Couch Sloucher
Off The Wall, November 06, 2009

I was talking to a friend on the phone the other day when we happened to chance upon a topic of buying furniture. He told me that he recently had purchased quite a bit of new stuff to fill the apartment where he had recently moved.

Some weeks back, he told me how excited he was when he not only found a store that carried what he was looking for, but discovered the prices accommodating to his budget as well. “The wonderful thing,” he explained, “is that the delivery people worked their schedule around mine, so I didn’t have to lose any work. A matter of fact, they came first thing in the morning, and that was great!”

So, what does one do after getting a truckload of chairs, tables, a sofa, and lounge chair, etc., –unpack, and position the items in the proper order. When there are two people making decisions, sometimes it’s to one’s advantage, sometime not, if you know what I mean. This was one gentleman, in one apartment who lived by himself. There was only one word to describe that situation – simplification. Got the picture? So did he, so you can figure, it wasn’t long, with a little bit of effort, he had everything in place.

As we got to talkin’, something occurred to both of us. Everyone has heard of the 30-day trial program or money-back deals that are sweeping America. People will go into car dealerships and with the salesman, take the vehicle around the block for a spin. And certainly one has heard the saying, “We will stand beside our product 100%. If you do not like it, we will refund your full amount upon request.”

All these comments sound familiar, don’t they?

Well, this guy and I decided there has to be one more. “Come to our store and sleep on our furniture. If you like it, buy it. If you wake up with a back ache or your neck feels out of joint, move on to another couch.” Maybe the retailer could come up with a new slogan:

“Rest and test and see which is the best!”

Now, I know there would have to be some rules here.

First, the owner of the store must be assured that the customer intends to purchase one of the couches he has displayed in his showroom.

Second, one cannot sleep consecutive nights. Somehow, I don’t think it would be good strategy. The customer would probably have to visit his favorite chiropractor to get an adjustment before returning to the showroom of the dealer. After all, it is a known fact among most couch slouchers that ones’ heads do not rest comfortably on certain armrests.- I have seen pictures of some guys (and yes, some of you gals, too) stretched out on the three-seaters in the weirdest positions.

And it’s not only the couches that cause the problems. I’m sure you have seen those soft, leather chairs that suck you in once you place your posterior on the pillow. Heck, it looks simple enough when you approach it. But when you plunk your bod down in the middle of that custom, comfy configuration, you can no longer pray, “Lead me not into temptation…,” brother, you are there. Talk about those walls of Jericho come tumbling down. As soon as you start going down, I don’t care which side you look, those armrests have turned into chin rests instead.

Did you ever hear the story of Bad-Back Bertha? This hefty, young lady had no trouble plopping into soft chairs. But she knew, as well as her friends and relatives, that there was no getting out without her back going also. Often she had to sleep there until the next morning when two hired men had to pick up the back of the chair and literally roll her out. Not a good thing. Not a good thing at all.

OK, retailers, possibly you and your customers could work out something. Here’s one. Maybe you could have a married couple give it a go, a couch for the hubby (as usual), and the other for his wife. Sound like a plan? You could give them a night’s rest on the ones each chooses. Not only could they see if they liked them, but also if their muscles found the furniture compatible, too. The next morning, the couple would agree to buy you, the store owner, coffee and an extra big donut. Now, how is that for a plan?

- Paul J. Volkmann
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