Wednesday, September 9, 2009

Ah Desks

I'm not that picky when it comes to furniture, honestly I'm not. I've never given much thought to furniture, so I'm not wedded to a specific style or color. What I would like is something I'm not embarrassed by. I don't want to go to IKEA, and I don't want the 50 dollar desk from Staples. I'd like something that looks, sort of, nice. Sadly, even if I wanted to go to Crate and Barrel/Pottery Barn/Restoration Hardware/West Elm, I'd end up with something that, to my untrained eye, looks like the IKEA desk but is more expensive. So I've embarked, yet again, on a magical mystery tour of craigslist only to discover that lots of people are getting rid of their used IKEA desks for the bargain price of 70% of retail. Because I'm sure the desk you've been using for two years has only lost 30% of its value, considering the high quality of the merchandise in the first place. Perhaps I'm biased, but if you're selling your IKEA furniture and it's in mint condition, you can have the gall to ask for 40% of retail, but everyone else should be satisfied if he can get $5. This is IKEA furniture people. It's like trying to sell your used clothing that you bought at Target for 70% of retail. Anyone in his right mind would simply GO TO TARGET AND BUY IT NEW!!!!!

But craigslist has, true to its nature, turned up a number of puzzling listings, many of which have made me consult a dictionary for the definition of antique, and others making me scratch my head wondering if the person who penned the ad is altogether sane.

Not bad, right? It's not what I'm looking for, but it seems to be a desk. It's being sold for $325. That's right. Someone's old desk from West Elm is being sold for $325. It was a limited edition color, though, that should mean something; similarly the poster assures me it's easy to 'essemble.' I'll try to over look the fact that it is a slab of metal on legs, and a used slab of metal on legs that someone wants $325 for. Is it me?!?

Again, we have something that looks perfectly serviceable. Not my style, but it's someone's, and it looks to be in good condition. $600. Want to know why? Because the poster claims he/she spent $2000 on it when it was new. If this is the case, that person should be committed. $2000 for this? It's just some wood. It's decent looking wood, but wood nonetheless, and I'm pretty positive it doesn't bear the imprimateur of a famous designer. If you paid $600 for it when new, I would be more convinced. That you want me to give you $600 while simultaneously believing you once paid someone else $2000, well, I would like to introduce you to my handmade artisan 8th grade pottery; it can be yours for only $300 and will bring you years of delight!

No no no no no! I'm sorry. This is not a salable item. This is trash. If it isn't, you've done a piss poor job of photographing this item to its best advantage. Right now this looks like something destined for the curb. In hell. That you want $90 for this is a joke. If someone would give you $5 you should take it gladly. That someone will not be me, however.

As if to illustrate my point here comes this. $350. The poster states that when he bought it a "few years ago" he paid $500. So what the poster is telling me is that if I, too, want to spend another $150 I can have a brand new one of these that no one ever spilled diet coke on, a chair no one ever farted into. Or I could give him more than half the purchase price for his. I just bought a car. It had 8 miles on it when I took possession. By the time I had gotten it from Queens to Connecticut, it was already worth about $3000 less than its new value. But your table and chair has only depreciated $150 in the unspecified "few" years you've owned it? I must be missing something because these listings are not aberrations, they're everywhere. Please buy my used crap for nearly new prices. After all, I once paid for it, so you should too, but you won't get the new version, you'll get my old version. This is why when I buy used books from Amazon I only buy ones that are a dollar. You see if the new book costs 15 dollars and someone is selling a used copy for 11, I'D RATHER HAVE THE NEW ONE FOR 4 MORE DOLLARS. This should hold true across the board. New things are better than old things with a few notable exceptions, but those exceptions are generally for valuable things (amphorae and the like - no one wants to pay top dollar for a brand new amphora), not a couch you and your family have sweat on for five years.

Now, to be fair, there are a couple of desks that passed the Yelena test, things made out of non-IKEA wood for the friendly price of $100-$150, and I'll be following up on those, but the rest of the stuff just flummoxes me. I think we, as a society, should all get together and agree that IKEA furniture is disposable. You buy it and that's it, it doesn't get a second owner, it gets a one-way ticket to the dump. Selling cheap furniture, even for sub-$50 prices is embarrassing, because the furniture wasn't worth anything to begin with. I have owned and loved IKEA furniture, but I have never had the balls to try to sell my IKEA furniture to someone else. Because it's from IKEA. Used things should never be sold for more than half of new things because new things frequently go on sale for half the price of themselves. See how this all makes sense? Ok, I see my crazy is emerging and it should be returned to its cage.

Nopropos: I finished reading 2666: A Novel last week and while I can't tell you what it was about because I'm still trying to decide that, I can tell you it was the best book I've read in years. It is a book I think everyone I know should read (and likely people I don't know). Yeah, it's long. But it's broken up into 5 easily digestible pieces, made easier by the fact that it's now in paperback whereas I was toting the hardcover around with me. This book = good. Read this book.

1 comment:

  1. Words to live by! Or at least to heed as a call to redrum.