Saturday, November 26, 2011

Almost Like Black Friday

So we went furniture shopping yesterday, with the inestimable Wendy, who wanted us to get the best prices for the sofa and beds we needed to buy.

She took us to a warehouse-like shopping mall across the city, the kind of place where you had to push through thick insulated mats blocking the door – no frills here. Inside, the place was an unheated hodgepodge of furniture and mattress stores. It was so cold inside that all the sales people wore overcoats. It was impossible to tell who was a shopper and who was an employee until they came over to you.

Without Wendy, we would have been lost. First of all, I was kind of overwhelmed by the cacophony of colors – pink, purple, orange, red. And almost everything seemed to have a little added bling attached, like one deep purple sofa we saw where each tuft was decorated with a rhinestone button. The place looked like something out of a cross between Pee Wee’s Funhouse and Astoria, Queens.

If a couch was on the plain side, it often had little added features like an attached head rest at the top, looking like something you’d find in a car.

After hours of looking and more conversations in Chinese, we got a rather subdued sectional sofa – muted green and tan – that came in several sections just in case our new living room turns out to be smaller or differently set up than we remembered.

The bed, though, is more Chinese-style, with a tufted headboard. The saleslady was disappointed that we chose a simple tan for the fabric. Here's what it looked like in the showroom:

She thought the red or bright blue would have been prettier, so we chose a blue for Joanna’s headboard. In that case, we ran into problems because the sections of the pillow in her headboard turned out to be four.
Here's the Chinese flashier version of the bed:

After about ten minutes of conversation, we asked Wendy and the saleslady what they were discussing. “We don’t like the number four, so we were thinking you shouldn’t have four pillows in the headboard,” Wendy said. Four, remember, is too similar to the Chinese word for “dead,” so they tend to avoid the number at all costs.

Joanna got a headboard with three pillows, and the day was saved. All in all, it was a successful venture: we got a sectional sofa, a pullout bed for the study, two beds, and two mattresses for about $1,000.

Here's our sofa bed in a setting with some of the other purple, turquoise, pink, and greenish choices behind it:

For those of you who don’t already know this, you can get yet another take on the experience – and all our experiences -- on Bob’s email list for his “in lieu of blog,” at We're not competing or anything.

1 comment:

  1. I enjoyed both your and Bob's versions but yours had the advantage of photos. I'm all caught up on your blog now, Debbie.