Friday, August 6, 2010

Finally: A Good Shopping Experience

You know how much I hate to shop. I was anticipating just such an experience again this evening after work, but I'd finally reached the end of my patience. It had to be done.

Since I moved my dad in, his lift chair has been taking up room in my living room. I don't begrudge him an inch of it, but it has meant that my loveseat recliner had to be relocated to my new bedroom. That's kinda cool, but it left me without a comfortable place to sit in the living room to read or watch TV. For about a year I settled for a free but abominable chair from the auction house, an orange rocker-recliner.

Let's start with it having a low seat, a knee-killer made to order. That's exacerbated by the front of the seat dropping down every time I got in or out. The seat is too deep so it needs a pillow supporting the back, something you had to hold each time you sat so it didn't wind up under you instead of behind you. It was semi-comfortable at best with the foot rest up, but last week something broke, and the footrest no longer latched in place at a decent elevation when you rocked the chair back to a certain point. So, yes, my feet were supported... about three inches off the floor. It tilts forward by an awkward placement of the center of gravity. And hey: orange!

So tonight I hit the Slumberland store in Little Canada, roughly on my way home after work. It's the corporate offices, how I knew its location (from doing my job), plus the clearance center. It seemed a reasonable place to start looking. I had a list of demands: absolutely no rocker-recliners, just a recliner, small in seat size so it didn't need back support, a high seat for comfort getting out (in too, but out generally sucks), comfy with the footrest up, and a low price tag. Upholstery I could stand would be a bonus.

The store is not made for less than fully able-bodied patrons. The parking is a half block from the front door. (Someone is in love with grass maintenance.) The aisles are narrow with sharp turns, so no scooters or wheelchairs need apply. There are two sets of heavy glass doors to get through, neither of which has an electrical assist. The last thing I needed after that was to have to wander through a huge warehouse looking for the perfect chair. But I braced myself. At least I'd be in the chair department; plenty of places to sit while I shopped.

The first thing my eyes lit on as I cleared the second door was the perfect chair! It was the right size, height, color, and totally without any rocking mechanism whatsoever. Hardly daring to believe my luck, I sat in it and tried it out. And sat. Footrest up. Down. Up. Just to be sure, I tried out the chair right next to it. Big mistake. It was a rocker-recliner... on wheels! What kind of insane idiot designed that accident-magnet? The only thing keeping the store from a lawsuit is the fact that the chair was jammed in so tightly between other chairs that it didn't have very far it could move. I very carefully extricated myself and went back and sat down in chair #1. Yup, still the chair. And in a very nice solid sage green. Touchable upholstery. Really touchable. Strokeable, even.

Once the salesman arrived, it was just a few minutes before the purchase was completed, a few more before the warehouse had it ready to load, and I was ready to drive back to get it. My car got rearranged with the back seats folded down for maximum room (tiny Hyundai hatchback, remember?), the chair got removed from a box bigger than my car, and I got to show the young whippersnapper how it really needed to be loaded in the car to fit. Having it in two pieces helped, of course.

On the way home I called Paul to warn him a new chair was arriving for him to bring in and set up. He decided to avail himself of the orange monstrosity, since the folding camping chair he had been using in his bedroom had broken, and he tells me he's comfy enough. So now it's time for me to quit typing and go enjoy my new chair.


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