A new vintage housewares store has popped up in South Park Slope, and instead of featuring quirky, cross-dressing mannequins or boxes of old records in the window, it features nothing more than photos of the available items and QR codes. (you know, those things that no one in America uses?)
Robert Henry Vintage is a store that you can't actually step foot in to peep potential purchases. "We call it the ultimate in window shopping,'" co-owner Robert Walden recently told DNAinfo.com. "You can come by and look at the stuff and buy stuff without having to interact with anybody."
To make purchases, one must browse photos of antique houseware items in the window -- things like dishes, cocktail shakers, bar sets and table linens -- and snap the respective QR codes with a smart phone, which then immediately takes the buyer to a secure website for purchasing said items. Why the unconventional method of shopping, you might ask? Walden explains, "One of the main reasons to do it was we didn't have to staff it. We wanted a way to have the space without having to be there."
I'm on board with this like...30%. Don't get me wrong, I f*cking hate it when sales people are on your back like a needy baby koala, but I don't want them to NOT EXIST. Sometimes you need another person to validate that yes, in fact it's a good idea to be purchasing a porcelain tea set for 12 (that George Washington might have owned), even though you have to store your clothes every season because there's only room for "summer stuff" in your mini closet. And what if I have questions about the item I'm purchasing? Who's going to answer them for me?
Here's another thing that rubs me the wrong way: the owners wanted to open a store, but don't want to really be at the store? That's like saying you want to be an Olympic gymnast, yet do nothing more than purchase a holographic thong leotard from American Apparel, which you only wear while eating Cheetos and watching Law & Order: SVU in your bednest.
At the same time, I can see an upside to this place. Based on what I've seeen, it looks like the owners have pretty spot-on taste when it comes to antique housewares, as they've managed to turn merchandise pretty quickly. So if you're an anti-social shopper who loves smart phones and good vintage housewares, Robert Henry Vintage might be the best place to get your fix.
***Note: The one automated system that I am absolutely on board with...seamless.com. Never having to talk to a human to order hangover treats...THANK YOU. I could also get behind those machines in Japan that dispense pizza.