Tuesday, May 3, 2011

Momma Did a Bad Bad Thing

Sorry to leave you in suspense yesterday about what I had done that was so bad.  Bad in a good way.  Like skanking yourself up to go out on a Friday night.  Or riding a motorcycle.

Only I'm a fairly boring stay-at-home mom, so my version of being bad was buying a piece of furniture behind the boyfriend's back.  And not just any piece of furniture - something so big that there was no way it could come home with me.  With money that was destined for the gas tank ($3.74/gallon - are you kidding me!).

But how could I resist?

Let me give you the whole story. 

After receiving my free haircut (Craigslist score) yesterday, I was feeling a little too pretty to go directly back home.  So I went to Big Lots to get another paintbrush and then decided to drop by the Salvation Army and see what was in.  Because that is obviously the two places you go when you're too cute to go home.

My local Salvation Army gets a lot of furniture in and I was hoping to find something cheap to resell since I'm quickly running out of items that I got for free that I can make money on.  I walked to the back room where they keep the furniture and just about fell over.

There was The General.  Yes, I've named him.  In the way that kids growing up on a farm might name a pet so they know he won't end up on the dinner table.  This thing is HUGE!  40 inches wide and 54 inches tall.  And solid wood - even the back.  Dovetailed drawers.  It was love at first sight.  Then I opened him up...

Are you kidding me?  Built-in organizers?

Pulls have been spraypainted, so I'm going to give them an antique brass finish.
At this point I braced myself to look at the price tag and come crashing down to earth.  Because there was no way I could afford this chest.  Nevermind that I've been wanting a piece of campaign furniture forever.  Nevermind that I quite possibly had a bigger reaction to seeing this chest for the first time than when they handed me my son for the first time.  There are things in this world that I want but cannot afford and I have learned to deal with it.  But that doesn't mean I have to be happy about it.

$79.99  WTF?!?!?!?!

I literally looked around to make sure I wasn't on a secret camera prank show.  Then I double checked just to make sure there wasn't a 1 in front of that 7 that I had missed.  Nope.  $79.99.  I had that in my purse.  That's a crazy good price for any piece of furniture this large, useful, and of such quality.  It was still a lot of money for me to spend though...  Maybe too much...  I was hoping to buy something in the $40 range that I could resell, and I couldn't resell this.  It would be like selling off my arm.

Despite the doubts racing through my head, I wasn't holding myself back from publicly humping my new found love.  A salesman came racing over like he worked in a real furniture store and could see commission written all over me.  I quickly tried to act cool, which is pretty hard when you're standing in the middle of a room caressing a piece of furniture.

"It's nice, isn't it?"  Says he.

"Yeah, it's okay."  Says I.

"You know, if you're interested I might be able to make you a deal."

(I think at this point I might have started to fondle the salesman too.  It's all a haze of euphoria.)  "What kind of deal are we talking about?"

"I can cut $15 off."

Now, I am in no way, shape, or form a good negotiator.  The few times I've tried to haggle anything I've almost always ended up giving something away for practically free and offering them a turkey dinner to go with it.  My friend Katie is quite possibly the best negotiator I've ever seen because she frequently is the one getting things for half off with a free turkey dinner thrown it.  I tried with all of my might to channel Katie at this moment.

"I'm not sure...  It's awfully big."  (Like lots of storage space is a deal-breaker for any woman.)

"Okay, I can do $20 off.  $59.99."

"I'll take it!"

Maybe I could have gotten him lower, but I don't think so.  You should have seen the other customers circling us like a vultures with the hopes that I would walk away and they could pounce.  And really, $80 was a good deal.  $60 was more in my budget.  And if I brought it home and the boyfriend hated it, I was positive I could triple my investment easily.

Then there was the slapstick comedy of me thinking I could actually fit The General into the back of my car.  I am a really good packer, so sometimes I overestimate what I can physically fit into our Mazda Protege.  It wasn't happening.  So I went home and broke the news to the boyfriend, who was not thrilled, let me tell you.  Not only had I spent our money without talking to him, but I had also obligated him to once again borrow a van from his job so we could get it home.

So, what did I do to make it up to him?  I decided to make a little more money to cover the cost and take advantage of the van.  I sold futon for $75 (free to us) and threw in delivery for an extra $25.

I also sold my favorite chair.  I bought it a couple of years ago for my girls' room and it has been in the living room since the move.  But with the blue couch I couldn't keep it there and there wasn't anywhere else for it.  So I had to let it go.  Bought for $25.  Sold for $35.  I probably could have gotten more because I had tons of interest, but I'm content.  They paid for the piece that I want to keep and that works right now.

I would love to keep doing this as a side business.  I definitely get a little high from flipping furniture.  However I do realize that I'm also susceptible to falling in love with a piece and then you're not making any money.  So I'd have to strike a good balance somewhere until my new house is better furnished.

P.S. Once he saw it, the boyfriend admitted that he loves The General and said I did a good job.

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