I’ve spoken of it here loosely.
I’ve talked about it on Facebook lightly.
But until now, I’ve not regaled you with the full tale. It’s one of hope. Of expectations. Of let-down. Disappointment. Defeat. Humiliation. And of giving up. Ultimately, it’s not a happy tale.
Let us begin, as all fairy tales do: Once Upon a Time in a Land Far, Far Away lived The Family.
The Family had a dream. A dream of a furnished basement. A place where The Parents could sit and fold laundry while The Children played with toys. A place where movies could be watched and popcorn eaten and family nights made. A place where future friends would come to hang out and The Parents would never have to worry about what The Children were doing while they were away, because they’d be home.
The dream required a couch. One that could seat many people at once. One that could perhaps be used as a place to sleep if many guests stayed the night. One that was comfortable. One that was low maintenance. And lastly, one that was inexpensive. As The Parents were not made of money.
And so a quest had begun.
The Family trekked to the dangerous land of Furniture Store in search of The Couch. Furniture Store was deceptive in its attractive charms. Hundreds of square feet of traps. At first, the traps appeared to be innocent displays. But as The Family approached each display, the evil trolls of Furniture Store reared their faces and said, “Hello, what sort of furniture are you looking for today?”
When The Family said, “We’re just browsing, thanks!”, the trolls hid, but appeared again at each display and tried to catch The Family with the Web of Lies.
“That’s on sale, you know. Today only.”
“Exclusive to our store. You can only get that one here.”
“You won’t find a better deal on that anywhere.”
The Family, thinking they had above-average intelligence, was on to the scams of the trolls and didn’t believe a word. The Family sat on a few couches, used their secret weapon of smiling and nodding, and left the store buying nothing. But they believed they had found The Couch.
A false victory.
The Man of The Family had many talents. Spelunking the depths of the oft-dangerous Cave of Internet one of his best. But on this day, it would fail him. The Man knew the evil trolls of Furniture Store were lying when they said a better deal could not be found elsewhere. And he was right. A better deal was found.
But at what price?
The Man ordered The Couch from The Website of Deception. Being a website of deception, it did not call itself by that name of course. It went by something innocent, like Discount Furniture Website. The man found The Couch and placed the order. The Website of Deception promised, among many things, The Couch’s delivery date would be scheduled in 2-to-4 weeks.
So The Family waited. The Man worked diligently finishing other tasks in the basement so it would be ready for The Couch. He removed the Panels of Ugliness from the walls.
Two-to-four weeks had passed. A messenger sent an email saying delivery of The Couch would happen in 1-to-2 weeks.
And The Family waited.
The Man repaired sheet rock and built a dividing jut in the wall to separate the space from the rest of the basement.
One-to-Two weeks passed.
And still, The Family waited another week, as they understood that sometimes things can be delayed. But after that, they began to worry.
The Man called The Overlords of The Website of Deception and was told, “We are very sorry for the delay, sir. We expect shipment to be in 1-to-2 weeks.”
Thinking this was an annoyance, but not that bad considering the money he saved, The Man went back to work. He removed old ceiling tiles and replaced them. He ordered the equipment necessary to make a home theater.
The Family waited.
One by one the speakers arrived. And the screen. And the 3-D glasses. And the Blu Ray player. But not The Couch.
The Man spoke with The Overlords again and tried to cancel the order. But The Overlords said 30% of The Man’s payment would be sacrificed as a restock fee so long as the delivery was expected to happen in 1-to-2 weeks. Pay no mind to any of the previous 1-to-2 weeks when delivery didn’t happen. Because as of right now, delivery was expected in 1-to-2 weeks.
So The Man went back to work. He primed and painted the walls.
The Family waited.
One-to-two weeks went by.
Still…The Couch had not arrived. The Man was so sick of the lies of The Overlords, he asked to speak with The King. At first, The King was friendly. He said, “Oh! Silly us. The color of couch you want is back ordered. That’s all. If you would switch to the darker color, you could have it much sooner.” The Man, not really caring what color The Couch was, decided this was fine. An agreement was made and all seemed to be peaceful again. The King said The Man could expect delivery of The Couch in…
…you guessed it…1-to-2 more weeks.
So The Man went back to work and performed the magic of lighting and wires.
And The Family waited.
One-to-two weeks passed and Huzzah! The Couch delivery was scheduled. The Woman of The Family waited semi-patiently the day of delivery. Within the agreed upon four-hour window, a delivery was made. The Woman watched as a delivery man unloaded a small square section of The Couch from his truck and she sighed contentedly. Finally. It was here and The Family could move on.
She backed away from the window to attend to The Children who were hungry. She began to make lunch and minutes later there was a knock at the door. The delivery man informed her it was time to inspect the delivery. The Woman thought it was a bit soon, but perhaps the delivery man was faster than she had given him credit for. He was a professional after all.
The Woman went into the garage where the delivery sat (The Website of Deception only provided curbside delivery, one sacrifices convenience for a low, low price). One single square. The very same square which had been unloaded from the truck when The Woman was watching. “Is this it?” she asked. “I thought we ordered a whole couch.”
It was indeed it.
The Woman called The Man and she was not happy. The Man was not happy either, partly because The Woman was not happy, but also because he wanted his entire couch. So he called The King. The King said there must have been some mistake, the rest of The Couch would soon be on its way in…
So The Man went back to work. And The Woman fumed. The Man hung The Screen of the Giants and the home theater was all but complete.
Finally. Another delivery day arrived and the rest of The Couch arrived in its entirety.
The Man laughed. He said, “That was sure a pain, but you know, maybe it was for the best. I wouldn’t have wanted The Couch down there while I was doing all that messy work anyhow.” The Woman shook her head. At least it was over.
Or so they thought.
The day The Family decided to bring The Couch into the basement, The Man made a most unwelcome discovery. The Couch was damaged.
Since they had signed a paper approving the delivery before undoing the miles of shrink-wrap, The Family was informed (by the now evil King) they had to solve this issue on their own. And so The Family had to seek the help of The Knights of Furniture Repair. A few knights valiantly attempted to woo The Family, but in the end only one was selected to perform the service.
The Knight was able. Albeit…weird. And The Woman learned all about his feelings on politics, products made in China, website security, customer service at Best Buy, his nasty divorce, and how much money he had in his bank account and the bank the money was held in. Perhaps this was why The Knight had issues with identity theft. At any rate, despite his rather uncouth personality, The Knight was true to his word and The Couch was repaired.
At the end of the day, The Family spent approximately $125 less than if they had purchased The Couch at Furniture Store. Including the cost of the repair. But not factoring in the cost of their time. They called it a wash and settled in for many a movie night. Because what else could they do? They were a bit embarrassed, defeated, and tired. But ultimately wiser for the experience. They thought perhaps all quests were a bit like this.
The Woman thought the story ended there and thought on several occasions she could tell it to The Villagers [that’s you]. For caution or entertainment she wasn’t sure. But just yesterday, as she was searching for Legos of Evilness, she pushed the ottoman out of the way…and the foot fell off. And she cursed the stupid piece of….
There you have it. The Tale of The Couch.
The moral of the story: Never order furniture from the Cave of Internet and if you do, seek the advice of The Wizards of Better Business Bureau (who could have informed The Family that The Website of Deception had an “F” ranking and they should stay away). And always inspect delivery, even if it will take garden shears and tons of patience to undo the shrink-wrap.