In the middle of a snow squall trying hard to be a blizzard, I visited a shop full of imaginative designer housewares, looking for a serving tray we needed for a party the next day.
Sleek options lay on an impeccable table, a tableau of taste. The salesperson was crisply courteous, if uptight, about me touching some of the lacquer-like models with my fingers. (I ask you, who is not going to lift a tray she is thinking of buying?)
A young man and woman entered, drifting, murmuring to one another in admiring, respectful tones, the three of us the only shoppers in the store, and likely the only ones all afternoon.
While the associate assisted me, the young woman aimed her iPhone at a display and began snapping. Suddenly the associate became a stern scold: "THIS", she pronounced, "is PRIVATE space. You cannot take photographs. Stop that NOW."
The abashed browser apologized, but, I noticed, merely slipped the phone into her pocket.
I wondered what would have happened if the she had first asked permission, as I would if I had wished to contact Le Duc to ask which tray he preferred.
Young people, whose lives twine through three or four social media simultaneously, have little sense of such prohibitions. Can stores can hold their iPhone shots at bay? There must be a hundred change-room selfies taken by the minute.
Anyway, here is a similar tray, in bamboo with a sheer rubber finish (which I can't really feel) that makes it non-skid so that flat-bottomed glasses stay put; price, about $35.
The store carries the functional, serenely satisfying products of Normann-Copenhagen. Shown, the piquant wisk. That little ring smooths it down into a stick; price, $17, and available in a symphony of colours—an ideal hostess gift.
So you know how it is: pop in for a reasonable purchase, and get swept away by a more costly temptation. I did not buy, but I'm fighting hard:
This is N-C's Color Box, a modular stackable, folded-steel storage unit. Catnip to an organizer-freak like me, and to those who mean business about conquering those scattered files or National Geographics. It hangs it on a wall (using your own screws and plugs; this is not Ikea, lady), stacks on the floor, or sits on a shelf. A lone Box looks mysteriously terrific sitting under a chair.
At $100 per, I cannot afford many, which is its own way of simplifying.
Who but stylists would fill a Box with perfectly coordinated blank books? I'd use inexpensive office-supply folders to hold documents, and stow magazines or books without obsessing about a spine's colour.