Buying a bed

I’ve never had to buy any furniture before. Ever. I’ve never walked into a furniture store willingly.

That innocence was robbed from me this weekend by brutal necessity, given that – despite the novelty – sleeping in the hammock outside would inevitably get tired. Especially when winter arrives. ;)

I went into it pretty optimistic – it was kind of a buzz to be doing it, for the first time. My plan was to spend Saturday just looking around, getting an idea for what’s available, what the prices are, all that. With that in mind, I visited Mancini’s Sleepworld, Pier 1 Imports – they don’t sell beds, as it turns out; they’re kind of like Tradewinds, or whatever it’s called these days, in Australia – Sleep Train, and then a few other random ones over in Redwood City – one of which was closed (pfft, closing at 5pm on Saturday, who does that?). :/

In a nutshell only Sleepworld and Sleep Train were really what I was focused on – other places that happen to also sell beds amongst other furniture didn’t have much selection at all, and in any case most of the places I visited weren’t very inspiring in general. The quality of furniture in most of them is just bad… and yet, that doesn’t in any way make it cheap. Oh no. That was quite disappointing, to realise that just finding decent furniture was going to be a task in and of itself.

I quickly found that the vast majority of adult beds are designed explicitly and, often, exclusively for women. All that nasty wrought-iron laurelly fluffy arched crap. That’d be great if I wanted to raise a baby like it was the 1930’s. And I was colourblind (more colourblind). And retarded.

Anyway, it didn’t bother me directly, but that I was left with so few options that interested me at all was a bit of a downer – hard to have a big exhaustive shopping hunt when you see your entire set of five options in the first hour.

I knew mattresses were expensive. I wasn’t perturbed to find many – most – to be over a thousand dollars. I tried to explain to the salespeople that I wasn’t pinned to any particular price range, but nor was I fussy, so naturally they steered me towards the lower range stuff, though they dismissed the real low end – gotta try the unnecessary up-sell to the guy with an easy wallet. :)

The guy at Mancini’s was pretty cool, gave me no trouble. I’d mentioned width was a concern, so he recommended a full extra long (i.e. queen minus 6 inches of width), which is a defined albeit rare size. That would have meant finding fitted sheets would be a bit more fun, but, I intended to put queen stuff on it anyway – can’t hurt.

Conversely Sleep Train don’t have anything but the more mainstream sizes, so it was queen or bust.

In the end, it came down to either a Spring Air with a charcoal wooden frame, or a Sealy with a metal frame. I kinda liked the wooden one more – it was quite nice; subdued and minimal but stylish – but, the catalogs of the two stores didn’t really overlap, so I couldn’t get a more broken-down comparison. And after spending several hours Saturday night – going wee into the early hours – researching stuff online, I came to the conclusion that – not that I should care, really, given my uncertain timeline – Spring Air’s were at the other end of the quality and durability spectrum from Sealy. Though it proved to be a pretty futile exercise, trying to compare or judge or find reviews – I paid my stupid $26 for membership to Consumer Reports, only for them to tell me that they don’t do mattress reviews. Woulda been nice to, you know, maybe mention that before accepting my money. Grr…. if they reviewed themselves, they’d get caned.

With the various options in mind, and having looked through a bunch of places (including Ikea, ultimately) for other things – desk, dresser, bookcase – I went back to the house armed with measurements and tape and tried to map out a functional layout. I ended up coming up with something I like, and should work nicely enough.

So I slept on it, and in the morning essentially flipped a coin. Well, I did, in fact, flip a coin. So ‘essentially’, while entirely accurate, isn’t entirely entire. :)

Sleep Train won out, so I went in, did one last test of my prospective mattress – not that it made any difference; they all feel fine to me – and then went for it. Some $1,400 later, I have a receipt. All going well, by noon Saturday I’ll have a bed, too. Just maybe. I certainly hope so – it’s my last weekend to move, so I really will be sleeping in the hammock otherwise. :/

Only after getting the receipt did I see the breakdown on the prices, and that’s when I discovered that the frame was nearly as much as the mattress – I’d presumed the frame was quite cheap, and the mattress the vast majority of the cost. It was an important factor in comparing it with the other option. Had I known that beforehand, I would probably have gone with the wooden frame, from the other place, which was about $200 cheaper. Ah well.

It may work out for the best, though – fate seems to be hinting as much. ;) I originally was looking at wooden frames exclusively – although I quite liked the simple metal frame I’d had previously, that mum bought me, I guess I wanted something warmer. And initially I dismissed the metal frames when shown them. But then I thought, well, a metal frame might be a bit more practical – smaller, lighter, easier to pack and assemble – as well as the fact that having one would enable me to attach furry handcuffs once again. That amuses me no end. :D

Of course, regardless of humour potential, that wasn’t a factor in my decision. No, the point of this story is that as the paperwork was going through, the people next to me were going through the showbook, and when they came across the very frame I was just buying – though they didn’t know that – one of them giggled and said something along the lines of “that’s where the footcuffs go”. That made me laugh. So apparently there’s something innate in my new bedframe that inspires bondage. :)

It’s done now, at least. The next step is the desk. And a chair, I suppose, though I can’t find any place here that sells decent chairs. Did I mention that furniture here just sucks in general? I suppose it wouldn’t bother me much at all to not have my computer going the weekend I move in, but, if I end up needing to wait on delivery for a desk, that won’t be workable. The bookcase and dresser I can get whenever, though.

I couldn’t find a bookcase I really liked. I found a couple at Ikea that weren’t terrible. But while Ikea’s stuff is surprisingly well made – better than pretty much every other place I visited – it’s pretty boring. And their whole “build your own perfect shelves” thing seems like a good idea until five hours later when you still don’t have a damn bookcase and you just want to wrap the measuring tape and all their bloody possibilities around some hapless salespersons neck.

Furniture stores here suck. Maybe they suck everywhere, but the furniture I’ve had and seen in the past had to come from somewhere, so apparently at least at some point they didn’t suck.

The biggest thing though is a desk… I found one at Ikea that I didn’t mind – a bit wobbly, but I figured if I shove it well up against the walls it should be okay. But it’s expensive – $250, for a piece of flat wood and some metal sticks. :(

I don’t mind the desk Tom has, though, which is $80 and seems to me to be much more sturdy. Yet oddly it’s rated to carry only half the weight of the others. 35 kg or somesuch. WTF? I’ve never thought of a desk that couldn’t carry my weight with ease. The things that can’t are called card tables or trestle tables and they don’t cost $250. I’m pretty sure I could stand on Tom’s desk without issue, but, he might take issue with me running screaming into his room and jumping on his stuff. ;)

Plus, you know, if I got the same desk as Tom, that just wouldn’t do – oh how the neighbours would gossip. ;)

Apparently our neighbours are Spanish on one side and Persian on the other.

So yeah… I’m tempted to go back into Ikea and jump up on some desks and see how much riverdancing they can really take. The salespeople might not like that.

I guess I’ll keep looking… I had no idea finding quality furniture was so ridiculously difficult. :(

And a chair, damnit… I need a chair. I like the chair I have at work, actually. Heck, I like the chair I’m sitting on now. I don’t like the stupid “luxury office” chairs that all these stupid furniture stores try to sell as the Ultimate Thing Ever. Plus they’re expensive. From memory the chair I had in Australia for years and years was only something like $100-150, and it was a damn good chair, but even back in Oz whenever I casually looked at them in stores, I never found anything as good for anything near that price.

I really should have had more of my stuff shipped over from Australia. Sod it. :)

And that was pretty much the entire weekend. I did actually get back home by 3pm or something today, but I felt so tired and bored and… I dunno, unmotivated, that I haven’t done much.

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