Williams Sonoma Thinks Parents Should Spend Thousands On 'Must-Have Kitchen Essentials' For College Dorm Rooms

A $1,300 mini-fridge? Linen napkins? A jar of cinnamon sticks?

selections from williams sonoma's unhinged must have essentials for college-dorms Marharyta Gangalo / Shutterstock; Williams Sonoma

It's almost that time of year when millions of parents will drop off their newly minted 18-year-olds at one of America's college campuses, ushering them into their first home-away-from-home of their lives.

Those of us who went to college likely remember the many shopping trips to buy bunk bed sheets, toiletry caddies, and microwaves for our dorm rooms. For most of us, it was cheap, serviceable junk that got the job done, because we were 18-year-old doofuses who were probably going to puke (or worse) all over it anyway.


Well, times have changed. And if iconic retailer Williams-Sonoma is to be believed, properly setting up your new college student for success requires transforming their dorm into some kind of luxury Airbnb — and thousands of dollars at the minimum.

Williams-Sonoma released its list of 'must have essentials' for college dorms, and the items on the list are pretty ridiculous.

Let us begin with the way Williams-Sonoma is advertising their new collection, as spied by YourTango's own Jill Williams Krause:

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"Create a kitchen students will love with our must-have essentials"? Let me stop you right there — how big are dorm rooms now? Am I just a wizened old crone who might as well sleep in a coffin and has no concept of how anything works anymore (yes), or is this a bit of a lofty goal for a space that is smaller than many maximum-security federal penitentiary cells? "Create a kitchen students will love?" Where?

That aside, please do yourself the favor or disservice, depending on your sensibilities, of taking a detailed look at these "must-have essentials" for — I cannot stress this enough — a college dorm room smaller than most walk-in closets.



A Smeg mini-fridge? Right off the bat, I'm ready to march down to Williams-Sonoma HQ and throw a brick through the front window because this mini-fridge is 1,300 pieces of American legal tender (dollars). You can't even rent an apartment for that in America anymore.


williams sonoma must-have essentials for college dormsPhoto: Williams-Sonoma

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And what will the average college co-ed keep in said $1,300 mini-fridge? Forty-seven cans of cheap beer, a box of Hot Pockets, and a Brita pitcher they'll use for bong water, most likely. (Who is living in this dorm, a student or Ina Garten?)


You know what my dorm mini-fridge was? A 1983 relic I purchased from the neighbor lady after her son got kicked out of Michigan State for passing out drunk in the hallway of the student union. 

It cost $10 and still works. And the reason I know is because my Dad now keeps his Coke Zero in it in the garage for when he's doing whatever it is Dads are always doing in the garage. It still has my Jimmy John's menu sticker from 1996 on it and everything.

williams sonoma must have essentials for dorm roomsPhoto: John Sundholm


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That's only scratching the surface of Williams-Sonoma's absurd 'must have essentials' for college dorms.

Listen, I apologize for screaming about the Smeg mini-fridge, but I should have saved my energy because perusing through Williams-Sonoma's college dorm suggestions is an exercise in descending into madness. 

A pre-seasoned Lodge cast-iron skillet ($39.90!)? For what? Throwing at your roommate when they're hooking up too loud in the next bunk?

A can of Williams-Sonoma Ultimate Roast Chicken Rub ($29.90!)? Because you know how college kids just love to pop home and roast a whole chicken after a long night of having the Popov vodka pumped from their stomachs at the local campus hospital?


This next one I can't even joke about because, reader, here's a question: What in the name of God and all his seraphim and cherubim are "all-purpose pantry towels" ($22.95!)?

williams sonoma must have essentials for college dormsPhoto: Williams-Sonoma

Is that what is commonly referred to as a dish towel, or is it a special tool made of the finest Burmese lotus flower silk used for cleaning, say, Kim Kardashian's infamous Stanley Kubrick-themed pantry?


And what relevance does this have to the topic at hand? Truly, I beseech you, are we talking about college dorms here or a kitchen from a Nancy Meyers film?

And with that I apologize, because I need to scream again: What are college students doing that necessitates a spatula for $44.95?!

Are today's co-eds bringing pancake griddles to their dorms? Is a crepe billig considered a dorm room staple now? What is happening that necessitates a spatula? And why is there also a slotted spoon? I'm 44 years of age and cook every meal I eat, and even I don't even own a slotted spoon.


(Though, I'm in luck because the one in Williams-Sonoma's dorm essentials ad is also only $45. So at least this trip through madness hasn't been a total waste.)

I wish I could say that this was the most unhinged part, but I regret to inform you that it not only gets so much worse from here, but that your budding collegiate will be doomed to live in utter squalor unless they have the following items:

  • bone China
  • fine table linens
  • a jar of cinnamon sticks
  • a loaf of freshly baked artisan sourdough in a glass canister with a stained-wood lid

I have never felt more insane in my entire life, and I'm a person who once had a psychotic break in a Midtown Manhattan Panera Bread. Honestly, at this point I think we need to cancel fall semester entirely until we figure out what's going on, because this has to be some kind of psyop.

You may have America's McMansion cul-de-sac moms fooled, Misters Williams and Sonoma, but I'm onto you! And hopefully, the rest of the parents sending their teens to college are, too.


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John Sundholm is a news and entertainment writer who covers pop culture, social justice and human interest topics.