We left the story where the wrong sofas were delivered and the delivery men said to keep them as they vanished before you could say
couch potato. Following is the worst of the story.
I immediately phoned Sklar-Peplar to find out what happened. C also phoned. Of course, we got the always irritating voice mail. Since we are valued customers and our calls are important to them… Yeah, right. C finally managed to make contact with another human being. This person checked with manufacturing. They acknowledged having the correct order number. Yet, for reasons known to no-one on this planet, they made the wrong sofa and love seat. It was going to take another 8 weeks until I got the set I ordered. Naturally, the loaners were probably the most uncomfortable sofas in the history of sofas.
After another few weeks, my desk was ready to be delivered. At least I could finally get the rest of my life in order. Not so fast. The finish on the desk had not gassed off thus being unfit to keep in the living room. Living in an apartment, I could not put it outdoors to gas off. I moved it into a spare room with an open window and a fan blowing out. It took about two weeks for the toxic fumes to dissipate. Finally, I was able to move the desk into the living room and become fully organized again. I was grateful for that.
Next, I got a phone call from Sklar-Peplar. Were my sofas ready? No. They hadn’t even begun to make them. They suddenly decided they needed photographs of the loaner sofas. This was beyond absurd. Even the person from the service department had no idea why the photos were requested. The most likely explanation was that they forgot about my order and suddenly found the paperwork. Whatever the stupid excuse, the bottom line was it would be yet another 8 weeks.
My body was becoming misaligned sitting on the loaners. It was like sitting on a molehill that was starting to grow into a mountain. A few more weeks went by when C phoned. Neither of us had heard anything from Sklar-Peplar. We decided to drive back to the showroom on a Monday. There was the floor model of my sofa. Sitting right next to it was a brand-new matching love seat. Say what? If the showroom got one, where was mine? Surely, my order was placed at least a decade before the showroom’s. Feeling our frustration and growing impatience, Liz (the main sales person) said if I wanted the floor models, they would deliver them on Thursday. We had her check with manufacturing to see how much longer until the new ones would be ready and if there was a discount on the floor models. It seems the new set would not be ready for delivery for another 6 weeks and yes, there was a discount on the floor models. The thought of sitting on what was fast becoming Mt. Everest, for another 6 weeks freaked me out. The floor models to go, please.
Thursday arrived. The sofas did not. I phoned Sklar-Peplar, but only got voice mail. I phoned Friday and Monday with the same results. I was beginning to believe I had slipped into the Twilight Zone or some parallel universe. This couldn’t really be happening. Tuesday morning Liz phoned to let me know that the new sofa set was due to arrive any minute and did I want the new set or the floor models. Delivery would be on Thursday. I said as long as the new ones were coming, I would take them. Late Tuesday afternoon, Liz phoned again. Delivery was being postponed to Saturday. I asked her if the new set was in. Not yet, but they were coming any minute. I phoned again Thursday to see if the new ones had arrived. Not yet. Liz phoned the warehouse. The sofas had left on the transport the first of the week. Liz talked with the transport people who said the furniture would be in first thing Friday morning for sure. Considering the recent chain of events, I was not taking any bets on Saturday’s delivery. I phoned Sklar-Peplar around noon on Friday. Liz was off. Michael was there and said he had the shipping order stating the furniture was due in that morning, but it was not there. He also thought I was getting both the new set and the floor models. This was getting more bizarre by the minute. I clarified I only wanted the new set. Furthermore, if the new set did not arrive he should cancel Saturday’s delivery.
Saturday arrived. The sofas did not. Where was that transport? It was only about an hour from the warehouse in Whitby to the showroom in Toronto. Was that area the new Bermuda triangle? This sofa fiasco just trumped the mattress debacle.
The following Tuesday Sklar-Peplar phoned. The new pieces had arrived and would be delivered on Saturday between 10:00am and 1:00pm. Déjà vu all over again! I felt like I was living out a never-ending cosmic do-over. Saturday came quickly. Would they get it right this time? My friend, D stopped by to wait with me.
Ten o’clock came and went. Eleven o’clock came and went. At 11:30 hunger pangs arrived but not the furniture. We decided to go out for a sandwich. Who knew when or even if the sofas would show up? Just as we went to put on our jackets, the phone rang. It was the delivery men saying they were going to start bringing up the furniture. D assured me I was not hallucinating. This was, at last, the real thing.
I was filled with uber relief as I muttered a good riddance to the departing loaners. In came my beautiful very long-awaited sofa and love seat. They now sit most comfortably in my living room with dark coffee bean legs. Really? Some say dark coffee bean is the new natural wood. Sure. Why not?
My good friend Will Shakespeare used to say, “All’s well that ends well.” So, Will, how much sofa and mattress shopping did you ever do between writing platitudes?
Comments are welcomed.
“The difference between fiction and reality? Fiction has to make sense.” – Tom Clancy
This sorry tale began some time ago. After 14 years of enjoyable lying down on and sitting on my sofa and love seat, it seemed time for a new set. The decision to actually go for it was a difficult one. After all, we had been through a lot together – my sofa, love seat and me. There were the days of watching the Blue Jays win the 1993 World Series; our first Christmas with them in the apartment; entertaining friends; finding evidence that the cat preferred the sofa to his scratching post; cuddling with my first grandchild. The list goes on. Being in our second apartment for nine years, it was definitely time for some changes. My reluctance to actually go shopping was two-fold. First, the sofa and love seat were still in remarkably good condition for their age and adventures. Secondly, I purchased the set, brand new, for a whopping $600. Where could I find a good sofa and love seat in today’s market for anything remotely close to that price for even one of the pieces? Not.
After many months of agonizing, I finally decided the time was nigh. Here’s the thing. It is not possible to purchase a sofa set independent of everything else in the room. This means that suddenly you are thinking about repainting the walls, new drapes, flooring, the other furniture in the room. Visions of dollar signs started running helter-skelter in my head. I heard a drawer open. My bank book leapt onto my desk and started screaming at me.
I told my bank book to be quiet and get back in the drawer. I hadn’t spent anything yet.
Being properly prepared for making a big, long-lasting purchase is the best way to minimize shopping induced migraines. Off I went with measurements of the current sofas, height and width of doorways and a sample of my carpet which was not being replaced. Unfortunately, I was limited by the size of the doorway that would be used for delivery. The doorway was best suited for Hobbits. After a couple of unsuccessful furniture forays, I phoned a designer friend. She had a business arrangement with Sklar-Peplar. C (my designer friend) and I took a drive out to the showroom. I had a good feeling about this trip. The first sofa I sat on I knew was the one. We measured it. It measured up. I still tried every piece of furniture in the entire showroom to be sure. Returning to the first sofa, I said I would go with that one and its matching love seat. Selecting the materials for the sofa and throw pillows turned out to be a simple process. I really like the color and material of the floor model. One of the complementary fabrics for the throw pillows would pull all the colors of sofa, carpet, walls together. I even got to choose whether the legs for the furniture be a natural wood or a dark coffee bean. Natural wood, please. The transaction of purchase was completed and I was to get my new sofa and love seat in about 8 weeks. That allowed time to get the living room repainted and select new drapery material. That part also went smoothly.
One day I was sitting in the living room envisioning the new sofas with the freshly painted walls and new drapery. Something did not feel right. My old wall unit, an old end table and a falling apart desk no longer seemed to fit. A few years prior I had purchased a solid oak, Mission style coffee table. I had been dreaming of also replacing the aforementioned pieces with more oak Mission style units. Why not go for the whole enchilada? I never had brand new solid wood furniture of my choosing before. This would be that once in a lifetime opportunity. Off I went to Early Canadian Furniture. I found exactly what I had hoped for. The wall unit and desk would be custom made. They would be ready just about the same time as the sofa set. I even decided to ignore my bank book which was having a nervous breakdown in its drawer. I’m not a very impulsive person, but again, this was a once in a lifetime event.
Everything was moving along so well. Too well, I suppose, for the forces of evil.
I received a phone call on a Monday, notifying me that the wall unit and desk would be delivered on Thursday. Then I received a phone call notifying me the sofa set would be delivered on Friday. Living in the disorder of not having all my stuff where it belonged was starting to wear on me. Thursday came as did the wall unit, but not the desk. It wasn’t ready and would be another month. This was the first in a series of aggravations. The next day the sofa set was delivered. OMG! They brought the wrong set. The delivery guys said to keep it until it gets straightened out and they were gone in a flash.
The throw pillows were correct. Go figure.
Please return next week for the rest of the story. You will not believe what actually happened.
Comments are welcomed.
A Secret Valentine’s Day Projectile
I happened to catch a TV ad from a jewelry store promoting their diamonds for Valentine’s Day. (Surely, that's the first item on everyone's Valentine gift list.) Suddenly several thoughts popped into my head. These thoughts inspired me to invite you to journey back to childhood for a few moments and join me in a game we often played called, Let’s Pretend. No, we are not going to pretend we could go out and purchase the Hope Diamond or anything like that. This game is more of a hope for the world. You see, my very first thought was Robert Fulghum’s quote about crayons: “Maybe we should develop a Crayola bomb as our next secret weapon. A happiness weapon. A beauty bomb. And every time a crisis developed, we would launch one. It would explode high in the air - explode softly - and send thousands, millions, of little parachutes into the air. Floating down to earth - boxes of Crayolas. And we wouldn’t go cheap, either - not little boxes of eight. Boxes of sixty-four, with the sharpener built right in. With silver and gold and copper, magenta and peach and lime, amber and umber and all the rest. And people would smile and get a little funny look on their faces and cover the world with imagination.”
My version would be to have a Valentine missile. It would go off on February 14 sending millions and millions of those tiny parachutes into the skies which would float down to earth with little loving kindness hearts. There would be a saying on each heart like, Be Kind, I Love You, Peace, Let’s Be friends, You Matter, Smile and so on. They would make everyone’s heart open and feel happy and want to get along.
Obviously, we do not have any devices that would explode into heart or crayon carrying parachutes. Yet, there is something we can do in the real world. What if we were to get some heart-shaped post-its, or business sized cards and the like. Next we could write a brief message of positivity on the cards or post-its and randomly leave them at all the stops we make throughout our day. That could include putting one at each family member’s place at the table, one at a colleague’s desk at work, one on the table at a restaurant after a meal. Give one to the postal person, a sales clerk, a service provider, a teacher, a classmate, etc. This is where you get to be creative and imaginative.
Valentine’s Day can be difficult for many people for reasons we can understand. Maybe, just maybe by depersonalizing the day doing little acts of kindness can bring happiness to both your recipients and yourself.
Remember: "All you need is love. But a little chocolate now and then doesn't hurt.” Lucy van Pelt
Comments are welcomed.
We’ve Run Amok With Mascots
Nothing in particular was going on for the day. I sat down at the computer thinking I might write a little something for a blog. But What? Of course, I consulted Prof. Google for some ideas. There are hundreds of potential blog topics that insist will be absolute winners, make you all kinds of money, draw in oodles of followers. Out of the few hundred I scanned, only one word caught my attention. It was mascot. As I contemplated mascot, it became evident there were any number of threads to follow. Back to Prof. Google hoping to zone in on one.
My starting point was the MerriamWebster dictionary for a definition. Mascot: “a person, animal, or object adopted by a group as a symbolic figure especially to bring them good luck.” A personal mascot can come in the form of an amulet, a talisman, a charm and the like.
You may be familiar with some famous sports mascots such as the SanDiego Chicken of the San Diego Padres, the Phillie Phanatic of the Philadelphia Phillies, Benny the Bull of the Chicago Bulls, Sparty of Michigan State, the Oregon Duck of the University of Oregon, Brutus Buckeye of Ohio State to cite a few. When you look at teams from professional sports and colleges there are about a gazillion mascots. Their beginnings go back to the 1880’s.
Then there are the brand mascots also in the gazillions. What really caught my attention was the year of origin as well as how they came into being. Here are some that have not faded with time:
The Quaker Man, Quaker Oats – 1877
The Michelin Man – 1894
Sun Maid Girl for Sun Maid Raisins - 1915
Mr. Peanut by Planters – 1916
Jolly Green Giant – 1928
Elsie the Cow – 1930’s
Smokey the Bear - 1944
Tony the Tiger – 1951
Colonel Sanders - 1952
Mr. Clean – 1958
Pillsbury Dough Boy – 1965
Mario by Nintendo – 1981
Geico Gecko – 2000
In May 1915, a young girl named Lorraine Collett Petersen was asked to pose for a painting while holding a basket tray of fresh grapes. Lorraine had been outside drying her hair in the sun and was wearing a red sun bonnet (which was her mothers’ hat) when asked to pose. The result is the beautiful watercolor painting by artist Fanny Scafford that was originally the face of Sun-Maid Raisins, though the image has been altered during her raisin-reign over the past 100 years to make her appearance more reflective of the times.
The name Sun-Maid was created by advertising executive E.A. Berg in 1915. Berg believed that this name reflected raisins that were simply “made” in the California sun from fresh grapes. The classic “Sun-Maid Girl” trademark has been updated several times over the years but has always stayed true to the original image. An image which has been cherished by consumers around the world for generations.
Lorraine kept the painting and the bonnet until 1974 when she gave them both to Sun-Maid. The bonnet (now pink after years of fading) currently resides at the Smithsonian Institution in Washington, DC after being donated in 1988.
Finally, there’s Morris the Cat, the famous finicky orange tabby, has been the face of 9Lives cat food (a product of Del Monte Foods) since 1969. With the sardonic voice of John Irwin, Morris starred in 58 commercials between 1969-1978, and helped create one of the most successful and memorable advertising campaigns in television history. Over the years, 3 different cats have played Morris. The original Morris was ironically named Lucky when he was discovered in 1968 at the Hinsdale Humane Society in Chicago. In fact, all of the cats to play Morris over the years have been rescues. As the most successful Spokescat in history, Morris had his own personal assistant, received numerous marriage proposals from both felines and humans over the years, and has appeared in several movies as well as TV shows including The Oprah Winfrey Show. Once called the “Clark Gabel of cats,” Morris is said to have been the prototype for the Garfield comic strip. When the original Morris, aka Lucky, died in 1978, his obituary was seen in newspapers all over the country.
Though his early beginnings were in advertising, Morris the Cat is highly regarded for his volunteer work. He’s promoted responsible pet ownership, pet health and pet adoptions through animal shelters across the country, and is an accomplished author. In 2006, he kicked off a campaign known as Morris’ Million Cat Rescue. Throughout his career, Del Monte Foods has gone beyond using Morris as simply a mascot to promote their product. Never forgetting his roots, they have used Morris’ fame to bring awareness to the plight of cats and kittens in animal shelters. “9Lives believes that every cat deserves a forever home. We are so proud of the Morris’ Million Cat Rescue campaign, which successfully placed one million cats in new homes and helped educate the public."