The Flatware Dilemma

So I moved into my own place, finally. This isn’t a college dorm or a shared condo or a rented room; it’s my own place. There is a lease and my name is on it. I have my own address. To that end I’ve been trying to furnish it somewhat permanently. I’m over temporary living quarters.

Choosing and moving furniture went okay, mainly because I already have more than I need. It was more a decision process of what to leave/donate than what to bring. Dishes were all new since my old ones were purchased solely with temporary in mind and had broken and weren’t nice. I paid $9.99 for the whole set in college clearance aisle with the intention of using them for four years and throwing them out. I wrapped the whole stack in trash bags and took pleasure in dropping them in the dumpster while moving out.

After moving here I researched dinnerware and the various materials that go into them and decided on a feldspar porcelain due to its chip-resistance, thin stacking, and ease of cleaning. IKEA had a model that fit the bill so I went with it over similar tempered glass Corelle from Amazon. Glasses were subjected to a similar process; I knew I wanted clear glass, durable and elegant at the same time. I placed several items on my wish list at Amazon, but found similar items at IKEA that I bought instead. Very happy with these purchases.

Flatware has not been easy, though. For college I spent a fair amount of money on good spoons and forks and never regretted it. I got some that were super sturdy, bright shiny without an obnoxious pattern, and were slightly oversized for eating manly portions fast. As bachelorware, they also need to be sturdy for alternative uses such as hacking through failed baking experiments, scooping ice cream, or opening boxes from UPS. I may not feed a family of twelve but I need good flatware. I found my trusty college set at Target, so back to Target I went one weekend on a combined IKEA / Target trip*, hoping to score an addition to the set so I can have enough dishes for a full dishwasher load.

*Here’s what a combined IKEA / Target trip in northern Virginia involves. The IKEA complex is around 20 miles away. Early Saturday or Sunday morning the travel time by car is around 30 minutes. Not too bad. During the week, or later in the day on weekends, the trip can easily take two to three hours, or longer. So, if an idea to go to IKEA / Target hits, say on Monday, I have to wait almost a whole week and get up early on a Saturday to have a chance of getting there and back without spending all day doing it.

Ok, so I finally made it to Target, an exercise in delayed gratification for me. Alas, they had the same model but it had been redesigned into small, flimsy pieces of dull metal—not at all like the still-shiny set I had at home in the drawer. IKEA only had their pathetic bent steel pieces (apparently they think flatware should be flat.) Even IKEA’s best offering just didn’t look like it would be agreeable to anything more adventuresome than stirring milk. These developments were heavily disappointing.

Back at home I went online and looked on Target’s website. No luck. I finally found an Amazon listing for the old style! and hurriedly purchased it. I was happy happy! and maybe a bit smug. Today it arrived and I tore open the box (with scissors—another essential item of bachelorware) and was dismayed to see that they “upgraded” me to the new style instead. The thin flimsy dull stamped steel stuff. I bent one with two fingers then bent it back just as easily. I put them back in the box, printed a return label, and walked them to the UPS store.

I’ve been reading reviews and learning all kinds of fun stuff about stainless steel and the metal that goes into flatware. At this point it looks like I might have to replace the whole lot with a different style as nobody, not even eBay, seems to have the style I want. I also walked over to the Bed, Bath and Beyond store to finger their wares and get a list of keywords to go on. I’m not sure where to go now or what to do. Moving is such hard work.

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