Apparently our couch has reached its maximum saturation point and can no longer absorb liquids and semi-soluble food particles. The stains now have stains, and the cat has been known to spend hours licking the cushions. And the other day when our son sat down and stuck like glue, requiring the fire department to come and cut him out of his pants to freedom, my wife and I figured it might be time to shop for a new one.
Having benefited all my life from pre-stained, secondhand couches, I had never actually been inside a real furniture store, so I was a little uneasy. I didn’t have a clue what a new couch might cost, but I figured we could probably pick up a decent model with mid-range absorbency for, oh, $19.95 or so. I knew we were in trouble, however, when we walked through the front door and were greeted by a sign that read ‘Free Hyundai With Any Purchase.’
The first couch we looked at cost $47,000. My wife started to get a little nervous, but told me most places have a ‘scratch and dent’ section somewhere with reduced prices. I suggested a scratch and sniff model, but she reminded me that our current couch already qualified with no scratching required.
It was all a little overwhelming, but as luck would have it we happened to be shopping in February, a month our forward-thinking Presidents, Abe and George, set aside long ago for the sale of low-interest furniture in honor of their birthdays, so there was some hope.
Out of nowhere a salesman appeared and stuck out his hand. “Hi, folks, I’m Carl. What kind of unit are you looking to take home today?”
Unit? This started to take on a familiar feel. Suddenly all my furniture store anxieties dissolved like a fast-acting suppository. I was back in my element.
My transformation was quick. I let out a dissatisfied sigh, slumped on the arm of the nearest sofa, and reached to pull a cigarette out of the inside pocket of my jacket before I remembered I don’t smoke. My hand came out holding a pack of orange Tic Tacs, which I confidently shook at Carl.
“I don’t know,” I answered, shaking my head as I gazed at the sea of couches around me. “What CAN you show us, Carl?” My wife gave me the same confused look I got the day I asked her to marry me. “We’re looking for a newer pre-owned model, Carl. Emphasis on ‘pre’.”
“Ah, bargain shoppers. I like that,” Carl said. “Follow me, I have a terrific unit that we just took in yesterday. I think you’ll love it.”
“We’ll see about that, Carl.” My wife gazed at me quizzically, wondering where her real husband went.
Carl led us to a decent-looking couch sitting in the back corner of the showroom. “Isn’t she a beauty?” he asked. “This baby is the couch of your dreams. It’s last year’s model and was owned by a sweet old lady who used to sit all day and knit scarves for her grandkids. It’s like new!”
“Is that so?” I asked as I slowly walked around the couch, running my fingers across the fabric. I squatted down in front and let my countless hours of watching CSI go to work. My hands felt their way across the cushions as I tilted my head and nodded slowly. I glanced up at Carl. “Little old lady, huh? The angle and depression of these buttock imprints would indicate an adult male, I’d say approximately 325 lbs.” I turned back to the cushion and squinted. “He wore Wranglers, size 52 waist. There’s a faint Copenhagen ring on the left side. Longcut, wintergreen flavor.”
Tiny beads of sweat appeared on Carl’s forehead. “Really? Uh…there must be some mistake.”
“Can you open her up for me, Carl?”
“Sure thing.” He nervously lifted one of the cushions and I immediately spotted it. Wedged into the crevice below the arm was a fragment of a potato chip. I pulled it out and held it a few inches from my face, turning it slowly for full inspection. I took a few sniffs and touched it lightly against my tongue. Shaking my head, I turned to Carl.
“Do you know what this is, Carl?” I asked. “It’s a Limited Edition Crunchy Dill potato chip, manufactured by Pringles and discontinued in the year 2004.” I flicked the piece of chip in Carl’s direction. “Last year’s model, huh? I think not.”
“Um…uh…” Carl stuttered.
“Come on, honey, let’s go. Sofa Sultan’s offering free delivery and no payments until 2084.”
“Hold on, now!” Carl pleaded. “Let me talk to my manager and see what we can work out.”
I smiled and nodded. “You do that, Carl.”
So, we wound up with the ‘couch of our dreams’. We didn’t get the Hyundai and the cat’s been depressed because she no longer has anything to lick, but at least our children can sit without the aid of the fire department.