Thursday, February 17, 2011

Of Course It Can't Be Easy!

About a year ago I was beginning to notice my living room couch was looking a bit grubby. I had had that couch for over 10 years. I bought it for my first apartment. It was bound to not exactly be spotless. Even a professional steam cleaning didn't really keep it from showing its age. Sometime during the holidays it developed a rip. I was beginning to feel embarassed about my living room.

The couch's framework was still solid. It had held up well over the years. Rather than replace it, I thought it would be nice to just reupholster it. After all, it would not be likely I could sell, or even freecycle a grubby, ripped couch. I didn't want a big piece of furniture cluttering up the landfills. Besides,if we went for a new couch Kevin and I would have to sofa shop together and it would be hard to carve out the time to do so. Then we would be spending endless hours in furinutre stores trying to hash out our preferences. With reupholstery, I could take home swatch books and we could argue over them at our leisure. The responsible and easy thing to do would be to simply give the old couch a facelift.

There are several upholstery shops in my neighborhood. I suppose I should have done my research. I knew the oldest and most established on was very expensive (the fabrics they featured on their website tended to all be in the three-figure-per-yard numbers). I went to the one that had been in the neighborhood the second longest. I figured they had been around this long for a reason and they always seemed to have work. What could go wrong?

I took home some swatch books and picked out several that I liked. I like to think that Kevin and I have similar tastes, but I was suprised at how many things I liked that he didn't. He would often change his mind on some fabrics, saying he liked one in the evening, and wake up in the morning not liking it anymore. If you think that the argument is that I wanted girly colors and patterns while Kevin wanted manly brown leather, you are mistaken. Kevin definitely likes the light pastels and florals. We picked one we both liked and I returned to the store to let them know. The woman who I assumed is the owner/manager gave me what I thought was a rough figure for the cost of labor and we made an appointment for Raul to come and measure the couch and give me an estimate.

Tuesday night Raul showed up as promised. He looked at the couch and confirmed that it was a sleeper. He asked me what the cost I had been quoted at the store for the labor. I told him. He put that on a contract. Then he calculated the amount of yardage needed to cover the couch and calculated the cost per yard. He put that on the contract. Then he said he was taking the couch, asked me to sign the contract, and asked for a deposit on the fabric! Wait. I thought he was just coming to give me an estimate. I did not think he was going to take the couch and demand money that night.

At least we knew how much it would cost, so I called Kevin who wasn't home yet to see if he could live with that price. He was fine with it. I had to look at it this way, the job was going to be done and they were starting much sooner than I had expected. Yay. I had to put the entire cost of the fabric on my credit card then and there, but at least we had the total cost in writing.

The next day I get a phone call. Guess what? The fabric I want is backordered and won't be available until April. I have to pick something else right away because my couch has already been prepped (at least they work fast). I was back to the store for swatch books, hoping I could once again find something Kevin and I could both agree on.

What really irks me is that they didn't find out that the fabric was unavailalbe before they came and took my couch. What kind of stupid practice is that? Why not make a phone call before making the appointment to have the couch picked up? Well, that's a dumb question. They wanted to make sure I remained captive to them. If they told me right away that they didn't have the fabric I liked, I could just go to a competitor. With my couch already prepped, I can't even tell them to just bring it back. They're making sure my couch doesn't leave their store until THEY have done the job.

We're still deliberating over fabric swatches right now. I hope we find something we can live with soon. After all I don't want to just live with my couch. I want to love it.

Right now I have no couch in my living room. They took out the bed part since they won't need it for the reupholstery. I have just a folded up metal frame bed where my couch would be.

Once we pick this fabric and get the project rolling, I hope the job they do is good and it's reasonably fast or else I will make sure no one ever uses this place again.

I was actually thinking of asking them if they knew where I could get replacement mattresses for the bed. Although we bought a futon couch for the spare room last year, I do like having the extra bed. You never know when you might have extra guests (that happened just this summer for example). It's nice to have a nice clean couch, but guests will be sleeping on a 12-year-old mattress that wasn't all that comfortable to begin with. I think I'll look for other sources to try to find one.

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