With four and a half months remaining until our upcoming nuptials, Denise and I are a little behind with the wedding planning. We only chose a place for the reception two weeks ago. We haven’t selected a photographer, booked blocks of rooms at local hotels, or ordered the cake. Save-the-Date cards are designed, but not yet in the (e-)mail. It was with all this in mind that, when we found ourselves with a free evening this past Thursday, we headed mallward to open our first wedding registry.
Our first surprise was that the store didn’t have someone whose job it was to get us started. Weddings are big business, so we’d assumed they’d have some smiling young thing on hand to show us the way. But alas, now that we’re living in the future, everything is done by kiosk.
Nevertheless, setting up the registry was a breeze, and soon we were ready to begin what we’d been told was the most fun part of the registry process: the wielding of the scanner gun. I envisioned us roaming the store until we’d spotted our quarry, there! in the linens, then spinning out from behind a stack of patio chairs and PEW PEW PEW! the dust ruffle would be ours.
We began by flipping through dozens of dinnerware options in a binder beside the registry kiosk. When we settled on our favorite design, I whipped the scanner out of its holster,1 and pulled the trigger.
Beep? Where was the pew pew pew!? I looked down at the readout on the scanner. It said: “This item has been discontinued.”
Discontinued? Then why was it still in the binder? I tried scanning the other color options, with the same result. Not sold on any of the other designs in the binder, we wandered around looking at our other dinnerware options. We didn’t see anything we loved, and decided we’d come back to them later. Next up on our list: a new coffee maker. I scanned the one Denise liked.
So far, we weren’t enjoying the registration process. Was everything discontinued? Had the store filed for bankruptcy since we’d entered ten minutes earlier? Or had we just chosen a faulty scanner? Denise selected a similar coffee maker, and I tried scanning that one. No beep this time; instead, the item became the first one listed on the scanner’s readout.
Okay, so it wasn’t a faulty scanner; we’d just been unlucky with our first two choices. We kept going, adding another couple items to the registry, and then we came to a couple sets of martini glasses. I scanned the set that wasn’t ugly.
Then I tried the ugly ones, and it worked just fine. Aha! Finally I understood. They’d only discontinued the things we really wanted. The other stuff was safe to put on our registry. I removed the ugly glasses from our list, and we managed to complete our circuit of the store finding only a few more discontinued items. When we returned to the registry kiosk, we went once more through the dinnerware binder and selected our second favorite design, then returned the scanner and headed for home.
Wanting to find a replacements for a few of the discontinued items, we went online to continue our shopping the moment we got home. We added a few things we hadn’t seen in the store, and then Denise spotted a different set of martini glasses in the wedding registry catalog we’d brought home. They looked almost as nice as the discontinued set we’d initially tried for, so I typed in the product number, and… up popped a page displaying the other, uglier set. Of course. We searched more, but the nice glasses were nowhere to be found.
At this point, somewhat disheartened, we decided to give up and come back to the registry another day. Before logging off, the last thing we did was review our overall list. The listing for our second favorite dinnerware had no accompanying image, and no information about whether or not it was in stock. Curious, I clicked on the link, and what did we get? A page that simply said, “We are sorry, but this product is not available at this time.” Wonderful, just wonderful.
Well, at least it wasn’t discontinued.
1 Also known as my jacket pocket.