Waterbeds ‘N’ Stuff
Never before or since has such a wacky retail establishment boasted a more commonplace name. People from out of town laugh when you approach one, suggesting a quick pit stop, although of course they will soon get it, they will understand everything.
To begin, for campus porno purchases, only Waterbeds N’ Stuff suffices. But of course, this only scratches the surface on their offerings. Yes there are indeed waterbeds, although the ‘n’ stuff part of the equation arguably matters more. I don’t remember how we first heard about the place, but then again the catchy commercial jingle was all over the radio then, and High Street as a whole was some kind of Machu Picchu for those of us living out of town. My girlfriend Heather and I would make the hour drive down from Lexington or Mt. Gilead or something back then just to shop this place.
This would have been the original campus location, mostly. If you look at the picture below, also posted on my catch-all High Street page, you’ll see a giant open space to the left of Maxwell’s:
Yeah, that would be where you would have found the OSU campus iteration of Waterbeds N’ Stuff, up until a fire consumed it in I believe late ’95. Taking with it, I should mention, the treasured indigenous pizza joint Papa Joe’s.
Located further up High, about a block north of Lane, this newer Waterbeds location doesn’t have quite the same charisma nor the space, but offers a much more focused version of its standard notorious wares. A world glass selection of bongs and pipes and designer lighters underneath its countertop glass, the walls are adorned with black light posters and psychedelic tee shirts, with racks and display cases of trinkets both delicate and bizarre in the middle of the sales floor. Past a beaded curtain in back are the sex toys and adult games and pornos, and finally, in one remote corner, a few futons and papasans and pillows to justify its name. The initial spot and I think the one on Sawmill – also visited a time or two – had a second floor full of actual waterbeds, but space constraints rule out that offering here.
I’m happy to see they remain a thriving enterprise, with 13 outposts (a couple are furniture only, even, thus proving I suppose that the name isn’t a total nudge-and-wink wisecrack), an Instagram account and a blog. They have semi-rebranded themselves as Beds N’ Stuff in recent times, probably because nobody really buys waterbeds anymore. Otherwise, though, it appears to be business as usual – although I haven’t heard the theme song in many a year, however, and am wondering now if it might be available anywhere online.
Back to the pornos, which we had to – gasp! – purchase in the years preceding mass internet proliferation, these were already cheap enough at ten dollars a pop in mid-90s dollars, bargains made further so with a buy-one-get one coupon printed on the back cover of The Other Paper each week. Their prominent location on such a major publication – printed every Thursday, as was Columbus Alive – didn’t even seem that strange at the time, though difficult to imagine now.