Saturday, December 4, 2010

Sleigh Beds Ring

I've been on a rollercoaster of emotion lately, because I've been looking for a bed and have visited a dozen furniture stores. Whenever I walk into a furniture store, I am briefly depressed by the funereal atmosphere. Then I feel good because at least I haven't sunk so low as to be employed in furniture retail.

There is nothing sadder in the world in furniture salespeople -- well, maybe car salespeople during a scorching summer when they have to run around the baking car lot. But I've heard of some car salesmen being successful (hey, Jim Pattison started out as one) whereas I've never heard of successful furniture salespeople. They are a sorry lot. They are sadder than shoe salesmen, because those guys at least have something to do other than yak at indifferent customers, e.g. cart shoeboxes around, straighten out the shelves, etc. Furniture guys just stand around, waiting to leap at the occasional lookyloo and to start babbling desperately.

The furniture scene has gone mad.  At the low end, the "designers" seem to want their furniture to resemble leathery elephant dung. With cup holders. (What is with these cup holders installed in the seat?! Are we now incapable of putting cups on coffee tables?) At the high end...well, let's forget the high end, because I refuse to fork over six months' salary just to get a sofa.

From Ethan Allen's Guano collection. Cups not included.
And the middle? Horrible pastiches of the real thing. The middle class cannot afford real mahogany, so let's give them dark-coloured particle board. (Everything today is dark, dark, dark. The colour options are "espresso", or black.) The middle class cannot afford real sleigh beds, so let's give them cheap imitations that look more like a misplaced skating ramp. (What is with this sleigh bed fetish? Why is sleeping in a sleigh desirable? Are we anticipating a need for the bed to be dragged somewhere quickly?)

The most amusing thing is the height of beds these days.  With the popular of pillow-tops and extra thick mattresses, the top of the mattress (when placed on a bed) comes up to my armpit.  How do you climb into a bed so high?  You would have to take a running leap from the kitchen.