Monday, July 19, 2010

The Great Sofa Caper

The new living room is a big rectangle with a fireplace on one end. The BF insists on dividing the room into two smaller "rooms" by creating a "tv nook" on one end. His intention is to do this by creating some sort of "L" shape with the sofas on the TV end. I have no idea what he envisions for the fireplace side of our living room.

After much standing around the empty living room shortly after we moved in, debating the sanity of such a notion and trying to explain to him how his "vision" violates both of my X chromosomes to the very core of my being-- and every woman's innate ability to decorate a living room-- we agreed that IF we got a sectional sofa, it wouldn't look hideous and I wouldn't be entirely embarrassed to invite people into my home.

The BF has also declared that he is a big boy now and is ready to buy a higher quality of furniture than he has traditionally been able to afford. Unfortunately, my BF is the epitome of "macho sexual." He has no little interest in furniture with even less experience or knowledge of furniture buying practices. So, in our quest to find the right sofa he has been absolutely unwilling to accept the simple fact that living room furniture typically costs a lot of money.

Consequently, the notion of spending $2,000+ on a sectional sofa that fits the space we want to put it in, made to order in the fabric our of choice was absolutely unacceptable. And every time we walk into a furniture store with a sign about financing options, the BF stoically scoffs at the very notion. He can't believe anyone actually finances furniture and he sure as hell isn't going to!

Never mind that you and I both know that most people finance their furniture. That's why every furniture store in the world offers "no interest or payments till 2015!" Furniture is incredibly expensive-- especially if you want a whole room (or house) at once and even more especially if the manufacturer's name means something to you.

But the BF is the BF and I like him fine the way he is, so I sort of roll my eyes just a little and snicker when he goes on these rants. For all I care, we could leave the lawn chairs in front of the TV forever.

Yes-- I realize that sounds totally contradictory to my statement about his "TV nook" violating my womanly decorating sensibilities-- but there' s a big difference between enjoying the whimsical "bachelor pad chic" lawn chairs in the living room, vs the "why do you have all your furniture shoved to one side of the room" chaos of shoving all the furniture to one side of the room.

A few weeks ago we saw a sectional sofa at Costco. From the moment I saw it, I knew it was what we were looking for. It even included an ottoman-- I really like ottomans, ottomen? Anyway, I like them.
It took a few weeks, but the BF finally came to the same conclusion I did about the Costco sectional. (It takes a lot longer before his light bulb goes on-- sometimes that's a good thing, sometimes not-so-much.) And so, this last weekend, we borrowed the "ranch truck" from his parents and made our way to Costco on Saturday afternoon during a heatwave; I think it was about 150 degrees Fahrenheit.

Alas. The Costco sectional was "on order." We had to hunt down a Costco employee to inquire as to just what that meant to us. The Saturday Costco Employee was pleasant and willing to be helpful. She went to check on the status of the order and returned to cheerfully tell us that more sectionals were in transit and would be in the store the following day.

So. We decided to come back the next day.

Sunday morning we agreed that the world was probably not lined up outside of Costco in the 175 degree heat to make a run on the newly arrived sofas. So we went ahead with our new Sunday morning routine: We took the dogs on a "donut walk" to our favorite local donut shop-- Tasty Donut in Mary's Vineyard-- only to find a note posted on their door that they were closed for the day due to a severe lack of air conditioning.
Did I mention it was 175 degrees by the time the sun came up? Who could blame them?

So we settled for some sodas and croissants from the neighboring grocery store and then headed back home.

By 11:30 in the morning we decided we'd better get on with it if we were going to buy the Costco sectional.
Only to arrive at Costco to find that we were wrong. The world HAD lined up that morning to make a run on the sofa shipment!

Once again, we had to hunt down a Costco employee to inquire about future shipments. However, our Sunday Costco Employee was not nearly as helpful or as pleasant as our Saturday Costco Employee. In fact, her attitude was the epitome of crappy customer service and left us both feeling less than desirous of spending $700 on a couch from Costco -- in fact, less than desirous of spending any money at Costco.
So we cut her blathering short to let her know that she didn't need to waste any more of her time with us, we were taking our business elsewhere. And we walked out.

Now, this presented a slight quandary as we sat in the truck in the parking lot while I rather impatiently quizzed the BF on just what the heck his plan was now?

With some more discussion we drove down the road and embarked on a sofa quest. We visited two furniture stores with not much luck in finding a sofa that we both agreed on, let alone a furniture store that had air conditioning.

A note to furniture stores everywhere: when people come into your store they are looking for furniture to put in their homes. They want to sit in your showroom and feel like they are at home. If sitting in your showroom makes them feel miserable-- they will not buy furniture from you. Just a thought.

So there we were, back in the truck in the miserable hot, sweatier and grumpier than ever, arguing about what to do next.

In the back of my mind I'm thinking, "Oh great. We're going to have to go back to Costco all humbled and apologetic and admit that we want their stupid sectional after all." But what I'm saying out loud is, "Look, all I'm saying is that I've had a lot of people telling me that they've been really happy with furniture they've found at Big Lots lately-- we should at least take a look."

The BF has heard similar stories of Big Lots success so he grumbled a little in the heat and turned the truck toward Big Lots.

At Big Lots we found several sofa options. Sat on them all. Found a sofa and love seat set that we both considered acceptable. So we took a walk through the store to discuss it.

It's not a sectional. But I was thinking a separate sofa and love seat would allow for more furniture re-arranging options in the future. So, with the utmost confidence that the BF would get home and admit that his "TV nook" furniture placement was less than ideal with a sofa and love seat-- I agreed that this set met all my requirements of living room furniture.

It also cost less than the infamous Costco sectional.

The BF was still on the fence about it. He was leaning toward the Big Lots sofa set, but mentioned that if the price of the two pieces combined was just a little less, it'd be a no-brainer for him.

About this time, the store manager made an announcement over the intercom-- we really only half listened, but we definitely caught the part where that day was "friends and family" appreciation day and members received 20% off their entire purchase that day. So we looked at each other-- the light going on at the same time this time-- and proceeded to the front of the store to look into this "friends and family" thing further.

The lady we spoke with at the front of the store answered our questions with all the bubbly enthusiasm of Flo the Progressive Insurance Lady-- she was just great. The total antithesis of the Sunday Costco Employee. She also assured us that yes, that 20% off applied to couches too.

Another Big Lots employee with a friendly and helpful attitude went to check on the availability of our choice. YAY! One of each left in stock! So we proceeded to the furniture department where we met the manager, Larry.

Larry is our hero.

Since we saved so much money over what we were expecting to pay that day, I also tacked on a full size mattress set for the bed frame in the spare bedroom-- so yes, it's official, we have a place for overnight visitors-- or dogs. Mostly dogs.

And we got the whole kit and kaboodle in the back of the Ranch Truck! With help from Our Hero Larry the Manager and store associate Jody-- who came outside and helped load up our new furniture in the 175 degree heat with smiles and helpful attitudes.

Might I take this moment to point out that we are very happy with our furniture buying experience from BIG LOTS of all places?