Wednesday, January 26, 2011

Got Furniture?

Have you shopped for furniture recently? I have, and because it’s been many years since I last had the experience of looking for bedroom furniture, the experience has been eye-opening. I mean, not as in ‘eye, opening’ like a trip to the optometrist, but we can talk about that later… This is about a trip to the furniture store, --er, stores.

My current mission, long overdue, is to find a new set of bedroom furniture for my husband, the Center of the Universe (CoTU) and me. Ours has been in service for too many years to admit here in print (but it rhymes with ‘shorty’), and yet it doesn’t have enough character to qualify for antique status. I guess we could continue to use it till we’re carted off to the nursing home, but where’s the fun in that? We’re hoping for another twenty to thirty years before that happens, so at this writing we can still justify the upgrade. Let’s face it, if we wait much longer, there will really be no point. Tick, tock, tick, tock…

Let me first explain that while this decision will be made jointly, CoTU is firmly, unconditionally and immutably dedicated to the principle that I should do the research, the fact-finding and the narrowing down to the top three contenders in the BFD (Bedroom Furniture Derby), at which point he will deign to enter the process and cast his vote. He likes to say that we are equal partners, but I’m pretty sure that he holds the 51% vote, and mine is 49%.

So off I went to furniture store number one. I wandered in on a snowy Saturday morning and was immediately accosted greeted by a lovely young woman, tastefully dressed, who offered to help me. I stammered, my mouth went dry, and I squeaked out the word ‘bedroom’. Okay, it wasn’t that bad, but she gracefully directed me to the appropriate part of the store, which is to say, everywhere.

I quickly caught on to the concept: if bedroom furniture is interspersed with living rooms, dining rooms, game rooms, etc., every shopper is forced encouraged to cover every square inch of the store. You might talk yourself into buying something you weren’t even shopping for. Hey, I GET marketing.

I started around the perimeter of the store, and felt like Homer Simpson, muttering, “Ooh, pretty!” and “I like it, I like it!” to myself. I found several sets to my liking, and they were more or less in the price range CoTU and I had discussed. I was off to a good start.

I exchanged BFF necklaces phone numbers with the saleswoman, and she gave me a catalog of the store’s wares, website information, prices, sale prices, and a recipe for Huevos Rancheros. Kidding.

On to store number two. Only a few blocks from the first store, and all the furniture was in the same price range, but no one offered to help me. I swear, I was still in the exact same clothes, driving the same car, but these people had officially declared me persona non grata. In store number one, as I moseyed around, occasionally another employee would politely inquire as to whether I’d been helped. I refrained from telling them that nobody needed more help than I did, which I think is worthy of some note. But in store number two it was a different story…

Still, not one to hold a grudge (hah, yeah—right!) I perused the entire store and made a few notes of a couple of distinct possibilities. I even pulled my camera out of my purse and photographed the key pieces in question. I’m not about to cut off my nose to spite my face.

Upward and onward, let’s see store number three! A fine gentleman offered his help and gave me his card. A good start. Unfortunately their bedroom sets fell into three basic categories: No, Hell No, and Not Without a Court Order. Even the one or two that appealed to me on a design level, failed the aesthetic test when I got up close and personal. Bummer. Although, let’s face it, when you have fewer choices on your list, the actual decision is (at least in theory) easier to make.

Have we bought the furniture? Not yet, but at least there’s a list of five sets that are in the running. When I cull it to three, set up my Excel spreadsheet for CoTU, and establish a plan for relocating the decrepit set being replaced, we should be within 90 days of making a decision. Hey, as long as we beat the nursing home pick-up van, I figure we’re okay…


  1. Isn't it funny how when it comes to the actual decision making it's 51% to 49% in the man's favor, but when it comes to the leg work, it's 100% our responsibility. :) Good luck with your decision. I'm sure whatever you choose will be beautiful. And you never know, you might end up in an assisted living place instead of a nursing home and you can always take the furniture with you.

  2. There is a lot to be said for good customer service! Here's hoping you have many years to enjoy the set you finally choose!

  3. We had to re-buy everything when our house flooded last year. I was amazed how EXPENSIVE furniture is these days. We didn't even have all that much to buy and it cost us a fortune.

  4. Visiting from Sits and btw, everytime my hubby complains about our bed the only thing I hear is the sound of the cash register.

  5. Leah, it's been ages since I've had to do any furniture shopping, and it sounds like I may want to hold off as long as I can. Sheesh, sounds like furniture shopping is just about as fun as car shopping! I think your thoughtful and organized approach is a good idea, and am hoping that Store #1 ultimately gets your business. Store #2 sounds like they don't "need" your business. Lucky for them to be doing so well in this economy that they don't have to bother giving prospective customers the time of day! Well, I hope you find something you and the hubby both love, and at a good price too. I enjoyed sharing your adventures in furniture shopping -- written with your excellent wit and style as always!

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