Shopping For Furniture

A brief overview…

We wanted to buy two comfy chairs and an ottoman for an upstairs bedroom that we’re turning into what I call a sitting room– or as Zen-Den refers to it, the un-bedroom.  [The man is very literal.]

Because the bedroom is up the stairs, around a corner, and has a small doorway, the size of the chairs was our primary concern.

After much… much… much searching online and on foot, we ended up with three possible chairs that would fit into the room.  One was at Crate & Barrel.  The other two were at Ethan Allen.

The Top Five Reasons Why We Bought Our New Furniture At Crate & Barrel… And Not At Ethan Allen 

Number 5 –  Crate & Barrel was less expensive than Ethan Allen.  Not by much, but a little bit.

Number 4 – Crate & Barrel had a better selection of fabric than Ethan Allen.  Fewer choices, but more current colors.

Number 3 – Crate & Barrel allowed us (encouraged us, even) to take fabric samples home so that we could see how our chairs/ottoman would look in all kinds of light, night and day, in our house.  Ethan Allen wouldn’t let us have even one sample to take home and required us to make an appointment with one of their designers who would bring the fabric samples to our house for one hour; during which time we were to decide which fabric to use on our furniture.

Number 2 – Crate & Barrel sales associates were knowledgeable about the furniture on the sales floor as well as all the items online and in their catalogues.  Our request to see certain chairs that I’d researched online before going to the store confused the Ethan Allen designers;  they couldn’t find one of the two chairs on the sales floor (or in their catalogue) to show us.

Number 1 – Crate & Barrel sales associates were friendly, hip, and encouraging with lots of good decorating ideas.  Ethan Allen designers were uptight and high-handed.  They seemed weirdly disinterested in selling furniture to us– or anyone else in the store, for that matter.  So, we walked out the door and didn’t go back.

[Hello FTC!  I know that posts like this worry you, so let me assure you that I/we have received no money or other compensation for the above endorsements.  This is just my take on what happened to us when we went shopping in these stores in our city.  Feeling less worried now FTC?  Good.] 

9 thoughts on “Shopping For Furniture

  1. Ethan Allen’s loss, clearly. I can’t believe they weren’t more helpful. People making large purchases NEED to be able to take samples home!!


  2. Helena, you’re so right. No way were we going to spend big $$$ without seeing the fabric at home for a few days. The whole vibe in the store was: “go away now– you’re bothering us.”


  3. Sounds like you made the right choice! Don’t know why people work in sales if they’re not enthusiastic/familiar with their merchandise. Hope you’ll post pictures when your sitting room is finished.


  4. Can’t wait to see pictures. I always thought that those kind of sales people worked on commission—maybe not. Glad you had choices.


  5. Tara, I don’t know why the EA designers were even there in the store. All they wanted to do was come to the house– and then push something onto us, I suppose. Very weird.

    Beth, good point about working on commission. From my experience I’d say that they don’t.


  6. I look forward to photos too! Hard to believe in today’s economic climate that the people at EA wouldn’t be more accommodating or at least CIVIL. If it were me, I would call up and talk to the manager of that store. I’m big on venting. 😉


  7. Margaret, I used to vent like that about customer service, but I came to believe that nothing much came from my efforts. So now I just walk away from the situation. If the topic comes up in conversation, I’ll tell whoever I’m with about what happened to me– or write about it here on the blog. But for the most part I just let it go, and move on. I’ve mellowed with age!


  8. Sounds like that Ethan Allen store was in that weird place some companies inhabit when they have been around a long time. They reach the point where they think the product is so good there is no need to do anything special to sell it. If your are a true Ethan Allen customer you do things the Ethan Allen way and if not, so what? You’re not really an Ethan Allen person at all.


  9. la p, you’ve explained the situation perfectly. I didn’t pick up on that, but you’re so right: their way or the highway. We only went in there because they had the size of chairs that we needed– not for any love of EA. And they chased us out of there, post haste.


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