How are you doing? Not sure why I’m writing you except just to warn someone out there about this company on the internet.
Here’s what happened. My
old hag wife ran off with our son’s karate instructor. (they deserve each other) She took custody of the brat. Fine, she can have him. She also took the house, so I needed to move. I found a sublet in the east village. It’s a five-floor walk up. That’s five minutes less time at the gym and it’s only a ten minute walk to the office, door-to-door.
I needed to fix up the place, of course. I thought that buying furniture online was the way to go. So, I had my secretary scout out some hunky man-type stuff. I told her to do research for the lowest prices. She found this company called National Furniture Supply. They are offering deep discounts for some very high-end furniture online so I gave her the go ahead.
This is the sofa.
This is the desk with storage.
And then, she picked out this rug. I like blue.
Everything else I picked up at Crate and Barrel. I should’ve gotten everything there!
I won’t bore you with what I went through for SIX months only to find out that they couldn’t get the furniture upstairs. No way. Not a chance.
Or, the fact that FREE SHIPPING set me back $1,927.45
Why? Because I had to pay warehousing fees to the tune of $75.00/day (they called while I was in Maui for two weeks with my girlfriend) Then, I didn’t realize that FREE SHIPPING meant they were going to leave two huge pieces of furniture at the curb and that ***I*** would be required to take it off of the truck. So, I opted for the “white glove” FREE SHIPPING, only to discover that I had to pay “OVERWEIGHT” fees and stair fees on top of a whopping FREE SHIPPING charge.
But then they couldn’t get the f**kin crap (excuse my french) up the stairs. They sent two midgets to bring up 550 lbs of furniture. In any case it was all too tight.
So I had to send it all back (except for the rug which I do like) and pay for the FREE SHIPPING back to them.
But here’s the kicker. I also had to pay a RESTOCKING FEE. What the hay? 25%!! That set me back— are you ready, Laurel?
+ the free shipping charge of 1,927.45.
Yes, that’s what 25% is from the deeply “discounted” price $18,860 that I shelled out for two pieces of crap over-scale furniture. Clearly, I’m out of my mind.
Please be kind. I know I’m an idiot. I forgot that my secretary has dyslexia and mixes up high and low. But she’s blond and busty so she stays. (sorry, if that’s TMI)
Those bastards have my credit card number. They said that they don’t save the number but apparently amongst all of their other lies and misleading info, they do save it because they sure as hell fire ran the charge of $6,642.45 through. And I have nothing except for a lot of aggravation to show for it!
Naturally, I was hopping mad and disputed it with my CC company and lost. They said that it was clearly spelled in their terms and conditions. But nobody reads that shit, right?
Thanks for listening.
Ira Joe Sukerstein
Whew! That’s quite a story folks, isn’t it?
To be clear, as in all of my Dear Laurel stories, there is no actual Joe Sukerstein.
He’s an amalgam of thousands of Joes who don’t realize that the internet is a man-eating shark; he thinks it’s a cute little gold-fish. Never mind that the gold-fish is going to be dead in two days. (still traumatized some 50 years later over that tragic event.)
I was curious. Those are some hefty numbers for that stuff! Joe didn’t tell me where the furniture is from. But that’s alright. I know how to find the source of furniture online which works like a charm 99.9% of the time.
I will be teaching you exactly how I find furniture on the internet when I don’t know the vendor in a bonus chapter in Laurel’s Rolodex. It’s coming to you on the 26th and the entire thing is wild beyond even my own imaginings!
But back to this quagmire.
I very easily found the vendor of the sofa and desk which is that furniture ho, Zentique. Below is a photo from their spot at the New York Now show last February.
and below, Zentique at their permanent showroom at Americasmart in Atlanta
Make no mistake, I really like Zentique– or, used to before they sold out to anyone who would have them. I’ve bought several items for clients and myself over the years. However, their hefty price tag is ludicrous considering one of its resellers is STAPLES. High end furniture is not exactly the term I think of when I think of Staples. No?
Please Hang on. This is going to be quite a ride.
Let’s begin with our sofa.
The Alix Sofa, from Zentique. I would send you to their website but it’s trade only. God forbid someone would actually try to copy this thing.
Once I found it, I found this sofa online with many vendors.
Here’s the front (I guess)
and the back
Quite frankly, you couldn’t give me that atrocity for free. Zen has some lovely furniture, but this is one of the most God-forsaken behemothic monsters I’ve ever seen. Is that supposed to be tufting?
Let’s talk price.
I have a wholesale account with Zentique. Sweet. It’s one of dozens of “designer friendly” resources on Laurel’s Rolodex where us lowly decorators can purchase furniture at wholesale. Therefore, I know how much Zentique is charging and I know what the retail price should be.
Here is a screenshot of NFS’s sale’s page for the Alix sofa. (I checked their terms and conditions and by violating their “copyright” I can be refused membership. Okay, I’ll take a chance.) ;]
That’s a tremendous amount of fugly for 8k!
Then, I did a little searchy and this is what I found with the other vendors.
Let’s look at the low-ball price from Wayfair of $3,600.
NFS says that the list price is: $10,056.00.
Wayfair says that the list price is: $6,987.50.
Will The Real List Price Please Stand Up
We will address “FREE SHIPPING” in a sec. :]
Actually, Wayfair’s sale price is very good. A little too good. My price for this sofa would be $4,190 plus shipping/handling AND DELIVERY.
But before you get all riled up and think that everything on Wayfair is such a great deal. It’s not. However, they never do what National Furniture Suppuration is doing as far as I can tell.
Let’s move on to the next piece because this one is even more interesting.
It’s also from Zentique
The Mog Cabinet and desk.
What in fart’s name is a “mog”?
Here’s a closeup shot showing off the fine detailing of the Mog Cabinet
Below are the online vendors and Amazon is one as well, but I’m trying to not mog you down (sorry) :] too much.
Amazon and Wayfair again are the low ball numbers.
Below is NFS sale’s page for the Mog Cabinet
Has everyone completely lost their barking brains?
Here is what NFS says on their website under their FAQs:
Do you offer the lowest prices?
Our supplier network is among the largest furniture supplier network in North America. Their buying power gets them the lowest prices from furniture manufacturers – and allows National Furniture Supply to pass the savings onto you.
That’s brown for a reason.
Yes, it’s the same exact “buying power” that little old Laurel has— a decorator who works out of her one-bedroom apartment—Alone.
Wayfair and Amazon are selling the piece for $6,213.00 which is about right.
But then… using a different search criteria, I came across this craziness.
huh? From the ridiculous to the even more ridiculous.
Two companies, English Elm and Truth in Craft have a seriously DEFLATED price of $4,579.00. This is below the non-stocking dealer’s price!
I did a little research here too.
Both of these companies are in Chicago and both have identical terms and conditions / shipping info pages.
AND – neither of them have a PHYSICAL ADDRESS.
No name. Just a phone number and an email address. What? Are they cousins, brothers, the same company? Me thinks the latter.
Please for the love of whoever you pray to, do not ever, ever, ever buy anything online if there’s no physical address. You have absolutely no legal recourse whatsoever when they screw you over. You cannot serve legal papers without a person to serve them to!
The actual list price for this piece is:
My price would be:
S/H would come to about $400 for this piece.
LET’S TALK SHIPPING
How will my order be delivered?
Once we get your order, we use our supplier network to ship your order. Once your order is shipped, we will provide you the tracking code so that you can track the order on a real time basis. Smaller items are shipped by Fedex Ground/UPS while bigger orders are delivered by Curbside Delivery. Some of the items qualify for white glove delivery and inhouse installation. If the item qualifies for it, its mentioned on the product page.
Did you hear me?
They said delivered by
THERE IS NO SUCH THING AS FREE SHIPPING!
First of all, we need to understand how things work in the furniture industry. For my friends in the biz, you can skip ahead cause you already know…
We have merch that is in a warehouse. In the case of Zentique it is in Georgia. The furniture leaves Georgia FOB – which stands for Freight On Board.
Then, it needs to go to a place with a LOADING DOCK. That is called a RECEIVER.
I know that I sound like a kindergarten teacher explaining to a group of 5-year-olds which bus to take home. But every time I see FREE SHIPPING, I wanna throw my 25 foot tape measure through a window because y’all are falling for this highly misleading farce!
The FREE SHIPPING, refers to the furniture leaving FOB TO the receiver and that gets absorbed by their very large markup or in some cases absurdly large markup.
But then, the receiver has to make the local DELIVERY.
And THAT is NEVER FREE!!!
It is very expensive.
This is what they commonly call “white glove delivery.” I have never seen any white gloves. I’m just happy if they show up when they say they will! (Mr. Ricca’s guys are amazing! You can hear him on voice mail)
If it’s a small piece, it will most likely go out UPS or FedEx and yes, there will be no additional charge, but for large pieces it must go to the receiver unless you want to get a 400 lb cabinet off the 16 wheeler by yourself and haul it up 5 flights of stairs.
Below is from our other internet darling English From Chicago Elm and Truth?In?Craft? who are undercutting everyone. BTW, that is exceedingly unethical. Believe me when I tell you that they will get you some other way.
Free Delivery – Freight Delivery
- Delivery appointment is typically 7 to 10 business days after tracking is sent.
- The freight carrier will call in advance to schedule a delivery appointment, generally within a 4-hour window
- Free freight delivery requires the customer to move the items into their residence/business
- Products that ship this method are usually large and may require assistance (driver is not obligated to assist)
- Hydraulic assistance (known as a liftgate) is not provided to lower items to the ground
- Additional costs resulting from COI (Certificate of Insurance), remote location, truck size restrictions, etc. will be the responsibility of the customer
Scary stuff, ain’t it? This is why I have no idea why people don’t use someone like me who will charge them a lot less, understand the ropes and save them not only precious time, but money and aggravation.
I checked out the rug too. This is a quote for the 9 x 12.
Actually, surprisingly this price is pretty good, but notice that the price in the box is lower than the sale price! I did put it in the cart and yes, the price came up to be the one in red.
Finally, I checked social media for the three companies hi-lighted here. Truth in Craft only has sharing but no social media presence. English Elm has a facebook page but they turned it off. Their twitter account is still active, however.
And our Royal Ripoff National Furniture Supply does have a facebook page.
One person has been here.
I guess that was me. lol
Well… back to work.
Happy Sunday. Happy Autumn. This has been possibly the most outstanding September here in New York that I can recall!