I was at the tanning salon this afternoon (I know, okay? I know) and the Jersey Shore extra behind the counter asked me if I was interested in purchasing any pre- or post-tanning lotions. For the, like, totally affordable price of only $55, she told me, I could get a bottle of “Epicurious Natural Bronzing Lotion,” which has, like, natural ingredients in it.

Fifty-five dollars? For a bottle of something that looks like it’s normally used on a porn set? No thanks, I said. She asked what kind of daily moisturizer I used and I shrugged and said I thought it was something from The Body Shop.

Ohhhh, she said, in a Dramatic Tone. Yeah, see, some lotions, like the ones from Body Shop? They have this one ingredient that totally pulls the tan from your skin. Yeah, it really sucks. So, like, that’s why we recommend our lotions.

It’s quite unfortunate that the exact lotion I happen to use has this side effect of magically lightening skin tone, although perhaps had Michael Jackson known about the results of using coconut-scented Body Butter, he could have saved a boatload of cash back in the day.

In other news of weekend bullshittery, JB and I visited a furniture store yesterday to look for something to replace one of our horribly uncomfortable destroyed-by-children couches. We found one that seemed to be decent, and it had a pricetag we thought we could live with.

This is vinyl, right? asked JB, running his hand over its surface.

Oh no, said the sales guy. Nope, that one’s leather.

You sure? JB asked, incredulous.

Definitely, the guy assured us. 100% leather. Super durable. Did I mention we can deliver this in two days? Or you could take the floor model, save a couple bucks.

It wasn’t until we were at home researching the tag info we’d snapped a photo of that we realized it was bonded leather. Basically pieces of scrap leather puréed with plastic. Virtually guaranteed to peel or scratch or generally look like shit after a couple of rambunctious kids get near it.

I get it, I guess. I get that people work on commission and they just want to make the sale right then, because if you walk out the door the chances become much smaller that you’re ever going to come back with checkbook in hand. But, see, why not be truthful, and hope for some loyalty in return? Tell me what the cheap couch is made of and explain what that means, maybe steer me towards something else. Commiserate with me over the ridiculousness of a fifty-five-dollar lotion and maybe I’ll like your business so much I’ll buy another month of deliberately exposing my rapidly-aging body to ultraviolet radiation.

You know?

Anyway, instead of shopping around for more furniture options, we decided to swap around the chairs we already have. We moved the (actual) leather couches from the front room to the TV room, and the squashed fabric couch and pretty-but-not-super-comfy yellow chair into the front room where we rarely sit. I suppose there’s always a chance Dylan attacks the cowhide with scissors, but I guess I’m willing to risk it if the payoff is not feeling like my lower back is going to be permanently damaged from slumping on toddler-mashed cushions.

Top photos are before (and they were taken with a vastly superior camera, so pardon the many discrepancies in lighting and whatnot), bottom photos are what it looks like now.



I still sort of wish we could just go out and upgrade our furniture and re-paint some walls and maybe have a few less IKEA-purchased items and shit, have a talented designer come swooping in and magically awesome-fy my entire goddamned house…on the other hand, I’m glad we figured out how to make do with our existing stuff.

It’s so hard, sometimes, to resist the pull of want. Although in the case of fifty-five dollar body lotion, not so much.


47 Responses to “Hard sell”

  1. Kelsey on March 20th, 2011 7:40 pm

    It looks good – I like the darker couches in the room w/ the light carpet and vice versa – though Lord knows I’m no decorator.

    Our house is furnished in the style of, “Yes please, we’ll take that couch/chair/table you’re getting rid of,” and often I want to toss the lot of it and get pretty sets of matching things. But, why?

    The buying will be fun, bill-paying not so much, and I don’t see it actually making me any happier.

    Also? $55 for lotion? Uh, no. Just no.

  2. somegirl on March 20th, 2011 7:43 pm

    See, I think I’d rearrange my life to sit in that awesome front room more! :)

    But yeah I totally get you. I have been taking some bloggers’ advice to “shop around” my own house. I am always moving and re-purposing stuff.

    But we totally need new couches. Ours are pretty old, and I’m tired of the constant sand puddle under them that’s from all the stuff inside breaking down! The other day I sat down and nearly broke my back on some surprise protuberance that wasn’t even a toy.

  3. Kristin on March 20th, 2011 7:45 pm

    How about when stores want you to freaking get their cards every time you shop there? Honestly, the other day, I was thinking I might not go shopping anymore, cause I’m so sick of BS-ing why I don’t want their stupid card. I just would like to purchase the stuff and go. Is that so much to ask!? Sorry…. :-)

  4. Kris on March 20th, 2011 7:45 pm

    Yowza – I *want* that yellow chair. My butt is probably too big for it & it looks like your back sits at a weird angle while in it; but it looks classy. Something which does NOT go with the “goldfish crackers and chocolate milk stains” motif we currently have going on.

  5. Nikki on March 20th, 2011 7:48 pm

    Oh god, the PULL of want is evil… My husband and I have always wanted a MacBook and just can’t justify spending our tax return on one this year… Responsibilities suck. Everytime I want to skype I have to turn on the slow ass Dell pc and when I want to surf the internet I have to use the much faster, but shit else is installed on, the ancient iMac. At which point I give up on it all after 10 unsuccessful minutes and get pissed all over again that we can’t buy what we want! Lol… Grrr.

  6. Liz on March 20th, 2011 8:16 pm

    Okay, seriously. How do you keep your house so clean? Live-in maid?

  7. Marie Green on March 20th, 2011 8:16 pm

    Wow, that really works. Both rooms look great, and you get comfy-er couches for tv watching. WIN! I totally get the want vs. make due battles. But I also find it totally satisfying to figure out a solution w/o spending any money. In fact, it makes me feel smug.

  8. Courtney on March 20th, 2011 8:38 pm

    I hate the sell. I worked retail, and I tried to always keep in mind that if the customer had questions, they knew how to ask. I was damn good at it too, with a number of commendations from the boss.

    Now, I just want to look the salesperson in the eye and tell them “tell me the truth about how shitty this lotion or couch is, and maybe I’ll give you points for honesty.”

  9. Kristin C. on March 20th, 2011 8:41 pm

    I think the switch up looks awesome! Great job!

  10. Ashleas on March 20th, 2011 8:54 pm

    Oh my god, I’m a cashier at a larger hardware store. Starts with Home and rhymes with Lego. The amount of things my supervisors wants us to say to the customers is so outrageous most of us just refuse to do it. There’s hello, how can we help you today? Are you all set? Would you like to use your Home Lego Card today? You don’t have one? Would you be interested in applying for one and receiving 10% off batteries, lightbulbs, trash bags and air filters? Also we have a 6/12 month promotion going on if you purchase over $299, no interest! Would you like to purchase the extended protection (insert plan type) here today? It covers..

    Okay, I’m not going to type it all out. BUT IT’S CRAZY. The only thing I do is I say Hi, what can I do for you? I occasionally ask them if they want to use their card if she’s lurking around.. and I tell them about the survey. That’s it. If the Protection plan appears, I ask about it, but the moment someone says No.. I stop, I thank them, and I move on. X.x Good god, people don’t want to hear that shit..

  11. Megan on March 20th, 2011 9:11 pm

    Your books appear to be organized by color. That is awesome.
    I’m a librarian. Always wanted to do that, but it’s sort of impossible if you’re dealing with thousands of books because you’d never be able to find the one you want.
    But on a small bookshelf, it looks really cool.

  12. sooboo on March 20th, 2011 9:35 pm

    You have a really pretty house and I think the new redo looks great. The light and dark contrasts of carpet and furniture are more equal. I need a couch too and we’ll probably get one from ikea and buy a nicer, custom slipcover online. I never bought a couch in my life until I was 30 and I realized, couches are fricken expensive!

  13. Leslie on March 20th, 2011 9:44 pm

    I think your home looks great – always have. And it is hard to resist the urge of want – I have lists of “wants” a mile long for every room in my house.

  14. Kami on March 20th, 2011 11:32 pm

    I like it a lot! I really think it looks better this way, awesome job!

  15. NancyJ on March 21st, 2011 3:19 am

    We’ve spent our married life repurposing things! I think I’ve had 3 new pieces of furniture in 23 years – but I’m not complaining. We’ve even swapped a kitchen table and chairs with friends for a couch!
    I realized long ago buying things won’t make me happier, it just gives me another bill to pay. My husband on the other hand, not so much.

  16. Barbara on March 21st, 2011 3:28 am

    It looks fabulous! I’ve coveted that yellow chair for years. Maybe you have in the past, and if so I missed it, but I’d love to hear the story of how you acquired it, and its history if you know it.

  17. Eric's Mommy on March 21st, 2011 4:02 am

    The switch looks really good.

    I could never have a job where I had to sell stuff like that and especially work off of commission. I would totally tell the truth about everything and probably get fired.

  18. Kate on March 21st, 2011 5:08 am

    Your house simply looks Awesome with all that furniture and the entire lay out is beautiful! You must have taken interior designing during your college days ? Did u ? lol ! You have a very good knowledge house decor. :)
    The House Personality Test
    What portion of the house are you?

  19. Sharon on March 21st, 2011 5:20 am

    WE have had leather couches and chairs in our tv room for 8 years. My boys are 9 and 6 and we have a big dog. The leather has held up beautifully. I can just wipe up the spills. So far no one has tried scissors on the leather.

  20. Allison on March 21st, 2011 5:23 am

    My three year old son used pen to draw volcanos(with smiling faces) all over our leather ottoman. We had a leather restorer come out and he said that the ink basically TATOOED the hide, and maybe after three special treatments, it would be less noticeable. We decided to just keep it as is. Beware the Bic!

  21. Krissa on March 21st, 2011 5:41 am

    My dad has been in sales for all of ever. One of the things he always told us about sales is that people HATE being sold things – but they LOVE buying things. If you can help someone buy something, you’ll end up with loyal customers.

    Both of your examples, they were just trying to sell you something, and it was obvious.

  22. Melissa on March 21st, 2011 6:00 am

    Is there some reason you couldn’t just get new cushion inserts for the couch? Cheaper than buying a new one and you don’t risk the nice leather one.

  23. Nancy on March 21st, 2011 6:43 am

    I’m such a nerd… I love the color grouping in your bookcase! And those windows with all the sunlight *swoon*

  24. Mel on March 21st, 2011 6:48 am

    OK, yank the cushions off of that couch and go find yourself a refinisher. My hubby was sick and tired of our toddler squashed cushions and threw them in the back of his car on his way to work one day. 3 days later they where back stuffed with new foam. That couch is everyone’s favorite now.

    I realize that your cushions have been gone at with scissors. So perhaps the refinisher can suggest someone to sew you new ones. Then you can pick new material that you love and you’ll get some of that “new” feeling without all of the expense!

  25. Nik-Nak on March 21st, 2011 6:54 am

    Love the new arrangement. I’m dying for a new couch but I guess I have to wait until next year, the flower beds are calling my name right now.

    Also, I am having to take up tanning for an upcoming wedding I am to be and what the heck? I was informed all of my current moisturizers RUIN the QUALITY of my tan. So I just told her it was a good thing I forgot to apply them half the time. Then I got the lip for not moisturizing properly. You never win with these people.

    And another also…I LOVE your supermoon pictures. It was super cloudy at our house that night so we didn’t get a very good view. Made it not quite so “super” for us.

  26. Lisa M. on March 21st, 2011 7:23 am

    OMG, do I hear you on salespeople spouting nonsense. I need a new mattress, and went to check out latex ones, and the salesperson at *Beepy’s* (not the real name) told me that the Dr. Breus (the “sleep doctor”) mattresses are 100% latex, or 100% latex and soy (depending on the model). Heh, not so much. Some kind people snapped photos of the mattress tags (do not remove, or you will be sent to Gitmo) and posted them to the internet, and guess what? Senor Sleep Doctor’s mattresses are ~80% poly fill, just like most mattresses, only with the added pleasure of 500% markup! Argh!

  27. Olivia on March 21st, 2011 7:24 am

    This weekend my husband went to a Kinko’s for something and while he was there he asked how much their printer ink was. The saleswoman told him and then said, “but you’ll find it much cheaper at Office Max.” Awesome. He told her how much he appreciated her honesty, and that he will be much more willing to do business with them in the future.

    Love the new furniture set up. It is hard to resist just buying something because we want a change, but it can be really satisfying.

  28. Jenny on March 21st, 2011 7:45 am

    The switch looks great! We, too, are in the position of making do with what we have rather than just replacing it. Sometimes I’d like to be able to just buy a rug or a piece of art because it would make me feel good. But then I feel guilty because buying things (or eating things, or drinking things)shouldn’t make me feel good.

  29. Keri on March 21st, 2011 7:48 am

    Love your way of organizing your books on the bookshelf….by color!! Awesome.

  30. Faith on March 21st, 2011 8:13 am

    We have bonded leather sofas and the “leather” part has actually held up really well (although we don’t have rambunctious kids yet) but the part that hasn’t is the actual filling or stuffing or whatever it is inside a sofa that’s supposed to make it comfy. Now it droops in the middle and you can feel the frame with your butt… Probably a good choice not to cheap out for the sake of cosmetics. I think your solution’s pretty genius!

  31. Maureen on March 21st, 2011 8:22 am

    I love your house! It looks so uncluttered, how do you do it?

    What Krissa said above-her Dad’s motto that people hate being sold things, but they love buying things-that is me to a T. As soon as I get a sales vibe from someone, forget it. If they answer my questions, if they seem more invested in figuring out if the product is right for me, rather than the sale-I’m in.

  32. janet on March 21st, 2011 8:43 am

    I love your coffee table.

  33. tonya on March 21st, 2011 8:59 am

    I worked at a grocery store for several years while in college and kept it for a while during my first after college job. I was extremely honest with people looking for items if they could find that particular item at Target, Wal-Mart, or (horror!) a competing grocery store. Every single time, people said they came back to our store because I was honest with them….and they knew I’d help them find what they wanted.

  34. Marolyn on March 21st, 2011 9:01 am

    I re-arranged my bookshelves according to color last week. Ever since I saw you do this… years(?) ago Ive been wanting to tackle mine.
    Thanks !
    oh and btw I would say don’t buy new furniture until the boys are a tad bit older! We didn’t buy leather until our son was in high school.

  35. Em on March 21st, 2011 10:25 am

    I think the furniture looks good the way you rearranged it.

    I am totally with you. Our couch has been so destroyed by the cat, there are metal pieces sticking out at odd angles from the back of the couch. I cover it with a blanket, but pointed out to my husband that this is not baby safe. With number one due in May, it is definitely time to buy a new couch. He still thinks it’s fine how it is, though. Whatever. :)

  36. Erica on March 21st, 2011 10:28 am

    I read this guy’s book about science:


    and he had a great section on lotion and how most of it is just crap. I’ve used cetaphil cream ever since (even on my FACE) and really, it’s fine. Saves me money, works, screws the man.

  37. Kate on March 21st, 2011 10:34 am

    I had no idea bonded leather existed, but you just explained why my “leather” couch is such a piece of crap. We couldn’t figure it out when it seemed like the leather was wearing off. Just the right amount of time has passed that it doesn’t make me angry, just pleased that I know the reason and what to avoid next time.

    The guy who sold it to us was obviously of the same ilk as the guy who tried to sell one to you. You and JB are just better consumers than my husband and I are. We’re working on that.

  38. Judy on March 21st, 2011 10:37 am

    I’ve been couch shopping for a couple of months. What I have is a loveseat I paid $50 for at a used furniture place 5 years ago, I think I’ve gotten my money’s worth, and I want something I can stretch out on to read and fall asleep. I just can’t find anything I like. I’m pretty much limiting myself to $600, but price doesn’t matter, everything is ugly, square and brown. Square and brown is fine if you have kids or you like square and brown, but I had to be practical for nearly 50 years and now I want feminine and pretty. If I could have a sofa of spun moonbeams and unicorn smiles, that’s what I’d buy. I’ve finally decided to give up on new and start hitting Salvation Army and Goodwill. I didn’t go this weekend because it would have meant putting on shoes and a bra. Maybe I can hit them on the way home from work, when I’m wearing those instruments of torture anyway.

  39. Sunshyn on March 21st, 2011 11:20 am

    I’m 57. I SO wish I had never tanned. You can say you “know.” But you don’t. You can’t, not until your skin looks older than you are, and you can’t go back for a do over.

  40. Stephanie on March 21st, 2011 11:51 am

    This is why I love/hate going to open houses. I get great ideas when they are staged right, but if it’s a REALLY nice house I start doing the number and think…maybe we can afford to buy this place? But there isn’t anything wrong with our house. It’s cozy and we have great neighbors. And we are living a bit below our means which is nice. I need to delete the Realtor.com app off of my iPhone

  41. Sarah on March 21st, 2011 1:58 pm

    I have to say the one thing I have honestly loved about the economic downturn is that instead of feeling oddly ASHAMED and like a cheapskate when they tried to save money or just say no to unnecessary purcahses/upgrades/vacations, now people feel smart and proud and not at all embarrassed. I think this has been a very good thing for our society. It’s like, “Hey, now we’re ALL checking out yardsales and trying to go a few more weeks between haircuts and we’re mowing our own lawns etc etc etc!” And maybe we feel just a little bit better about ourselves, even if we do still sigh walking past new furniture. I think wishing for a new sofa is just about universal among parents of small kids. Heck, I wish for TWO new sofas.

  42. Sarah on March 21st, 2011 4:56 pm

    Like the previous Sarah, we too wish for two new sofas. Gramma and toddler spend most of every day at our house while we work and it hasn’t been kind to the sofas. Poor aqua blue microfiber former beauties are now just crumb crusted shells of their former selves.

    Next time, if there ever is one, i am going with fully slipcovered in a washable, bleachable fabric.

  43. bj on March 21st, 2011 5:28 pm

    OK, can you come to my house and rearrange my furniture?

    I think the exchange is fabulous and that the yellow chair with red rug and the walls (are they yellow, too?) in the front room are very sharp looking together. The leather couches look great in the family room, too

  44. CJ on March 22nd, 2011 3:57 am

    Those tan lotions are ridic and the sales tactics are pushy. The one time I mystic-tanned I made sure the lady knew I was only doing it because I was getting married so there would be no repeat biz from me!

  45. Emily on March 22nd, 2011 10:05 am

    When I was going tanning before my wedding, they also tried selling me the $55-$95 lotion. I said, “No, thanks. I have a lotion I like.” It was actually a lotion from a few years previous, and when I showed it to her, she literally gasped and said, “OOHHHH, that’s expired! Do you know the damage you could, like, cause to your body? Totally dangerous.”

    Convincing right? I told her that the damage I was doing to my body tanning was far worse than the lotion could ever do haha. That seemed to shut her up :)

  46. Jess on March 22nd, 2011 6:14 pm

    Go to Sally Beauty Supply, they have a line of nice smelling lotions that are made for the tanning bed. They run $6-$9. I have one called Shimmer and it seems to work better than the Designer Skin one I bought off of Amazon for $25. (My tanning salon tried to charge $95 for it!!! WTF!)

  47. Gnometree on March 23rd, 2011 4:59 pm

    Hey! you stole Sheldons sofa!

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