Why has furniture shopping become so impossible?

I’ve had the unfortunate ordeal of having to do a LOT of furniture shopping recently. And what a laborious, often impossible task this has become.

There is a serious lack of quality, practicality and value out there.

The thing about furniture is that, wherever you decide to buy it, you are often spending enough money that you would quite like it to last more than a couple of years. Even if you try to really cut back on the spending and buy things from Ikea for example, you are still into hundreds of pounds by the time you buy the necessary furniture even for a small flat. So, if you can afford to spend a bit extra, often it seems to be worth it so that the money you are spending will go towards pieces of furniture which you will hopefully be happy to use and able to use for many years to come.

But even on making this decision and spreading your wings a little further than Ikea, either you still seem to be faced with pieces of furniture which look ordinary and boring, or these ‘modern design pieces’ which have no personality and will clearly look outdated within six months because they have no classic charm.

And if, by some stroke of luck, you do suddenly find something that looks half decent and won’t make your new home look like a scrap yard, you’ll often either find a very frightening price tag on it, or you’ll be greeted by the joyous news that the store ‘should’ be able to get it to you within twelve weeks. They often say this to you like they are doing you some kind of a favour here, and really you should normally be expecting a far longer wait.

Isn’t this 2009??? I get why something would be expensive if it is hand crafted and made of gold, or is particularly beautiful, but a mass produced, really rather basic in fabric and shape sofa? Why does this need such an outrageous price tag? I can only assume that we are all being ripped off. Especially when they seem more than able to slash at least half off the price of these things during sales and still stay perfectly afloat.

And as far the twelve week delivery is concerned that another thing that doesn’t cease to bewilder me. Maybe it is made in another country, but again, the items we were looking at are MASS PRODUCED. How long can it possibly take to press the right buttons on the machine and get another sofa made along with hundreds or if not thousands of identical orders?

I can only assume that these huge companies are communicating with their suppliers by email or phone. Perhaps they are using carrier pigeons to send the orders across and that is what the hold up is for. Nevertheless, once the order has been processed and the machine has made the item can the sofa not just be put straight on a ship to the UK and arrive in our home with seven days at the most?

Young families, with screaming babies and push chairs, manage to fly twelve hours in an economy seat with more efficiency than these companies are managing to get a sofa from one side of the world to the other. It really does baffle me. We can walk on the moon, but we still need three months, as in a quarter of a year, to get a simple item like a sofa to our customers.

Not all the big stores are so terrible though. As long as you cut through a lot of the rubbish, it does seem to be possible to find some great pieces at Furniture Village for a decent price. Again though, waiting times for delivery are rather long, not as ridiculous as their competitor DFS though, who were the culprits for the casual mention of a twelve week wait on delivery.

The service at Furniture Village was good too. It felt more personal than elsewhere, and there was even a little coffee machine towards the back of the store with freshly baked (they were even still warm) cookies available. It was actually very nice to be able to sit on your prospective new sofa with a cup of coffee in the store before deciding to sink all that cash into it.

Anyway, luckily I am coming towards the end of my furniture shopping ordeal/ hellish nightmare. Somehow, I am still on speaking terms with the people I was furniture shopping with, although that is certainly no thanks to what has been on offer to us, or the customer service we have been receiving.

And if this is what I have come across during what has been flouted in all of the papers as a recession, when you would assume that stores would be doing everything possible to sell, sell, sell, then I can only imagine what people went through during the ‘boom’ time, when surely there was less desperation from any of these places to shift more of their drab stock.


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