Art Van Ripped My Flesh: Adventures in Furniture Shopping

If you look at the photos in my previous post you will see that my house is big and old and beautiful…and empty. So Christmas and the new year I made it my mission to do something I have never done before: buy furniture.

I don’t shop much. I’m a fella™, and as a fella™ I like to walk into a place already pretty much knowing what I will walk out with. Not so, buying furniture. When you buy furniture, apparently you are supposed to take into account the other furniture you own, if any, and how your old stuff will look with your new stuff, and vice versa, in a recursive shopping free-for-all. There are no hard-and-fast rules around the experience, but dammit! All I want is a couple of chairs!

This is how the week went:

On Monday I spent the whole day driving around looking at things. Sofas chairs tables futons desks rugs the whole shebang. I went home that night with one of the worst headaches of my life.

On Tuesday I repeated Monday, but with a more discerning eye.

On Wednesday I went to Art Van and ordered a split queen-sized foundation for my bed, on account of my old box-spring won’t fit up my stairs.

On Thursday I bought a dining-room table from Stone’s Throw, which was delivered Friday morning. Friday afternoon, I hijacked Bock and we headed to the north side of town to pick up my box-springs from the Art Van warehouse. Finally, after a month of sleeping on the floor, or on chopped-up particle-board, I had my bed back in working order.

Or so I thought.

“There you go, have a good ‘un”, said the 20-something fella as he threw my box-spring into Bock’s truck. “Hot dayum!” said I, and “Yee haw. Ummâ…where’s the other half?”

“Says here you ordered one split box spring.”

“That’s right. One box spring, split into two halves.”

“You know, I though it was kind of funny that there was only one. Most people order two.”

“What am I gonna do with half (30″ wide) of a box spring? Put it in the hold of my slave ship? Where’s the rest of it?”

“Let me call 28th Street.”

[time passes]

“They say you ordered one box spring. They can get you the other one, but they won’t give it to you for free.”

“Argh. Okay. When you order A Split Foundation, does that not imply two halves?”

“Well, yeah…” At this point the warehouse floor manager walked over. “What’s up?”

“Hey [manager] guess what? 28th Street is getting dumber again!” (note the “again”).

“Come on; don’t talk bad about our company.”

So the kid relayed the story and ended it with “That’s the most retarded thing I ever heard!”

“Right there with you,” said I, and “Cancel my order. For $500, a box spring had better service me when I lay down on it.”

So I went home, sans box spring. I immediately drove over to the store where I ordered the thing and said “I need to talk to a manager!” A manager came over and I told him the whole story, minus the editorializing of the warehouse crew. He said “Yeah. You ordered the wrong thing.”

“I told you what I needed. YOU ordered the wrong thing. And you only ordered half of it!”

“You said you needed a split foundation.”

“Yeah. A SPLIT foundation! A foundation SPLIT IN HALF.”

“A split foundation is half of a bed.”

“So I should have ordered TWO split foundations? That don’t make NO sense!”

“Sorry sir, if you want to order the RIGHT thing we can get it to you in a week for $300.00.”

“Forget it. Keep your damn bed, I’ll sleep on the bathroom floor.”

So here we are. Today I went out to RCD Direct and picked up what I needed in half an hour, and at half the price Art Van wanted for an inferior product. When I told the RCD fella my story he said “Yeah, if I had a dollar for each time I heard an Art Van story this week I’d have five dollars.”

I think I can safely say I am never doing business with Art Van again.

On the up side, I now have a bed that sits waist-height off the floor, so I can slide out of bed in the morning, rather than climb out of it.

And that’s all I ever wanted.

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