Buying from Furniture in the Raw

Elise and I decided that we were going to buy each other a TV armoire for Valentine’s Day. We really needed one because our current particle board ‘entertainment center’ is from Walmart and on it’s very last leg. It wasn’t loaded properly during the move and it’s literally about to fall apart. If someone were to bump into it, it wouldn’t surprise me if it crumbled, breaking the TV, DVD, VCR and stereo head unit. So we decided we were going to buy a solid piece of furniture. I set aside a little money and out we went, to find our armoire.

We went to a couple warehouses in south Austin. We didn’t find anything we wanted. We then drove up Burnet Road and stopped in at Furniture in the Raw. Elise found the armoire she wanted. I liked it as well. Taking a few steps back, nobody greeted us when we walked into the showroom. We examined the armoire for a while and asked Elise “Is this the one you want?” She said “Yes.” No salesman had approached us yet. I looked around and raised my eyebrows at a couple salesmen. No one came over. Elise wanted to look around a little bit so I leaned against the armoire. Finally a salesman walked by me. I stared him down as he was walking my way. In passing he asked: “Everything alright?” I said: “What do I need to do to get someone to sell me this piece of furniture?” Chris stopped what he was doing and we talked. I haggled a little. After a talking to his manager, he said he could only come down $30. Keep in mind, this armoire was about $200 more than what I was thinking we were going to spend. Anyway, I asked and they did come down a little. We figured that was better than paying the sticker price (which indicated that the armoire was marked down 50% – ahem).

I wrote a check for the armoire and had it scheduled to be delivered on February 25th. As we were walking out of the showroom, we found a rustic hideaway bar. We both fell in love with it and knew exactly where it would go in the house. It was like a little treasure we had found so we decided to buy it as well. I had to pull from the iBook fund so we could buy the bar, but we both really liked it. I went and found Chris and told him we wanted to buy the bar. I told him he had better give me a good deal on this bar because I just spent a lot of money on a matching TV armoire. After another trip to talk to his manager, Chris came back with another minimal discount. We really should have walked away. We didn’t though. Chris said he couldn’t come down any further.

I went back to the cashier and wrote another check. Elise was able to get the manager to give us a bag full of free cabinet and drawer pulls. We’d spent a little more money than we had set out to, but we were happy.

So Elise went to a meeting in Pflugerville yesterday morning and stopped in at the Oak and Pine Superstore in north Austin. She found the exact armoire for $213 less than what we paid. She was upset when she called me at work. I was angry. She told me that the Oak and Pine Superstore could order our hideaway bar for $200 less as well. The first thing that came to mind was that we’ll get our money back from Furniture in the Raw. I went home during lunch and checked our invoices. Furniture in the Raw has a 7 day refund policy. Yesterday was day 8. I was becoming more and more frustrated. I thought I would have to accept the fact that we got screwed in our furniture purchase.

We drove to Furniture in the Raw after work last night. I talked to the sales manager and told him our situation. I told him that we just bought a house and we get to furnish it in the coming years. I told him that we’ve bought from FITR before (not true) and liked the service and quality of furniture we’d received (also not true). He was very friendly and understanding but said that this situation was above him. He took the catalog numbers of the armoire and bar from the Oak and Pine Superstore and said he would have the owner of FITR call me tomorrow.

So Harriette, the owner of FITR called me this morning. I didn’t mention anything to her about our situation, I just let her talk. She told me that she would match the price on the bar and come down $70 more on the armoire. I didn’t like that and was about to say something when she told me that the armoire that Elise found at the Oak and Pine Superstore was 12″ less in width and height than the armoire we purchased from FITR. I had Harriette give me a can of wood wax and was happy.

So, kudos to FITR for matching a competitor’s price after our refund period had expired. If we shop there again it will be because they charge less than the Oak and Pine Superstore for shipping. But we’ll go to the Oak and Pine Superstore first and get a quote to take with us.

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