutes after 11, ready to stroll in and out with my saucier and cast-iron dutch oven.  Then I saw this horrible line snaking around the corner.  Then my heart sank when I noticed it was moving very slowly.  Then I listened carefully for Live Music!, and heard none.  Then my stomach rumbled and I asked about Free Food!, and received shrugs in return. I simply had no idea there were this many people who cared about kitchenware. However, turns out they’re pretty interesting people.  I stood in line next to two twenty year veterans of New York, who can be some of the most interesting, if not exasperating, people to talk with.  They talk more than listen, love to give you advice about what to buy and not to buy, and generally get neurotic if you try to talk too much at them.  I generally avoid asking what they pay for rent, and enjoy the character-study aspect of it all. Halfway through the wait we reached the fenced in tent where the apparent 75% off! was taking place.  An hour later we were given flimsy blue baskets and set free to roam the makeshift racks of kitchen thermometers, colanders, muffin trays, cheese graters, etc.  I made for the Le Creuset pile immediatly, and found that my intended purchase, a 5-qt. oval oven in blue, was about 100 bucks off the retail, at $147. That’s 35 bucks off the price.  Into my flimsy basket went the 20 pound prize. I spent another thirty minutes manuevering the tiny aisles chock full of people with a cast-iron montrosity swinging at my side and managed to grab a few other small things.  The All-Clad, unfortunately, wasn’t any cheaper than online, and in many cases it was more expensive.  Oh well, I told myself.  I’m happy with this excellent find, and I like this color of blue.  Where do I pay? A line of people in front of a loading dock indicated that we had to drop off our things, get a slip of paper, then head into the store to finish.  Fair enough.  I rounded the corner, smiling (okay, smirking) at the people still in line, and started to bound up the steps into the store. “Um, sir, hold on a second.” I whirled around.  “What?” “You need to wait out here because the line in the store is too long.  Please wait here for a minute.” “What line?” “The line to pay, sir.” “There’s a line to pay?” He paused. Then laughed. I didn’t. Man, were people pissed inside the store.  But we’d invested so much damn time by that point, nobody had the nerve to walk out.  And where was the free food?  I never ate breakfast.  Apparently there were some dry muffins that were available for about ten minutes, and they were vaguely remembered as “um, not very good.”  Dear Broadway Panhandler: Don’t feed bad muffins to hot pissed-off people who are buying cookware.  Not ever. One hour later, I finally paid.  With tax the oven was $158, which, subtracted from a possible $180-tax-free-with-complimentary-shipping on, putting my total saved at... $22. This was one of the more humiliating things I’ve done to save twenty bucks in my entire life. The saleswoman told me I can cook anything in it.  Tomorrow, a meal with my new 158 dollar friend.


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