Design on TV: A 30 Rock-Inspired Love/Hate Letter to The Container Store


There’s not much Liz Lemon can do to make us love her more. At this point she could light a basket of puppies on fire and we’d not only forgive her, but thank her for ridding the world of the offending pooches. “You’re right Fey, those puppies were evil and deserved to die! Let’s go eat a sandwich and laugh about it!”

But last night’s episode opened with a mini monologue that touched a special part of our tiny souls. Here her unabridged text:

“I went to the new flagship Compartment Store on 5th Avenue and I’m going to get my life in order. There’s a stacking thing to separate your junk mail from your humidifier catalogs, a thing you stick on your laptop that hold your keys, a round plastic deal that holds your shoes with a pocket for a photograph of what shoes are in there. I’m going to become wonderful. It’s a new beginning, like a phoenix rising…”

Ah, The Container Store. Or as we like to call it The Good Intentions Personified as Expensive Plastic Buckets Store. Don’t get us wrong. We’ve drank of their organizational Kool Aid many a time. An archival quality photobox here. A Lucite tray for inside of our bathroom cabinet there. We want to be good. We want to live a labeled lifestyle where we know we have ample spices and supplies to make a delicious Indian dinner, thanks to magnetic see-through spice tins and a lazy Susan home for our olive oil.

We’ve thought that the answers to all of our problems could be found in shiny, shiny plastic bins and woven baskets — acceptance, productivity and a more intelligent lifestyle, only a $300 Elfa system away. If you do as they command you, you’ll never lose your tax records from last year or search for clean underwear again.

But like the Chris Brown to our Rihanna, The Container Store doesn’t always do us right.

The problem is he makes us work for it. We bought all these mesh bags, now what? We have to put our shoes in there and take pictures of them too? And then put them back where the picture is? And we’re paying you $50 for something we could have bought at Wal-Mart? Shut up with your pressuring Container Store. We know it’s going to be a mess and then you’ll never take us back.

The Container Store doesn’t deserve our scorn (unlike Chris Brown). They have a mortgage to pay, and they have to sell us bins and trays at exorbitant prices. They have to prey on our desire to buy a better future — it’s organizational religion folks. But the future lies with us. We can make our own phoenix, but we’ll need to clear the clutter ourselves. Those underwear drawer dividers aren’t going to divide themselves.

Liz Lemon, you may not have been able to finish the job (partially because your bins were melted together at the end of the episode), but we will. New better life, here we come. We’ll be roughly $200 lighter in the pocketbook, but man will our closet be organized.