As I wandered through the U---- Furniture showroom near the mall, I was approached by the usual variant of furniture salesman and knew, in the deep recesses of my soul, that I was about to get hosed. Furniture salesmen are like the bastard brothers of used car salesmen, working on commission and I suspect having conversations that parallel Glengarry Glen Ross after hours.
As a value-oriented consumer, my needs were simple: neutral, comfortable, made of material that belied the price, and able to withstand the occasional spill of wine or drunken bowel movement. Microsuede was probably the best bet.
I give the sales guy credit – one look at me, and he pointed me to the “popularly priced” furniture. I congratulated him for knowing his clientele. He smiled with his gnarled, yellow teeth.
I’d been eyeballing a sofa at Big Lots for some time, but I didn’t want to pay a delivery fee if I couldn’t find a matching chair. There, at United, was the same sofa for $40 less, with a matching chair. Red microsuede. $288 divan! $259 chair! $60 delivery, besting Big Lots $70 delivery! Also available in “Cocoa!” Score!
I told the salesman I was interested, and we made ten minutes of small talk. Somewhere toward the end, I said that I was impressed that I could get a mocha-colored sofa and chair combo for $547.
“Oh,” he replied. “That price is for the red. Cocoa is $50 extra per piece.”
I was sure he just made that up, right there, on the spot, like my old window contractor who said “Oh – you want both panes of the double-hung window made of frosted glass? That’s $75 more.”
I can’t be blamed for not arguing with him – supposing that I put on a show and threatened to walk out, and he knocked it down $50, there was still a box left blank on the receipt where he could have charged a “set up” fee… probably $50.
I have a strange feeling the red sofa and chair combo carry a $100 set-up fee.
But yes. My bill states “Sofa and chair, $547. Cocoa, $100.”