Sunday, July 20, 2008

What's that? I can't hear you over that couch...'s a little loud.

So with grad school and hand me down furniture on its last leg, we've been slowly replacing our furnishings with "real" furniture.

There are many shady industries in the world. Used cars. Amway. Drug trafficking.

But nothing short of, say, public relations for Karl Rove, is as much of a racket as furniture retailing.

Before I posted this I had actually written a fairly long diatribe about consumer excess, conspicuous consumption, and taste in general, but I've noticed my posts have been a bit long-winded as of late, as well as a bit too stream of conscious, so I'll simply say Houston furniture stores (outside of national chains) are a fairly bizarre mix of 1) newly rich folks with pretty poor taste, 2) a general willingness to pay sticker price without question, and 3) Texan fascination with all things oversized (especially if they are of and/or relating to cows). You end up with what is essentially sheer nouveau-riche madness upholstered in bi-cast leather:

Words fail me.

"We can't fit any more stuffing in!" "DAMN IT, KEEP STUFFING". You know how they say dogs look like their owners? ....There's nothing more classy in a $2000 couch than plastic cupholders.

As much of an affront to all things holy as this chair is, what really made it funny was 1) it was in the "fancy room". Of the 20,000 foot warehouse. 2) that 20,000 foot warehouses have "fancy rooms", and 3) that this is the last one, meaning at least one other person paid $1500+ for this chair. Must have gotten carried away by the sheer fanciness.

It's the mullet of up front, party in the back. Somewhere, a cow is haunting the living hell out of a furniture maker.

The couch/chair in this one are actually some of the nicer pieces we saw that day. Unfortunately, what doesn't show up as well is the large circular ottoman in front of them. It gave the general appearance that someone had taken an antelope and stretched its hide over a wagon wheel. A salesperson passing by heard us trying to figure out what animal it used to be and REASSURED us it was "faux hide". So someone, somewhere created a process to make fake cowhide-with-fur-still-attached in order to create this ottoman. I'm not sure that's reassuring.

I wish I could impress upon people that bargaining is not a social faux pas to be avoided at any cost. It's part of the industry. Furniture is like cars. If you pay sticker price, or a price greater than the rational value you perceive in that item, you're getting had. Bargain . (If for no other reason than to reduce the incentive for producers to do some of these outrageous things to cows posthumously:) )


stanford said...

This is a great peice. I have been trying to come up with other non-hair examples of the mullet platonic form all day. The absolute best is the faux fur and thinking about the poor guy who's job it was to use, what must be a considerable intalect, on that.

JMBower said...

It haunts my dreams.:)