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Frank Swears Off Indefinitely, But Only For a Day or Two

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You know Frank—he's been writing about menswear, sales, television, new shops, the recession, Lisa Loeb, the Golden Girls and getting blasted for Racked for almost two years. Well, we think it's time you got to know him and his quirky-irreverent views on life and fashion even better with his column: Love, Frank. Taking the form of an open letter and always signed with love, Frank will rant about whatever style-related conundrum he encounters in a given week. So buckle your two-toned leather Moschino belts, folks, it's going to be ? Something.

Screenshot via Target

Dear Target,

Maybe you read about our new pad? The one with the kickin’ terrace?

(Probably not. Don’t care.)

Well, we went to you for affordable and relatively handsome patio furniture.

(Only after hating everything Crate & Barrel had except for some outlet or on-line only items which involved a full day excursion and a pricey Zipcar rental or a full day waiting by the intercom and an immense shipping fee; finding Manhattan’s Pier 1 closed for renovations; and discovering that Home Depot and Lowe’s stock nothing in the seemingly no-brainer range between hideous, toxic $12 plastic and $4000 outdoor living sets of polished cedar, oxidized eucalyptus and awning-striped, weather-treated twill.)

The Target in Brooklyn, for those of you who have never experienced it, is where hopes and dreams go to die. Imagine screaming teen mothers fighting in aisles and shelves that have never seen stock. Most of the front of store smells like a restroom and carts are consistently sticky. You might walk in with a simple, straight-forward checklist: A few new hand towels, blank CDs and a 12-pack of Diet Coke. You’d invariably find that the only towels left in stock are acid green and missing UPC codes so they won’t sell them to you; that the blank CDs are behind locked cabinet doors and no-one’s worked in the electronics department since people bought CDs and you can’t get your hands on them; and that they only have Pepsi because they have to cater area residents—who, let’s put it this way, aren’t Coke people.

That being said, we went with And we spotted this little set—four chairs, an easy-to-move table with fold-out leaves, made from actual wood! And, golly, it was half price! What luck.

There was one horrible review—it said that getting it delivered was a nightmare; that it arrived poorly packed, damaged and scuffed; that the stryofoam packing material was pulverized and impossible to clean up; that returning it was a hassle and that this Alissa from Virginia couldn’t handle the rigmarole of another return so she had her handyman neighbor glue and screw it back together.

But we all know an Alissa, don’t we? Serial complainers who comment and review everything; squeaky wheels who want everything their way yesterday or they should get it for free. Shrew-monsters who think they’re the only people in the world who ever got stuck cleaning up renegade packing peanuts.

Plus, she lives in Virginia! People have cars in Virginia! And places to park them!

Jeez, Alissa! Log-off, put your cat down, fasten those sensible shoes, grab the keys to your 2001 Mercury Cougar (cobalt blue or mauve, probably) and just drive the 6.2 miles to your local Target store and deal with it!

Well, color us wrong re: Alissa. We’re totally with her.

The set is a piece of shit. First, getting it delivered was a disaster—that’s probably UPS’s fault. When they finally dropped it off we found a formerly rectangular box the size of one of those new Fiat 500s, except it has been crushed and mangled into something that, at best, could be called trapezoidal. Like Alissa said, everything was in said, single box. As such, said single box weighed as much as said Fiat. We ended up opening the box in the vestibule—which created a styrofoam snow explosion—and carried each piece up individually (ten flights). Mind you, this was on the hottest day in New York since the ‘50s, so by the middle of the first trip we were drenched and studded in packing peanuts and looked like snowmen.

Upon getting everything upstairs we discovered three pieces that were split or broken and innumerable scuffs and scratches. Further inspection revealed that four large screws were missing as was the ratchet thingum required to screw in said screws.

(Cue screaming rage fit followed by emergency wine shooter.)

When all was said and done we had the following options: Bring the thing all the way downstairs and cab or Zipcar the crap to Brooklyn’s Target-from-Hell to return it (where we couldn’t get a replacement because it was an on-line “exclusive”). Box it and have Target come pick it up (note: We would still have to get it back downstairs and the box it came in was destroyed; though we were offered the opportunity to—again—cab or Zipcar to Brooklyn’s Target-from-Hell to pick up a new box that we’d then have to get back home, bring upstairs, pack up, get back downstairs and wait on). Or, break out the wood glue, buy a bunch a screws and suck it up.

We opted for the latter. But, don’t think a call wasn’t placed to Target’s customer service. We were going to raise hell! We were going to Alissa out on someone!

Then we were connected to Charming Target Lady who actually had one of those adorable dairy farmer, says-pop-instead-of-soda accents! She apologized and clucked and twinkled and refunded most of the (surprisingly ample) shipping charge and we felt all glowy and put the phone down and sat outside at our table and gazed at the Empire State Building and our about-to-bloom geraniums and all was fine.

That’s about it, just wanted to vent. Carry on.

· Love, Frank [Racked]