I'm convinced that my only option for comfortable seating in my studio apartment is a couple of arm chairs. I spend a few weeks searching for suitable options that meet the necessary criteria: stylish, small, and comfortable. Every time I find something I like, I realize it's either huge or will likely be no more suited for movie-watching than my woven wooden chairs, and as I'm complaining on the phone to my mom she tells me over and over again to "just get a sofa already."
In my attempt to prove her wrong, to show that there's no way a sofa would fit, I break out the measuring tape and discover...well, actually, maybe it would.
The next search begins. The two sofas I've had my eye on in the past are nixed due to size or cost, and that's when I find it: the perfect solution.
Don't let the orange sway you — it comes in the perfect feather gray, as well, which is exactly what I was looking for. Neutral, modern lines, and most importantly: 68 inches wide. Long enough to comfortably seat two people who aren't looking to make out with each other, short enough to still allow the fridge door to open and close unimpeded. Yessssss. I visit my local West Elm several times just to sit on it and inspect it from every possible angle. I ask if the legs come off. I measure it in person to make sure the dimensions online are 100% accurate. I sit on it again until I'm finally convinced. This is the one.
Being the cheapskate that I am, I look up when the next major sale will take place (Black Friday) and then strategically open a West Elm credit card so I can earn store credit for the large purchase. Even better: I learn that you get a $50 bonus just for signing up when you make a qualifying purchase, and a $25 bonus on your birthday.
I do the math, and unfortunately, I won't get the bonuses in time to use toward the loveseat. But hey, I'm gonna need some pillows, right? So I'm not too concerned. The week of the sale, I check the website and my heart drops: the gray option is gone. I call customer service. I call my local store. Everyone I speak with tells me a different story: it was taken down because it's so popular that it's backordered too far in the future; it wasn't popular enough, so they stopped making it; the image needs retouching but it should be back on the site soon.
By the time the sale starts, it's still not online, so I go into the store and try to place my order in person. The girl behind the counter rings me up and even bumps up my discount when we discover that the gray option is priced cheaper than the orange (red flag) and won't meet the threshold for the full 30% off. Then, the first snag: there are only 18 of them left in stock, and they are all in Georgia, outside of my delivery area. I'm worried, but she assures me that her manager can call and make arrangements; they've done it before. Ta-da! Loveseat ordered.
A couple weeks go by and I haven't received an update about my order. I call the store to check in and it's worse than I feared: the ones left in stock were manufactured incorrectly, and since they don't exactly match the image that was advertised, West Elm won't sell them. When I ask when new ones will be made, I'm told that it will happen but they have no idea when. I cancel my order, heartbroken.
Then, the very next day, I check the website again, and there it is! The gray loveseat! (I have an email in my Sent folder, to my mom, entitled "WTF West Elm.")
Except, wait. The picture's different this time:
That handsome dark frame that's still paired up with the orange option had been replaced by a blonde wood. I email my store to see what's up and am told that the light wood is the manufacturing mistake and they've decided to sell them, after all. I then spend a good hour clicking back and forth between the two, trying to decide which I prefer. I poll friends and family. I deliberate. I find myself still leaning toward the dark wood — it's not that I dislike the light option, it's just that I like the dark one better! And knowing that it's out there, and could potentially be mine, halts me.
I make the decision to keep waiting, and try to find something else in the meantime.
Meanwhile, my $50 store credit arrives, and I can't find a single thing I want to spend it on.
Christmas is over and I'm back home in my apartment, staring forlornly at the empty space in front of my TV. I want to have people over, dammit! I also want to be able to sit through an entire movie without resorting to switching to my laptop just so I can comfortably lay in bed.
The six-month mark is looming. I want a loveseat. Fuck it.
I resolve to order the gray one, light wood and all. At this point, I realize that my birthday credit bonus never showed up and proceed to talk to three different people about getting that resolved. It finally takes a woman in a Las Vegas call center to get me that additional $25 off, but I secure it, add in a $15 holiday bonus (merry Christmas, indeed), my $50 sign-up bonus, and place my order — price-matched to the original request.
Then I wait.
It's here! It's here! It's here! Three weeks later, it's arrived at my local store. I'm a scrooge, so I've waived the delivery (an extra $120? no, thank you) and instead rented a UHaul van and guilt-tripped one of my coworkers into helping me. We get to the store, a couple of their guys load the gigantic box into the back, and we're on our way.
When we get to my apartment, we quickly realize that the size of the box makes it almost impossible to get a good grip, so we unwrap it right there in the street and bring the loveseat inside with no trouble. It's when I go back outside to move the cardboard out of the road, however, that I see it: one of the legs, broken off and still in the box.
I email the pictures to the store, and since it's such a jagged break, they promise to send a new replacement loveseat, no delivery charge.
Determined to enjoy my loveseat that very weekend, I prop the corner on a jar of quinoa (I later switch to a more stable combination of rock-and-can-of-tuna fish when Katie yells at me) and proceed to watch several hours of the FX O.J. Simpson mini series, eventually falling asleep under a pile of laundry. I'm living that sweet loveseat life.
Two weeks go by and I'm told that the new loveseat is ready to be delivered on Saturday. I'm given a time window and promised that they'll call when they're a half hour away. Good, good.
Saturday morning, I get up and run my errands so I'll be home in time. When I'm five minutes away from my apartment, I get a call from the store: the delivery men tried to deliver my loveseat, and it was refused, so they left and have gone on to their next appointment.
Several problems with this. One: I never received a call saying they were on their way. Two: I never received a call saying they'd arrived. Three: They tried to deliver it to my landlord which, if they had called, they would have known was the wrong apartment. I'm told that they cannot come back later in the day, and that I might have to wait until Monday for the delivery.
And this is where I lose it. I've worked in customer service, both as an operator in a call center and as a store employee, so I know how shitty it is to deal with an angry customer. I've really tried to stay calm and reasonable throughout this entire ordeal, going out of my way to be polite and thankful to everyone who helped me, but this. will. not. stand.
I have some stern words with the very nice store manager and tell her that this is unacceptable (key angry customer word) and there is no way I'm waiting until Monday, especially since I have work that day. MAKE IT WORK, WEST ELM.
The good news is that they were able to arrange the delivery for the next day, and that the delivery men seemed very scared of me when they arrived. Oh, and also I now have a functional, in-tact loveseat.
I will say this: that light wood frame looks damn good with the rest of my apartment. So that snafu was a bit of a blessing, after all.
After all that, will I be shopping with West Elm again? I mean, yeah, because I still have store credit to use up, but I don't think I can recommend ordering large furniture from them. (Craigslist, however, is still #1 in my heart.) We'll see what their response is to my very long, very detailed, very annoyed letter of complaint.
In the meantime, if you need me, I'll be on my loveseat. Probably napping underneath some laundry.