I’ve been feeling like a literary agent lately, only it’s not manuscripts I’ve been rejecting but living-room couches. Few of the ones submitted for my review were right for our list, and the one that made it to Acquisitions was declined in favor of something we found in a corner.
The Background. In April we sold the Futon from Hell on CraigsList, with full disclosure in the ad that, while it was terrific as a queen-size bed, the innerspring mattress was way too springy for long-term sitting. Since then, we’ve been getting by with two rocking chairs, but this clearly cannot continue because our adult sons will be living with us, on and off, for the next few months.
The Review. After visiting every couch-selling venue in the greater metropolitan area (including the main St. Vincent de Paul store and a couple of Goodwills), and talking with several cordial and knowledgeable salespeople, I finally found the Sofa of My Dreams: a three-cushion brown top-grain leather beauty with elegant lines, comfortable seating, made in the USA by a reputable manufacturer, and on sale.
I brought my husband in to see it last weekend. Alas, it was immediately evident that, while it was a perfect fit for someone on the short side (me), it was very much not perfect for him.
The Result. Sadness ensued, but I got over it. On a whim, I suggested he try out the matching recliner. One thing led to another, and within 15 minutes we were on the other side of the store sitting in a chocolate-caramel, marshmallow-soft double-recliner couch the likes of which I associate with beer-swilling, cheesehead-wearing, seriously overweight couch potatoes who probably smoke.
And it was soooooooo comfortable that I didn’t want to get up. Ever.
This morning the couch came to live with us, and it looks… not nearly as bad as I thought it would. I keep telling myself it will not necessarily turn me into a beer-swilling, cheesehead-wearing, etc. This couch, too, was made in the USA by a reputable manufacturer rather than coming in on a container ship from God-knows-where, and at least it doesn’t have cup holders (although in the spirit of full disclosure I have to admit that it does contain a Hidden Storage Compartment).
Plus we saved a bundle because the sides and back are vinyl instead of leather, which worked out better anyway because there’s a heating vent in the wall behind the right arm, which would not have been an ideal environment for the top-grain leather on the back of the elegant Sofa of My Dreams.
1. It hurts a little to say “No” to a sales person with whom you’d like to do business but don’t because what they’re selling doesn’t mesh with your tastes. I bet literary agents know exactly what I’m talking about.
2. It pays to shop around.
3. It pays to be flexible.
4. Theologians can talk all they want about marriage being a sacred union symbolizing the love of God for humanity, but on a day-to-day, real-world basis, marriage is above all a decorating compromise.