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Backwards Hat


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.”


Backwards Hat

December 2010



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