A few years ago Matthew and I were in the market for a sofa, and we had it narrowed down to two choices: A green one and a gray one. The retailer didn’t actually call the gray one “gray”, probably because “gray” makes the buyer think of depressing things like cloudy days and getting old. Instead they called it “bone”, which for me isn’t much of an improvement given that I immediately visualize the remnants of my 3-piece Original Recipe Meal sitting in the garbage can. To give the bone couch a fair shot in the decision-making process, I mentally renamed the green couch “peas, trampled underfoot”.
Both sofas were made of a very nice micro-fiber, sheik yet inviting. But the green couch had a very distinct disadvantage. It was flanked on either side by the most hideous throw pillows we had ever seen. They were leather, which is usually a positive quality when dealing with furniture, but not these pillows. These pillows were multi-colored scraps of cowhide sewn together into a mosaic of pure ugly. Just the sight of them made our faces contort, but we decided to do our best to look past them knowing that throw pillows can indeed be thrown- far, far away.
We began to bargain with the saleswoman on the green couch. It was soon established that it was impossible for us to purchase this particular sofa without involuntarily acquiring the throw pillows as well. After we had spent some time negotiating and were still several hundred dollars apart, Matthew posed an intriguing question. How much of the price, he inquired, was tied up in those pillows? The saleswoman, who had up to this point been referring to my husband as “sweetheart” and “honey”, began to get a little less affectionate. She obliged, however, and retreated to the backroom to crunch a few numbers. Several minutes later, she returned with the answer: Ninety dollars a piece. Matthew’s eyes grew very wide. It was not looking good for the green couch.
The saleswoman tried to reason with us. She even suggested buying the couch and selling the pillows to someone else. But since we didn’t know any blind people with $180 to burn on cushions, that was simply not a viable option. The bone couch was looking pretty good by now with its sensibly matching pillows, and it was indeed the bone couch that we purchased that day. I feel a little sorry for the green couch, but not nearly as sorry as for whoever purchased it. And if, by chance, you’re reading this saying “Hey, I think she’s talking about my couch”, then you should be sorry too, because you have really, really bad taste. :)