the big irony (mea culpa)

I’m not going to go into all kinds of details and I’m not going to belabor this point.  But, I screwed up, both in a design sense and in a buyer-beware sense, and I’m going to share.

Here is my design screw-up :

Caught in the enthusiasm of planning a bedroom expansion for our 16-year-old son by knocking out a wall between 2 smaller bedrooms, Patrick and I started to plan the design and decor.  Patrick fervently recommended that, if we bought one thing and one thing only it should be this amazing table, the Big Irony Table by Mauricio Peregalli from Zeus as the desk :

This is an awesome piece, and it fits with Patrick’s philosophy about collecting, or investing in a piece a year, or over time, as you can afford to, until you have enough special, high-end pieces to combine together for a complete wow.   Patrick convinced me that this is something that Lou and I, or Danny, would have for decades to come, in whatever abodes we may live in, and I agreed.

Patrick also recommended we get the very biggest table that the room would allow, and we chose a table that was approximately 94″ long.    We based this on a room width of 11’8″, or 140″, which would have allow a 46″ space between the end of the table and the left side wall, if we positioned the table parallel to the back wall, and perpendicular, and resting on, the right wall of the room.

I ordered the table online, based on just anecdotal discussion with Patrick about a friend who had ordered one and it was a place in California and it was all good.

Design problem : The room, at that end (former Bedroom #2) is not 11’8“.    It is only 10’1”.    The reason for the miscalculation is that the room at the OTHER end, is 11’8“.   Bedroom#1 includes the additional width of a closet which was lost in Bedroom#2 because it becomes the 2nd floor hall way.   OOPS.  And a big, big miscalculation.  There is no way that room can fit a 94” long table!  There is no direction it can be turned.

So, I began to panic about the business issue of having ordered a piece of furniture on-line, that cost well over $1,000, plus shipping, having checked all of the boxes that say “no return” “no change”.    It had been 21 days since my order, and the shipping time was 12-16 weeks (84-112 days). I prayed I could change for a smaller footprint table, 60″ or so.

Buyer-Beware screw-up :

When, with shaking hands, I pulled up my online receipt from January 12, I could not find a phone number.    I typed in the website and sure enough, no phone number.   Not a person referenced, nothing.    Just a drop down box inviting you to send them a message and they would “try to respond within 24 hours”.   Now I really began to panic.  Further research revealed that the Berkley, CA warehouse phone number was disconnected.   It appears this entity is based in the Netherlands.

I called American Express.   [SHORT ASIDE :  I need to give a huge shout-out for the American Express Platinum card.   This card carries a hefty annual fee, but some truly amazing benefits including merchant dispute support, and an annual protection of $1,000 against a purchase gone wrong.  There are all sorts of other bene’s too, not the least of which is their superior and wonderful customer support.   Note : I am not in any way compensated for having made that statement, other than being a satisfied customer.]

I needed to find that 50% deposit charge and see if AMEX could help me with this merchant — either to get the product changed, or to cancel the order.   Funny thing…no charge showed up on the date of the order.  Nothing.

So, 24 hours passed with no response from the merchant, and I sent another note to the online concern stating that I was cancelling my order, and would not accept delivery of any product, and then I cancelled my credit card so there is no possibility of a stray charge showing up.  Thanks to my friends at AMEX I will receive a new one today, 24 hours later.

I visited the manufacturer’s site, which I should have done in the first place, instead of just googling the item, and found recommended resellers in the US – all in California.    As it turns out, the price I had been quoted by the website was significantly lower than what this store was quoting, and the shipping charges were 1/3 the actual price.

My guess is that the online concern is out of business; their website is still up and automatically spitting out responses, and that no order was ever placed nor would be.  So, I never would have received the Big Irony table which, had there not been a design problem, would have been a real bummer when I only realized this 12 weeks from now.

The true big irony here is that I think it’s worked out.   But, it scared me.  I spent a lot of time thinking about the room, the piece and the design, but did not double-check and triple-check the measurements.  Worse, I did not do due diligence on the merchant.

I don’t think this is the moment for an investment piece.   Patrick and I need to convene on what we’ll do next in Danny’s room. It will be fabulous.  Stay tuned.

But I really like that table.  Maybe for our dining room.

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