I was at Target the other day, and though I didn’t get anything, I noticed two interesting things.
The first was the new Dirt Devil Kone Cordless Hand Vac (which comes in other colors, by the way). Very stylish, but I have no use or space for it. Also, how good is it? Handvacs always seem underpowered. The timing means that Target thinks it’s a nice stocking stuffer, no doubt. And the look is quintessential Target (that’s pronounced, “tar-JEY”).
[Item #2 after the jump]
The other thing I found impressive was a half row devoted to Riedel glassware. Joseph told me that he has a set of expensive wine glasses from Austria and the first name that popped into my head is Riedel. This is the company that popularized having a glass for every sort of situation: Like you need a Red Burgundy glass, a Pinot Noir glass, and a House Red wine glass. (Red Burgundy is French Pinot Noir.) In California, if you’re drinking from someone’s nice crystal, chances are that it’s a Riedel.
My camera is a Nikon, my computer a Mac, my blender a Kenwood, my chair a Humanscale. Obviously, I don’t own Riedel.
The actual reason is that Riedel uses lead in their glasses. A lot of it: around 24% lead crystal. Playing with figurines in my Dungeons and Dragons days and living in California apartments with lead paint. I’ve had enough of lead, thank you very much.
So I avoided it and bought a more pedestrian set of machine-blown lead-free glassware from Stölzle-Oberglass.
(By the way, have you ever thought what is the deal with adding lead to make fine crystal? The answer is simple physics: a higher index of refraction.)
Riedel makes three lines of glassware: Ouverture is for the budget-minded; Vinum is the next step up and probably the most popular you can buy it as the highest end stuff at BevMo! Sur La Table, etc., and the flagship Sommeliers series. Only the last is hand blown which, in addition to making it slightly thinner, pushes it past $100 for a set of 4. When you buy into Riedel’s “glass for every wine” marketing machine, you’re looking at some hefty out-of-pocket dollars.
Now where it got interesting is that the ones at Target are none of the above, they’re a line called Vivant. According to the bottom of the box, they were made by Riedel especially for Target. A couple other observations: They’re under $10 a glass; they toned down the line to one red wine glass, one white wine glass, one champagne flute, etc.; and this glassware is entirely lead-free.
I wish I knew about these earlier.