Sunday, May 6, 2012

Passport Shopping

Last week, I got a text on my phone that asked if I was interested in taking a day trip into Malaysia to go dish shopping.  Dish shopping?  Absolutely!  When I asked what kind of dishes we were talking about (not that it mattered), she said that she had heard that there was a Spode factory that sold seconds. Sign me up!

Thursday was the big day.  Four of us loaded up, passports and lunch in hand, and set off on our shopping adventure.  We were cautioned that there was nowhere to stop between here and the factory; in fact, we were warned that we may not even find the dish place at all. No one seemed concerned.  It was an adventure, and we were ready. 

We arrived to find what had been promised - stacks and stacks and stacks of very dirty dishes sitting outside under a tin roof.  Dusty, yucky, and wonderful. 

At first glance, I didn't see anything I needed.  If you know me, then you're likely thinking that I knew I didn't need anything before I got in the car that morning.  True, but you also likely know that I can't pass up a bargain.  And, oh, the bargains to be had here! 

When I first heard the word "Spode", I immediately thought of the Woodland pattern of dishes that I have admired often over the past decade or more.  I found a small stack of them, but nowhere near enough to make even one place setting. There were lots of the Hunting Dog pattern salad plates, but not the traditional Woodland animals. 

 When an employee saw us rummaging through the small stack of Woodland, he told us to come back in two weeks, indicating that there would be many pieces of that pattern coming soon.  Hmmm.  Perhaps another road trip is in the future?  We shall see...

There were stacks and stacks and stacks of dishes of all descriptions.  Not all was Spode, but they had lots of a few well known Spode patterns.

There were also piles of random junk.

There were also bathroom fixtures for sale; evidently, china is china is china whether it's a toilet or a teapot.  I guess I've known that; I've seen sinks in France made by Villeroy and Boch and sinks here made by Royal Doulton. 

After we had been there for a while, I said aloud, to no one in particular, "If we stay here much longer, I'm going to have to buy Christmas Dishes".   No one was making a move toward the register, so I took it as a sign to start stacking dishes. 

The ultra Traditional Spode Christmas Tree pattern is the quentessential Christmas pattern for china.  If I were in a room with all the Christmas dishes I've ever seen, this is not the one I would pick.  But the longer I looked at it, the more it grew on me.  First, I thought I'd only buy a few pieces; we'll likely be in Singapore this Christmas (consider yourselves warned, Family), and I thought it would be fun to have.  Then, I began to do the math.  I came home with more than a few pieces. 

Forty Two to be exact.  Those 42 pieces cost approximately $75. 

One of the cute little bowls I bought had a US price sticker on it.  Did I get a good deal (It says MSRP $28!)?   Dinner plates were $2.25 each.  Other pieces were as little as $1.20.

Everyone bought something, and we filled the back of our car:

When I unpacked them at home, this is what I found padding the pieces:

Someone's homework!  There were math problems I couldn't solve (what do those Chinese characters mean?) and sentences I couldn't read, but it was obviously homework.  Recycling in action for sure.
I chose my pieces strategically so they would stack nicely and not take up too much precious space. We have so little to spare, and I've got to save a little room for those Woodland dishes, right?

Here they are all washed and ready to be put away. 

I don't know if there will be another dish shopping roadtrip, but I'll be ready if there is. 

Tomorrow, I'm leaving on a shopping trip to Bangkok.  If it's as good as advertised, there will be three days of pure shopping nirvana.  Can't wait!

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