March 7, 2011

My Short-Lived Living Room Furniture

Before moving to Orlando, I sold most of my furniture on Craigslist. It would have cost more to move the stuff down here than it was worth.

For the past six months, we have been sleeping on mattresses and eating off a table with a broken leg. On Friday, I had enough of living like college students. While shopping at Costco, I picked up a couple gallons of milk, some eggs, and a living room sofa.

On the way home from Costco, I stopped at my husband's work and presented him with the receipt. "I need you to go pick up this sofa with your truck. Please."

Like most men, my husband breaks out into hives at the thought of doing something awkward and unreasonable, like asking a store manager to give him something that he's already paid for.

Because he is tired of hearing me conflate living in our house with camping, he agreed to do what I asked.

The sofa looked great in the store and on the picture on the box but not so good in my living room. Like most houses in Florida, mine has tall ceilings. Like many sofas made today, this one was super small. The sofa looked like it belonged in a doll house.

My husband was wholly unconcerned, however, about the scale of the furniture that he had brought home. He was positively giddy, on the other hand, about the fact that he had managed to pick up the sofa without having to engage anyone in a sustained conversation. Because of this, I decided not to tell him that the sofa was going back until the next morning.

"I need you return the sofa for me," I announced at breakfast. My husband's face twisted into agony at the mention of the offensive word.

Return.

All sales are final for my husband. Returning something that is the wrong color or size, or is missing a part, is unfathomable.

"I think it looks fine," my husband told me as he attempted to sit on the miniature sofa. He is 6'3'' and his knees were basically touching his chest.

"It needs to go back today," I told him.

As luck would have it, my husband returned the sofa to the same store manager who had given it to him the night before.

When he got home, he was not in a good mood. "What happened?" I asked.

"They wanted to know why I was returning it!" he cried.

"No!" The Costco people had crossed the line and something had to be done about it.

"What did you tell them?" I asked, almost in a whisper.

"That it was too small for the room."

"And what did they do?" I waited with baited breath.

"They gave me my money back," he answered.

I exhaled deeply. Who knew that returning something at Costco could be so hard and dramatic?

"They were looking at me funny the whole time," he complained.

I assured him that the people behind the customer desk at Costco have bigger things to worry about than the personal hangups of a middle-aged man.

"I'll bet that they won't even remember you," I told him.

Tonight we went to Costco for dinner. As we passed by the customer service desk, a man in a red vest waved in our direction. "Hello again!" he called out to my husband.

My poor husband wanted to crawl into a hole and die.

*****
Anyone have a good story that includes husbands and coupons/store returns? I love 'em!

70 comments

Sims Family said...

I don't have a great return story, but I just read about a BIG couch at http://www.younghouselove.com/2011/01/surprise/
They researched a ton and found this one. Have fun furniture shopping.

An Irish Italian Blessing said...

I absolutely love your blog. You never fail to put a giant smile on my face. I wish I had a husband return story, they all start and end with: "If there's a return, he isn't doing it" and NEVER at Costco. He's convinced the evil return line at Costco is always around the corner.

Robin said...

Unfortunately, I don't have any funny stories of coupons/returns or anything involving my husband. He just flat-out refuses to use coupons or return anything. I've even sent him to an out-of-the-way place to buy something with a store-specific coupon, only to find the coupon wadded up in the car a week later.

Men!

:o/

Catherine Dabels said...

I ordered a treadmill from Costco online. It eas on sale for $900. It weighed 300 pounds. When it arrived my dear husband took it out of the box and began assembling it. I tried to help or at least look helpful. So I stood there looking all cute and stuff. Talking about all the wicked programs and all the amazing things I was to accomplish on my new treadmill.

When it was all put together we plugged it and turned it on. Nothing. The stupid thing didnt work. He just looked at me and said "so, I guess I'm returning this for you tomorrow?"

My last helpful act was to hand him the screwdriver to begin disassembly. It's a good thing I'm cute.

DaNelle said...

What! LOL My husband isn't embarrassed to return anything! His wallet is full of coupons! My man is very strange apparently...

Lindsay said...

Your blog makes me laugh out loud!

Tricia ~~ Handmade Whimzy said...

My husband LOVES coupons and LOVES returning things. I think he loves them more than me.
We never go out to eat without a coupon unless it's my birthday. And everytime we're about to walk out the door to go to Target, he has to pull out the coupons and check my list to see if anything matches up.

It drives me batty!!!
I am to the point where I HATE coupons and if he doesn't like something that I buy, he's returning it HIMSELF. I hate returning stuff too. He lives to return stuff.

I think somethings wrong with him.

Allison said...

My husband is the same way. Returning things is of the devil and must be scorned. The only time he actually suggested returning something at Costco, where they will take returns on anything, no questions asked, was when the 5lb bag of cheese had obvious mold before we ever opened it. The day I bought it. But did he return it? No way.

Vanessa said...

what a giggle - whenever i start the phrase "i need you to pick up" he runs for the nearest exit as he knows its some awkward piece of furniture i've purchased online (usually after consulting him about it i might add) and like always its just that bit bigger than we thought. As far as returns go, he might be Scottish but he would rather suffer the loss than face the utter humiliation of a return lol. He'll also have a tanty if a part payment is required (eg. half cash half eftpos) as its also the end of the world.
Good luck sofa hunting :)

Greta: From Transparencies of Motherhood said...

2 things come to mind when reading this. The first is that we searched high and low for a small couch. Our living room looks like it's a dollhouse living room and nothing (not joking) fit. It took us 6 months to finally find one small enough.

The second is that my husband has a 2 coupon policy. He refuses to use more than 2 coupons if I send him to the grocery store. Therefore, I usually only send him to the store to get 2 things...gauranteed he will call me 4 times just trying to find the 2 items and then he crawls under a rock handing the coupons to the cashier.

Amy said...

We need to trade furniture! Eh, well trade if you get more little furniture! When we bought our living room furniture all at once, it looked wonderful in the furniture warehouse but in our house? Way too big! You have to enter the living room at an angle and the front door can't be opened all the way without hitting the entertainment center (it is freakin' huge) and the couch is a huge sectional, plus a recliner, one coffee table, and an endtable that also almost gets knocked over when people enter the living room via front door. Ugh!

Kay said...

I have a friend that buys things like clothes, picture frames, shoes, pillows, etc. on a whim without spending more than 60 seconds to think if she:
A. really needs it.
B. If it looks good on her/in her house.
C. If she has the money for it.
D. If she can find a better price somewhere else.
She would rather buy things, they try them on at home and if they don't work she returns them. She's convinced she is saving time by shopping this way, but she must spend half her week chasing back and forth to return things. I've tried to explain that if she just took the 2 minutes to think about her purchase, she could save 30 minutes of driving. No Luck. :(

Jeigh said...

When I was pregnant with my third baby, I was on the hunt for a new crib, and being the savvy (ie poor college student's) wife that I am, I stopped in to Goodwill on a regular basis checking things out. I didn't realize how often I'd been stopping in until one of the cashiers started telling another cashier that I was looking for a crib, I was having a boy, he was due in a month, and he was my third.

I started looking elsewhere.

My favorite line of this post is the one about going to Costco for dinner. :)

Katie said...

A) Costco hot dogs are delicious.

B) My husband is the opposite, and LOVES to engage in conversation with strangers. He becomes instant bff's with anyone who ever helps us do anything in retail. It makes me cringe, b/c I am like your husband...I wish people would just keep quiet.

C) Ikea couches are short. Be forewarned.

Niki said...

My husband is you and I am your husband. I hate to cause a fuss or be even a smidgen of a burden on someone, my husband couldn't care less. I hate coupon shopping, my husband thinks it's a game. Insincere small talk is something I avoid, my husband likes people to know what he knows. These differences are what make us a great pair - I bet it's the same for you guys.

Kristi said...

My husband has a truck too. You know because hes a man and needs to haul stuff. But, when I want something there is always some reason why we dont need it. Why do we have a truck if we cant use it?

Daniel and Robin said...

My husband inevitably "forgets" to use the coupon(s) sent with him or "it was too much work and there was a line behind me."

And the thought of having to move furniture we've bought...he'd rather go without. Hence, he's been living with two moving boxes acting as his nightstand table instead of the real thing. I refuse to buy and more one for him. So far....we're at a stand still and he seems happy enough with the boxes....*sigh*.

melissa walker said...

My father-in-law is the opposite--he will return anything, if he's used it, if they've had it for a year and it breaks, etc. He is really embarrassing about it too because it usually involves him having to bully some poor cashier to return something without a receipt that the store doesn't carry anymore--even at Costco. When he heads toward the return counter, we just head in the opposite direction and pretend like we're a different family!

Ellie said...

I don't have a specific story, but my husband hates returning stuff too. He hates for me to as well. He will actually walk to another part of the store rather than stand next to me while I am returning something. He's embarassed, I guess. Especially when I have to complain a bit, in order for them to take it back. He would rather keep something and never use it than to return it.

Anonymous said...

My husband can run conference calls with a large group of people from all over the globe and give sermons in church without any nervousness. But he can't talk to the neighbors or do his home teaching--too scary! He explained to me that it's the intimate, personal contact that he can't handle. I think he's just lazy.

Lara said...

My boyfriend's mom is Korean and my dad is Serbian so we both grew up with parents who love to haggle. My boyfriend can't stand it. I grew up going to antique shows and that's what you do. My bf's mom will try to bargain in a retail store. He gets mortified.

One day at H&M I found a dress I wanted. It was the last in my size and a button was missing. I told my bf I was going to ask for a damaged goods discount and he went completely pale. Actually green. He begged me not to. I tried to reason with him but it was no use. I told him he could go wait outside if he didn't want to witness it. He stuck around and watched me tell the checkout lady about the missing button and ask if they gave discounts. I got 15% off for having to sew my own button on. No biggie.

What a wuss.

The Mommy said...

My husband has learned that everything (EVERYTHING!) is returnable. And not only do they have to take it back but they have to do so with a SMILE and while treating me with respect. I worked in retail for 5 years. I once had to take back a pair of jeans that were the official brand of a DIFFERENT department store because the customer INSISTED that she bought them from us. Yeah, right. But? I did it with a smile so I expect the same. My husband doesn't mind returning things as long as I promise NOT to go with him. ;)

Jen said...

My story is that the only place I can get my husband to go is a fast food joint or an electronics store...and any of those purchases would NEVER involve a return. Even if necessary. Still NO. So...sounds like you're pretty lucky in the grand scheme!

Jen
www.monogrammedeverything.com

Aubrey said...

this is funny...poor guy. He should know by now that attitude and complaining just give you good fodder for your blog.

My husband loves shopping at Costco. I'm the one telling him No we don't need anything. Yet he still manages to go and bring things home from there. Although he is generally happy to return things cuz it means getting money back.

Russ and Em said...

I can barely ask my husband to go to the store to purchase things the first time around. All things retail seem to cause him stress. If I do send him to the store I can expect a phone call about half way though the visit asking for clarification about any of the items I've asked.

Laurie said...

I completely understand how your husband feels. I was reading thinking that's how I would have acted. I hate doing returns and a lot of times I'll just make something work instead of returning it. I'm getting better though (somehow, I don't mind doing it at Target). I love couponing though, but I'm probably pretty conservative about it. Just as long as it doesn't cause a problem and attract attention to me.
My husband on the other hand, doesn't mind doing returns or using coupons. He just won't go out of the way to do either one.

Anonymous said...

I just love the fact that Costco is a dinner destination for your family :-)

HW said...

I hate making returns but my husband loves it. I usually make a little stack of items to go back and hand him the receipts when I have enough to keep him happy for a Saturday morning. He loves loves loves putting that money back into the checking account.

The same buzz I get from shopping he gets from making returns.

A match made in Heaven....

NanaGo said...

Oh My, I know exactly which Costco you went to. LOL. And I live in Oregon!
My DH has no problems with returns and is a coupon hog. BUT it has to be middle to high end stores. I had to escort him into a Dollar Store last month. He refuses to go into Goodwills. So we split the shopping, Under $50 I handle, Over $50 he handles. Works well.
Now I am going to have to write a blog about his Costco trip from yesterday, where he brought home the LARGE Kitchen Aid, a $70 piece of meat and 2 dozen roses. The cashier was funny with a snarky remark.
Thanks for the idea.

eliana23 said...

husband coupon? Not a chance.

Miranda said...

No picture of the too small sofa in the room? That'd would have been perfect!!

TracyKM said...

My husband hates coupons, but will gladly return things, or if it comes on sale the next week, go back for the price match guarentee!
My aunt's best friend works for Costco and she says they keep very close track of what you buy and what you return. She told of one family that had bought $35 000 worth of stuff, and returned about $25 000 of it....and MOST of it was food! Like, more than half the box of cereal eaten and then the decide they "don't like it". Yeah, sure.

Ruth Ann said...

I have a slightly different story...when we downsized and then moved twice last year, we ended up with lots of stuff we'd had for years and I had no receipts for. Like two 5-gallon buckets of white plastic pipe fittings - I think my daughter got those from a school friend when they were doing an Odyssey of the Mind activity. So I cleaned them up carefully and took them to Home Depot. I got more than $50 store credit for those things! The ones without bar codes I dropped off at Habitat for Humanity.
I did the same thing with all the old forgotten project items - I returned them for store credit. I went in to Lowe's with a basket full and whatever they didn't have in their register I took over to Home Depot. Usually it worked. One Home Depot return was $137!! You would not believe the number of hinges and angle irons and boxes of 6 screws we hadn't used. So you know we don't complete our home improvement projects...
I even returned cleaning items that I hadn't opened - Target mostly.
Now I can use those store credit cards as I put this house in shape. I'm a lot more careful about what I buy now. No kids at home helps.

vinobaby said...

In January I made my husband return our 5 year-old bed to Costco. It was still under warranty and it squeeked horribly if either of us shifted a finger or took a deep breath. They had originally told me I had to go through the manufacturer, but that went no where. I sent my hubby in first to talk to the manager and later that week with the bed. He walked around the store with $500 cash in his pocket and felt rich...until he had to give it back to Costco when he bought a new bed...

Jenn said...

We were just "forced" to buy almost all new furniture for our home (it was flooded on day 2 of a 2 1/2 week vacation so everything was molded/destroyed by the time we got home), but don't feel bad for us it was all on the insurance company's dime. It was like pulling teeth to get my husband to go look at furniture with me, he wanted me to go by myself with 3 kids and pick one!

http://www.afwonline.com/ this website has incredible deals on furniture and reasonable delivery costs. I am not sure how close they have one to you, but it might be worth looking into. They also give you the measurements so you can see how big it would look without actually seeing it. We are VERY pleased with our new couch! (sectionals tend to be the biggest, good luck!)

Cardon Times said...

My husband has no reserves about doing all of this stuff...I on the other hand have to talk myself into doing it and plan ahead and still break out into a sweat! I would much prefer my husband do stuff like that!

RaeRae said...

I despise returning things. But I do it.. and most of the time it is stuff my husband wants me to return that be bought and changed his mind on. He works such long hours that if we wanted for him to do it.. it would be about 5 years later.

But.. I refuse refuse refust to haggle. I just can't do it. I will pay whatever the price listed because the thought of debating makes my heart race. My husband does it for a living - so if he wants a good deal he has to do it or deal with whatever I spent.

I also refuse to fire people. If the gardener or housekeeper has to go.. He has to do it. I'm a wimp!!!!

Heather said...

That is hilarious.

Your poor hubby. He got spoken too twice in the same day.

Anna said...

Well, my husband just generally doesn't like putting himself out there, and by "out there" I mean calling someone on the phone when he isn't related to them by blood. Even then, it takes some prodding. Thankfully, he's learned that I don't care if he resents me for sending him errands and now just goes with a slight "ughhh" instead of trying to wriggle out of the situation. I don't know what the deal is?? Any insight?

Charlie Pulsipher said...

As a man, I must admit this is so how we are. I hate returning things and I hate the awkward nature of shopping in general. Much better to go back to hunting and gathering where I do not have to have nametagged people look at me funny.
Funny Stuff I Write And Draw

WendyLou said...

I once knew a lady who made her husband return a 40-cent can of peas to W*lM*art because she wasn't going to use them that week.

Bonnie@TheFragileXFiles said...

My husband bought fancy house shoes at a store in the mall for $40. Two weeks later there were the beginnings of holes appearing on the sides of the shoes. He asked me to return them, with no receipt or anything, and just complain about them. So I did and was completely appologetic, and they gave me a free pair of $40 shoes to replace them. Then I bought a $40 purse before I left the store. That'll show 'em.

lazy said...

OMG.....This is exactly, word for word, how returns go at our house. If it is broken, doesn't work or doesn't fit....doesn't matter. He almost finds it offensive to have to return something AND speak to someone/tell them why he's returning it.
Also.....i love your "anger" towards Costco. (obviously I know you were kidding) they do make it very hard to return things. No wonder your husband was mad. :) good times. good times.
Glad there are others out there like my husband.

Christina said...

Dinner at Costco...brilliant...where else can you feed a family of 5 and get desert for about $12 bucks? NO WHERE!!!

Love your blog!

~Christine~ said...

Funny! I have to admit that I'm like your husband though. I HATE returning anything and having to explain the reason why I am returning something. I usually make my husband do that and he obliges because he is awesome that way.

Anonymous said...

Return something? no way for my dear husband. When I had our first baby, I sent him to the store to get a few things. When he got up to the checkout, he looked at the sign that said 15 or fewer items. He then counted the items in the basket which added up to 16. Instead of going to the next checkout lane or just going through with 1 item over the suggested, he put one back!

Kari said...

Hi! I'm a big fan of your blog & I tagged you in 7 Facts award. If you want to play along, check it out here: http://knowitnotsomuch.blogspot.com/2011/03/lets-see-how-this-goes.html. Hope you're having a great week!

Breezi@ Not Your Average Fairytale said...

It gives my husband hives to walk into any store that sells something.
Shortly after our first baby was born and all our family came into town to meet the new little one- I asked my hubs to go to the store to grab something to eat.
An hour later he walked in the door looking all sorts of frazzled and scared with a gallon of ice cream.
I asked him where dinner was- and with a blank stare at the wall he said "They had nothing to eat".

That's pretty much the last time he went shopping. .... 8 years ago.

Laura said...

Aren't they funny?
I've been an avid reader of yours for a while now, and just wanted to express my thanks. Your writing never fails to entertain, and you have definitely inspired me in my own mothering more than once.
I look forward to your blog every day!

Yvonne said...

I don't know about meanest mom .. but you are one of the funniest! Love your blog :)

http://www.halpastwonderful.blogspot.com

Janine said...

On our honeymooon, my brand-new hubby and I ate a very, VERY expensive restuarant. He ordered buffalo ribs and got food poisoning. Nothing like spending hours watching your spouse throw up and thrash about in feverish sleep on your first night married. I insisted he call the restuarant and let them know the meat was paid (and demand our $50 back for his plate). He refused. Missing out on losing virginal status still wasn't worth a refund phone call!

Liz said...

Oh do I have a story!!!

When we were newly married, my husband let me know that he would NEVER go to the store to buy me feminine hygiene products. It was just toooo embarassing for him. I assured him that it wasn't like anyone in the store would think he was buying for HIMSELF. But still, he was determined that he'd NEVER do it.

Fast forward about 3 years. I had a coupon for the brand of tampons I use & thought "Hey, he's going to the store for milk, I'll have him pick these up too." I even went so far as to CIRCLE the particular type I wanted in the picture on the coupon. He was mortified, but decided to man up & buy the item. I was so proud of him.

And then he came home with the WRONG DANG BOX OF TAMPONS! I swear. I figure he got to the tampon aisle, VERY quickly eyeballed them to find the right brand, grabbed the first box he could see, threw it into the cart & RAN. He swears he bought what I circled, but he didn't. I returned them the next morning & swapped them for the right type.

In 17 years of marriage, he's never bought pads or tampons again. Sigh.

Jen said...

You're blog makes me laugh out loud!!! Thanks for the great stories :)

Anonymous said...

Hi Jana,

I love reading your blog. It seems as though you never run out of daily life experiences to write about, and usually present your stories in such a humorous way, however, when least expected, change up with one that will bring a tear to ones eye. I'm from your previous Ward in PA, and realize I have something in common with Tim. I have never returned anything to a store, even if it was broken upon opening. I have clothes in my dresser that are the wrong size, have worn a pair of size 13 shoes for over a year (I wear a 12), and the list goes on... Keep it up, and tell Tim I said hello. -His old YM sec.

Choate Family said...

You are hilarious! I love your blog. I'm the one that hates returning things so I always make my husband do it. He's not quite sure how this became one of his chores (like mowing the lawn) since he tries to avoid interacting with anything that speakes. I'm sure that he curses my name the whole time that he is doing it but hey he still does it. :o)

Meg said...

Your husband and mine are two peas in an introspective pod. Mine would love nothing more than to live on 15 acres in the middle of Montana with no neighbors as far as the eye can see. He has brought up this exact scenario many times.
In this particular case my husband would have taken the couch and disposed of it somewhere like the side of a river and come back and said it was returned. Then man can barely order a pizza let alone return a whole couch. Oh, and speaking of pizza. . .once we (I) did order a pizza and it came to us. . .uh, half eaten. Rather than take it back, my husband suggested we "eat around it" meaning the bitten off bits. Yikes. The best thing to ever happen in his life? Email and internet bill pay: distancing the need for interpersonal communication one introvert at a time.

Lindsey said...

You should absolutely do your hubby a favor and purchase a sofa from IKEA. Because hubbies ASSEMBLING furniture is so much more tolerable than asking them to PICKUP or RETURN furniture.

Haha.

Anonymous said...

I think you should go back to Costco, purchase the same sofa, and then return it. Again. And again. And one more time for good measure. =]

Rachael said...

My husband too hates to return anything. Just 10 minutes ago he was headed to Home Depot so I handed him a corner baseboard piece with the receipt and asked him to return it. He asked was it really worth the pain. Its $4 for a 1 inch x 4 inch piece of wood. You bet its worth it. I'll even let him keep the money for the humiliation of having to return something! Men!

Giovanna said...

Very funny! We are the opposite here. My husband that doesn't mind at all returning stuff. I am the one who gets mortified. Tonight, he is returning a wool rug to Sam's that won't stop shedding after three months. He doesn't care at all. Good for me.

Laurie B. said...

*wails*.... "I thought it was just my husband!!!"
(huge sigh of relief)

Cara said...

My husband returned a pair of earrings at Penney's that I had bought and then felt guilty about them. I asked (made) my husband return them. At the customer service counter, the employee asked what was wrong with the earrings. He said, "I gave them to my wife, and she didn't like them. So then I gave them to my girlfriend, and she didn't want them either!" The employees looked shocked and said, "Really?!" Everyone had a good laugh over that one.

Dimples said...

Ha Ha funny stories. My favorite one of ours is: When we thought we were expecting baby number one, I sent my hubby to the store for a pregnancy test. I was too embarassed to buy one myself. He came home with a Urinary tract infection kit. I wanted him to take it back and get a pregnancy test. He took it back...I think...or threw it away and came home with a pregnancy test.But he is pretty good about returns because I give him the choice, do you want to make the return, or start shopping with the four kids. Gotta love them!

Megan B ♥ said...

Oh my goodness. I have been sick all week long and really needed a laugh this morning. Thanks for coming through for me!

Pamela said...

Growing up, my husband's mother bounced alot of checks. Even a few stores, her name was listed for bounced checks. To this day, everytime it is time to pay for something my husband magically slips away....he actually thinks my debit card will accidentally bounce.

Frances said...

My husband and I both have a serious aversion to returning things, but I think it is akin to procrastination. I have a large pile of Wal-Mart and Target returns that should have been made right after Christmas. They'll end up in my summer yard sale, if I ever get around to having one.

The Tremendous Thomas Family said...

Same sofa same problem same solution! We thought we were the only ones who felt like giants on our new piece of furniture!

The Outlaw Mom said...

This is an all too funny post! Unfortunately my stories would not be about my husband, but about me and my mom! Years ago, my mom once confided in me in hushed tones, "I love shopping here. They never ever ask me why I'm returning something." I could see that she was relieved to share her confession with me, and it's hilarious looking back on it now because after reading your post I realize that it's a crazy idiosyncrasy I share with her! (Probably because we have been known to purchase three shopping bags full of merchandise only to return 90% of it! Come on, everyone knows you need to try it on at home first - isn't that why they invented credit cards?)

barefootquilter said...

No good stories because my husband won't return stuff. But he also won't try on clothes in the store. Go figure.

Alana Tolley said...

No stories yet, just the fact that my husband absolutely refuses to make any phone calls or that would make him feel like he's talking to a stranger. "But honey, you're just so much better at it!" Psh!