Highlight of my holiday season! I'm gonna use reading this as a reward for finishing my paper!
I have a house and, like most houses, it’s an unfinished work. There are cracks in the paint. There are piles of old clothes and shoes exploding out of the laundry room, which doubles as a storage room because we don’t have a storage room. The walls in our bedroom are bare because we haven’t had time to hang pictures on them since we moved in 10 years ago. We need a pantry, but don’t have one. We just cram cans of food and boxes of pasta into the front hall closet with the coats and shoes because there’s nowhere else to put them. We do not have a larder. I don’t know what a larder is but it sounds fucking great. It sounds like you keep LARD in it, and that suits me nicely. But for now, this loving house will do, in all its imperfections. I suspect most houses are like this. There’s always some goddamn project that needs to get done and never does.
But that is not the kind of home that exists in the Williams-Sonoma universe. The Williams-Sonoma universe is a magical pristine alternate dimension where every room has crown molding and your wife can fart out a perfect red velvet bundt cake in nine seconds flat from her Wolf oven and you are fucking RICH. Just so rich you don’t even know what to do with yourself, which is how you end up spending $48 on a tin of peppermint bark. You host fabulous parties with educated neighbors and you eat organic soup out of a tureen hand-crafted by a cedar farmer in Alaska who only makes four of these tureens a year. It’s a fabulous world, chock full of copper cookware dangling from stainless steel hooks and a framed picture of Ina Garten in every room, even the parlor!
It is a world designed to make the REAL world feel lifeless and dirty. A thousand years ago, you could have lived in a hut and been happy because you didn’t know that life could be any better. But in 21st century America, you are constantly being shown how much better life can be, and that is what makes your life so fucking intolerable.
Anyway, I have received this year’s copy of the Williams-Sonoma holiday catalog, and as usual it features a dazzling assortment of shit you can’t afford for a house you’ll never live in. And yes, there is a fucking chicken coop in here once again (List price: $859 with painted chicken). Let’s see what else is inside, shall we?
Item #54-3800760 Williams-Sonoma Snowflake Marshmallows
Williams-Sonoma says: “Fluffy marshmallows are hand cut and individually dusted.”
Price: $5.95. Set of four.
Notes: That’s six dollars—plus shipping—for four fucking marshmallows. A bag of 50 Jet Puft marshmallows is three bucks at the store. Oh, but these were hand-dusted, which makes all the difference. You can taste when your marshmallows have been dusted by some heartless dustbot. It’s a cloying taste, which I why I NEVER serve them at my parties, which are attended by many federal appellate court judges and newspaper barons.
Item #54-5710884 Three Months Of Pork
Williams-Sonoma says: “Includes 2-lb. extra thick bacon steak, 2 lbs. 4 oz. smoked Italian sausage links, and 2 lbs. Heritage Berkshire pork bulk breakfast sausage.”
Notes: The delivery of these meats are staggered over three months, so you don’t really get three months of pork. You get one day of bacon steak, and then one unbearable month waiting for your Italian sausage to arrive. Anyway, it’s the holidays, so treat yourself. If you watched 12 Years A Slave, you earned three months of pork. W-S also sells three month “supplies” of steak, cookies, croissants, cupcakes, and espresso. EVERYTHING I NEED FOR MY FALLOUT SHELTER, which is made of tastefully distressed white brick and has an alarm to keep hungry radioactive vagrants out. HANDS OFF MY PORK, OMEGA ZOMBIE.
Items #54-126250 and #54-527879 Butter Making Kit, Rooster Butter Stamp
Williams-Sonoma says: “Just add cream for fresh, flavorful butter in 20 minutes!... A bas-relief rooster image adds a flourish to fresh churned butter”
Price: $29.95 (kit), $9.95 (stamp)
Notes: Oh, just add cream! It couldn’t be any easier, except for the part where you spend TWENTY AGONIZING MINUTES churning and churning and churning away like Roger Clemens working his pitching arm down into a barrel of wet rice, just so your stupid dinner guests can have a fresh pat of butter with a fucking rooster crest on it. THE ROOSTER IS MY FAMILY CREST YOU KNOW. Our ancestors were famous for their delicious rooster butter, made from fresh rooster milk.
Item #54-1623164 Monogrammed Steak Brand
Williams-Sonoma says: “Put your initials on your grilled masterpieces.”
Notes: It’s bad enough that the poor cow takes a frat house iron to the ass before being led to slaughter, but now you gotta sign your steak, too? This is what I want to do, and tell me if I’m going overboard here: I want to brand a cow, kill that cow, cook a steak from its carcass, BRAND the steak, serve the steak at a party so that people know it’s mine even though they already saw me grilling it, and then I want to eat the steak, shit it out, BRAND my shit with some kind of forged iron shit brand, and mail that turd to the cow’s children. You will fear the initials DM, children. They will live in your night terrors.
Item #54-4051199 The Bread Project Assorted Muffins
Williams-Sonoma says: “The Bread Project is a San Francisco nonprofit that trains people with limited resources in the act of baking... Eight muffins.”
Notes: That’s 50 bucks for eight muffins. They’re not even monogrammed, which is horseshit. I’m all for helping the destitute, but I could house these poor souls and enroll them at Harvard for less than the price of one of your banana millet muffins. Why did you put millet in my muffin? I don’t want to eat a duck pond.
Item #54-5062088 Breville Smart Waffle Maker
Williams-Sonoma says: “With 12 browning setting and an ‘A Bit More’ button that let you add on time until waffles are cooked to perfection.”
Price: $199.95 (two-square), $249.95 (four-square)
Notes: Why do I need the “A Bit More” setting when it already has twelve browning levels? Why don’t I just go to the next browning level? OH BUT THIS WAFFLE MAKER GOES TO ELEVEN, YOU SEE. I also own a $300 alarm clock that has a “Just A Soupcon Extra Of Shuteye Darling!” button instead of the standard, guttural SNOOZE button. Please note that W-S suggests you top your waffles with “cranberry-apple compote”. You people with your fucking compotes. If it were up to you, everything would be a compote.
Item #54-5873732 Gingerbread Estate
Williams-Sonoma says: “(not shown)“
Notes: What the fuck? I can’t see the estate? The house itself is 57 bucks. How much larger is the estate? Is it so large that it can’t fit within any standard camera lens? Does it have a fucking golf course? I want a gingerbread estate with a chocolate moat and armed taffy guards and maple butter gates, and if someone tries to break in, my peppermint security alarm alerts an elite group of butter toffee SEAL members to come shoot hot caramel right in your fucking EYE. I doubt the wisdom of investing heavily in a gingerbread estate. The gingerbread estate market is a bubble that is bound to burst and send shards of stale icing all over us.
Item #54-1718857 Miele Rotary Iron
Williams-Sonoma says: “Sit comfortably at this machine to press and fold large linens in as little as four minutes.”
Notes: Every year, the Williams-Sonoma catalog features gifts that are clearly meant for your help. “Thomas Barrow, my dear footman! Look at what I’ve got you! Now you can iron my bedsheets in nearly half the time! SURELY YOU MUST BE PLEASED.” This thing is the size of a Buick. A regular iron costs thirty bucks. If you have the means to buy a giant robot ironing device, you should save your money and give the difference to ME, because I’ll spend that money on more important things. I will fill a pool with snowflake marshmallows and jump into it while stark naked. Two thousand bucks. For an iron. Jesus Christ. Add it to my kid’s Christmas list.
Item #54-1758697 Backyard Beehive & Starter Kit
Williams-Sonoma says: “Three-box beehive along with protective clothing and tools.”
Notes: So I can get live bees delivered by mail? Can I send them to Ethan Hawke? Merry Christmas, Hawke BOOM FUCKING BEES IN YOUR FACE BITCH. There’s also a mobile chicken coop here for $1,500, in case you want to take your chickens for a walk around the block or something. Like everything else here, it’s worth the money because your neighbors don’t have it. THREE MONTHS OF PORK FOR ME, AMERICA.
Drew Magary writes for Deadspin. He’s also a correspondent for GQ. Follow him on Twitter @drewmagary and email him at firstname.lastname@example.org. You can also order Drew’s new book, Someone Could Get Hurt, through his homepage.
Art by Jim Cooke