Friday, May 14, 2010

The Tao of Craigslist

I hate my old sofa. It's a good sofa; it probably has a million years of wear left in it, I just don't like it anymore. It was my first grown-up furniture purchase, about 20-some years ago. Up until then, I furnished everything via the design school of "Want this?" which meant my apartment was where all the relatives' cast-offs went to die. So buying the sofa was a big deal -- a proud moment.

At the time, I liked antiques. About 15 years ago, my taste shifted to contemporary. Not crazy-modern, just something you'd see in Dwell or Metropolitan Home (before it went out of business), as opposed to say Southern Living (not that there's anything wrong with that). It's hard to find something simultaneously insanely stylish, dog-resistant, and movie-night-comfortable. This is for the TV room (the living room furniture can afford to just look pretty -- but the TV room is where everybody hangs out most...after the Kitchen.) I've been actively shopping for this dream sofa for at least a decade, but I haven't been able to commit. It's like porn, I can't define it -- but I'll know it when I see it.

This Graham and Green number is nice, for example -- and it'd be great for the parlor -- but this isn't how I dress to lie around and read books in Howard the Home Theater. Also, it was ID'd as a sofa, but I'm pretty sure it's a loveseat, or else she's a GIANT. Although as demonstrated by the BigAssChair purchase, I clearly don't know the difference between the two.

I finally realized that as long as I kept the old, loathed sofa, the law of inertia would keep me from getting a new one. (Or as my Mom put it, I needed to "fung the shway" in this place -- nothing new comes in til something old goes out -- not that she would approve of getting a new sofa when there's still life in the old one.) Maybe sitting on the cold wood floors would be a motivator. So my pals Phoef and Dave dragged the old sofa to the office, and then I posted it on craigslist. (I just saw on the news where somebody got killed when a robber came to his house to buy his craigslist diamond ring -- which is where I feel compelled to point out: I do not have any diamond anything. I don't even have a sofa for chrissake. Keep it movin' pal...nothing to see here.)

So far: not one nibble. Nobody seems to want my old sofa (though it has come in handy a few times at the office, and that will probably end up being its permanent home).

I headed over to craigslist this morning to check out my competition, and I was embarrassed I hadn't done a better job of "selling" it.  Because every sofa (but mine) has a story.

One guy writes elaborately, in defense of his sectional, "I am recently divorced and honestly [would]  just rather have a futon for my place. No other reason I am getting rid of them." (I find myself wondering if he's protesting a little too much? What are the "other reasons" someone might infer? Somebody died on it? Somebody was born on it? Something worse?)

Another owner of a "nice sleeper" discloses,  "There is one small burn hole on the left arm of the sofa but we do not smoke in the house. It's really no big deal." (Points for the correct spelling of It's, but that seems a little antagonistic -- it's probably up to the buyer to determine whether or not burn-holes and smoke damage are "a big deal.") They add, "Also, we have dogs so the couch will need to be vacuumed." OK, I can see that (but I do wonder why they don't just vacuum it themselves?)  They close helpfully with, "The color in the picture looks a little weird but it's just the lighting and the fact that it was taken with a cell phone camera."

Apparently, no one's satisfied with the quality of their cell. Another ad points out, "The pictures make the chairs look worn down. They are not worn, it's just the type of fabric. Kind of like what suede does when brushed different ways?" Fair enough.

The chairs look pretty good actually.

But I wouldn't give $100 bucks for 'em. 

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