Joery and I finally purchased the last major pieces of furniture for our apartment this weekend. After many, many, many frustrating shopping trips, I believe I emerged from this experience with a bit of knowledge I’d like to share.
No more patio furniture in our dining room!
1. Never go shopping on an empty stomach.
Everyone knows not to do this when going grocery shopping, but it’s true for furniture shopping as well. Empty stomachs translate into snippy comments, “we-already-had-this-conversation” / “why can’t you FOCUS??” / “what the hell are you thinking? That is hideous” remarks, and a silent, angry boyfriend who’s driving home from a fruitless shopping adventure. Not fun for anyone.
2. Make sure you measure EVERYTHING.
Because that one thing that you forget to measure — how wide the television is, how far from the wall your cabinet should protrude, etc. — that space will be what stands in the way of a completed order or driving home with your tail between your legs and a measuring tape in your hands.
3. Ask questions. A lot of questions.
Does this type of material attract fingerprints? Do you drill the holes for the electrical outlets or do we have to do it ourselves? Do you mind if I try picking the coffee table up so we can see how easy it is to move? Even if the saleswoman thinks you are completely bonkers, she will smile and treat you as if you asked the most reasonable question in the world. At least our wonderful saleswoman did.
Which brings me to 4. If you’ve already visited the store, talk to the same salesperson.
They give you their card for a reason. If they’re busy, wait. It will save you the time it takes to explain the situation to someone else who doesn’t completely understand the problem, have them give you the wrong information, and give up (due to the hangry-ness problem presented in number 1) and drive home.
5. Hold out (if you can) for promotional events.
Not only did Joery and I get a glass of kava and piece of chocolate when we entered the store, we also got two tickets for a hot-air balloon ride (in lieu of a small discount on the furniture) and a coupon for a free breakfast, delivered to your home. Not too shabby. And now we can look at it as a small reward for the numerous failed shopping trips and fact that it’ll probably be over a year since we moved in before we get a proper table.
And lastly, 6. There’s no shame in haggling.
Sure, it’s a store that probably won’t drop their prices any lower than what they originally say. But if you ask, they may just throw in an extra one of those breakfast coupons.
So, in 10-12 weeks (the length of time between purchase and delivery), our apartment will pass through it’s thrown-together, lawn furniture-marked adolescence and, hopefully, mature into an adult space. And thanks to our wonderful saleswoman, Fadoua, who not only humored our testing the weight of the furniture, but also assisted us in re-arranging what we could to recreate our apartment’s “look”.