Tonight I went to Jordan’s Furniture to buy my first couch.

Ever since I decided I’d be getting an apartment while in grad school I’ve been endlessly researching furniture. As in: how will I ever be able to afford furniture?

The first obvious choice was my long time lover/arch nemesis: craigslist.

I’ve heard many people talk about the bargains they’ve found in the past buying furniture on craigslist.

After a brief browsing I quickly realized two things:

1. The economy is bad so people are trying to sell used couches for nearly as much as they bought them. Which is not a bargain.

2. The thought of sitting on somebody else’s used couch really gives me the creepy crawlies. Any upholstered item really. I don’t even wanna know what could be living on that fabric…

So I bucked up, gave myself a 600 dollar budget and started researching.

I landed upon Jordan’s. I generally like the way their furniture looks and if I’m being honest, out of Jordan’s, Bob’s Discount Furniture, and Bernie and Phyl’s….the Jordan’s commercials annoy me the least.

It might be a petty reason but hey, you watch this commercial and tell me it doesn’t make you want to claw your brain out of your head and chuck it at the tv!

So off to Jordan’s I went. I constrained my search to the “factory outlet” section.

As far as I can tell however, the “factory outlet” furniture is the exact same as the regularly priced furniture. I thought maybe I could only buy floor models but nope, my couch will be brand spankin’ new from the warehouse. The only thing “outlet” about the furniture is that they cost roughly a third of the rest of the store.  And I guess to be fair some of them were pretty hideous.

This was my third time visiting the outlet couches.

I had finally decided to pull the trigger and as I strode into the showroom I was ready to place my order. Of course now that I was ready to spend some money the place was practically empty. I wandered around helplessly looking for a salesperson all while feeling a little self conscious.

Whenever I’m doing something I consider “adult” I feel like an impostor. When I went with Brendan to pick out an engagement ring for Val I felt so weird going into the store. Whenever I go to a liquor store I get a little rush of adrenaline. Renting a car when I had my car accident in January, the whole time I felt like they were going to say “You’re too young. You can’t even drive. Get out of here.”

Furniture shopping (somewhere other than Target, Salvation Army, or Ikea) felt similarly false and intimidating.

Finally a sales woman came click clacking over to me in her heels. She was wearing a bright, white, pantsuit with a lime green blouse. She seemed like she was in her mid to late fifties, possibly early 60’s. It was hard to tell because she had very obviously gotten a facelift.

“Can I help you get something started?” she asked, very hopefully.

“Yeah actually I wanted to place an order on a couch over there?” I said, my voice sounding so unsure.

“Aw you already did the decorating and everything huh?” she exclaimed.

“Well I’ve been here like three times, I’ve just been shopping around..” I said, feeling as though I was playing dress up.

We walked over to the couch in question. My chosen couch.

This is what it looks like:

In reality the fabric is a little bit darker than this. The color is called “Calcutta Cocoa.” Which kind of makes me unhappy. But the price was certainly right.

As we processed the order on the computer I found my courage to ask:

“When I was here last, the sales person I spoke with mentioned that because I’m picking it up on tax free weekend that I could just not pay the sales tax and wipe it off the day of?”

“Oh who did you talk to honey? I think it was me! You were in here with your boyfriend right?” she bubbled animatedly.

“Um I mean I was here recently with my roommate, who is a guy?” I said, not wanting to tell her that no, I knew it wasn’t her I had spoken to because the sales woman I had spoken to was black. But I didn’t know how to say that tactfully so instead I just laughed and said,

“Hahah yeah! I guess that must have been you!”

We put the order in and she asked me,

“Do you want the fabric protection plan?” her voice so eager and full of salesperson charm.

“Ummmmmmmmmmm” I said, stalling as I tried to figure out if it as worth it.

“It’s 35 dollars and its really money well spent! It covers the couch for 5 years! Everything from rips, tears, liquids, salad dressing, human and pet bodily fluids!”she rattled off the endless benefits, her voice getting higher and more excited with each disgusting word.

“Um, Okay yeah I might as well. I’ll do it.” I acquiesced.

“Oh good! It really is a good choice. If you’re gonna eat anywhere near the couch ya know? People think that microfiber is stain resistant but that’s not actually true. Microfiber repels liquid so most things you spill will bead up and you can wipe it away but not EVERYTHING. This protection plan comes with a great little cleaning kit too!” she bubbled. She was very excited about the protection plan.

“Yeah, five years is a long time. I’m sure we’ll use it at least once.” I said. Trying to match at least half of her enthusiasm.

“So if something happens to the couch you can call this number and they’ll tell you what to do like get a white washcloth and use some of the cleaner….its an organic cleaner by the way… but sometimes you’ll call and describe what happened and they’ll say “oh my god! don’t touch it we’ll come right over!” And then they’ll come and take care of it for you.” She went on and on.

“Wow, yeah that sounds like a good service.” I said, impatiently.

“Oh it is AMAZING! Like sometimes there’s just stains you don’t know how to fix and they’ll fix it!” She gushed.

Then she leaned in conspiratorially and said:

“Like if you get your period on the couch! They’ll say “Oh god don’t touch it we’ll be right down!”

Internet, I wish I could tell you what my face looked like. I have no idea but I know it must have been a mixture of shock and disgust. I began to understand why this woman was given the all but barren, Wednesday night at 6 pm shift.

“Ohhh my god!” I laughed. Shocked. And disgusted.

“Whelp” she clucked her tongue, “I say it cuz it happened to me once!”

I looked at her. And her pristine, white pantsuit. And immediately felt my imagination going places it shouldn’t. And felt myself ready to gag.

“Hah! Oh wow! Well I’m glad to have this protection plan then.” I choked, through gritted teeth.

We finished our transaction and as she gave me my little receipt package I felt so strange. I made my way out of the building clutching the little envelope as if to say “I bought a sofa! Don’t kick me out! I swear I paid for it!” And hustled toward the exit, before I could accidentally have any sort of bodily function on any of the furniture.