Thursday, September 10, 2015

Chair saga

Yeah, I’ll fess up; I do a lot of sitting.  And in my case, it tends to be in one chair; TV viewing in The Chair, work (from home) in The Chair, reading often in The Chair, iPad or laptop usually in The Chair.  The Chair is about 8 years old and has developed a chemical like stink to it – I’m blaming it on the microfiber material and right or wrong I’m not interested in buying another microfiber chair.  Yet, here I sit blogging from The (stinky) Chair…

My quest began with my old standby, Craig’s list.  As reflected by past posts, I’m a fan.  I’d much rather buy quality used than piece of junk new.  My wife isn’t so enamored; she’d prefer I stick with quality new.  Quality new is an elusive character.  I have no doubt that you can easily spend $500 or so thinking you’re buying a quality chair only to quickly lose that loving feeling a year or so down the road.  In my frame of thinking, I’d rather gamble $200 on used.  Even if the gamble doesn’t pay off you won’t feel too bad about shopping around in a year or so.  Thus, despite risking the wrath of wife, my initial focus was on finding a quality used chair.

Despite my prior posts on using Craig's list, I made several missteps along the way.  First, I assumed that furniture is hard to sell and that it would be easy to get a great chair cheap.  I was completely unrealistic about my budget (hoping at first to spend only $150 or so) so that I missed out on some deals (thinking that furniture doesn’t sell quickly so I could wait a week or so to think about it).  Well newsflash and tip for those who may be running a parallel path… good furniture that is priced right will sell reasonably fast.   Good furniture in my world means either a standard recliner that is under a year old or timeless (classic) real leather that is in very good shape.  Also standard for my conception of good furniture is no tobacco smoke and no pet odor issues.

In my quest as a buyer, I quickly identified a key tip for sellers which is staging.  Yes, the same concept that sells houses is also very important in selling furniture.  As a buyer when I view pictures of a chair in a living room or family room, I can visualize the chair in my home as a piece of furniture.  In contrast when I see a chair that has been dragged to the basement I begin to smell must and mildew or when I see a chair that’s been dragged to the driveway or lawn I visualize a chair that probably should go to the dump.  I drove to see a Craig’s list chair that I found had been dragged to the garage.  It was a quick “no sale”.  If the chair is too nasty for it to remain in your home, it is too nasty for me to haul to mine.

My initial missteps coupled with the very limited selection of quality used in a smaller geographic area drove me to expand my search to retail stores.  I wish I had done more extensive looking at retail early on and would offer that as an additional tip to buyers.  An expansive look at the retail offerings helped to provide hands on experience with a wider range of quality and price points.  Looking back, I now kick myself for being cheap and not jumping at that mission style recliner that was on Craig’s list for around $200.

My foray into retail, while educational, has proved no more successful than my shopping from Craig’s list.  An initial stop was to the Sear’s retail outlet off Washington Avenue Extension (next to Walmart).  They had advertised recliners at about $199 (marked down from $299 or so) and while I went into it with the understanding that it wouldn’t be my dream chair I thought that perhaps it may provide $199 worth of value.  I found one that was marked $299 that I thought might do the trick.  It was not like the ones that were clearly $199 so I didn’t know if the $299 was the “real” price or if there was an additional mark down.  I approached the sales (likely an oxymoron) reps at the register to inquire.  Their response was that someone had removed the sticker from that chair so they couldn’t sell it.  (Huh?  Perhaps removing it from the sales floor might be something to consider).  I asked if there was someone in the store who could provide a price for it and the store rep dug in and insisted that no one could give a price and that they had to send this chair back to the warehouse to be priced so they could sell it.  As frustrating as this was, the wisdom of 50 plus years on the planet has graced me with the awareness of the futility of arguing with ignorance and it was definitely time to move on.  (I will note that experiences such as this not only impact this sale, but also discourage future visits to this store).

Next close encounter was Boscov’s.  I found a chair that I thought would do the trick; it was leather in the seating area with matching vinyl sides and back.  I thought it was a great way to get the quality of leather, but keep the price somewhat reasonable although I will note that my slowly emerging desperation had bumped me up to considering a chair priced at $428.  Since this was a serious contender (and needing the mini-van that my wife drives), my wife accompanied me to provide her consultation services.  Within 15 seconds of my rump landing in the chair, she expressed, “it squeaks”.  Yes, it was true that it was loud whenever you moved in the chair.  I responded that I didn’t think it would be a problem because I don’t move that much.  Her response was that I move all the time.  It didn’t take too much wizardry to realize that I should keep shopping, we found one that we both liked but the new price point was now at $599… ugh!  The nice thing about retail is that you have plenty of time to think on it – they typically have more than one and often the sale comes around again too… so I’m still thinking about this one.

I thought I heard the Hallelujah chorus last Sunday, when on a lark I scanned the Macy’s ad… my hard to find Mission style recliner was on sale as one of their “lowest prices ever” at $489.  Not too bad considering it would be new and the style I really wanted… what could go wrong?   I excitedly searched to learn that the chair was available at a specific mall and was promptly on my way.  The Macy’s rep was a terrific professional.  I was thrilled to learn that the seating was leather with the matching vinyl – sounds good so far.  The rep also expressed that they offered an extended warranty (no shocker there) and that their warranty was great – around $50 and if you didn’t use it after 7 years you got your money back… that sounded ok too.  Then a setback – you cannot pick the chair up at Macy’s; you need to have it delivered and delivery is $65.  The rep being ever so professional, countered this setback with an opportunity – I could apply for the Macy’s credit card and get $100 credit – woo-wee, I was on board.  I even called in my consultant who was also agreeable.  You’ve probably guessed the ending… I went through the production of providing my info and driver’s license and was turned down for Macy’s credit (or more precisely, would receive correspondence in the mail in the next 2 weeks).  For some, I suppose this would not be a big deal but I can tell you as one with stellar credit and who has never, ever been denied credit this was a big blow to my ego leaving me to crawl away from the upscale rep (and deal) as feeling among the “unclean.”  I attempted to contact Macy’s for additional information using their 1-800, but found this frustrating and useless.  As of this writing, I remain waiting for my written correspondence but highly speculate that my issue isn’t my credit worthiness, rather, it is my credit protectedness (yes, a new word, I just invented).  About 3 months or so back, I received the glorious news that I was in a large group whose personal info may have been compromised.  As a result, I was generously offered a year of credit monitoring and advised that I should consider placing a fraud alert with one of the major credit reporting companies.  Me being the na├»ve citizen that I am did both.  It was my understanding that placing a fraud alert would not prevent me from getting credit but would require creditors to obtain positive photo ID (which in my opinion is what they should be doing all the time anyway).  That sounded good to me and you would think that if I personally appeared at Macy’s with a photo driver’s license that would work.  My suspicion is that Macy’s credit system doesn’t see it that way and views a store application as an electronic application to an account that (thanks to me) has a fraud alert on it.

Meanwhile back at the ranch… I sprayed my existing recliner with a generous dose of Fabreeze and set a house fan directly on it to dry it… and now I once again sit on the throne contemplating whether it is possible to schedule an exorcism of my chair quest bad karma.  (Maybe I should give up sitting).

No comments:

Post a Comment

Comments are appreciated. Please note that comments are moderated, but will generally be published if on topic and free from excessive profanity or hostility.