Sunday, 29 May 2011

Sweet Dreams...

Mattress shopping supposedly the comfiest shopping around...or maybe not. A journey from hell would be closer the mark and one preferably not to be repeated for some time. Last week we thought we had it made, we found a bed for 60€ a true bargain, or so we thought. Obviously we had to add a mattress, or un matelas, and their cheapest was 230€ so that's 290€. Then le sommier (slats) have to be taken into account or your mattress will fall right through, so that's another 65€. All together a nice total of 355€. Still, it was cheaper than the rest we saw so we bought it, along with a washing machine, un lave-linge, and fridge freezer, un refrigerateur avec un congélateur, all to be collected next week. Since this painfully expensive shopping day however, we have been looking for another mattress as the one they had to offer would not be in stock until 20 Juin and wasn't the comfiest shall we say. So IKEA came to the rescue at only 25€ more, we found a mattress to offer the sweetest of dreams and in stock. Hurrah!

Then it happened. Whilst shopping this weekend for a dinning table and chairs we found a mattress complete with slats and frame for a tasty 266€ (le matelas était à 265 et tout le reste pour 1€ de plus) obviously such a good deal comes with a catch: you have to buy the bed feet for an extra 33€. This mattress was equal to the IKEA one in comfort so what to do? Refunds don't work quite the same in France as they do in Britain. In general money back isn't given but rather store credit instead. Shop number one sounded quite fair however, offering monetary refunds within the first 7 days. What luck! What chance! We were on day 7! Alas no, there is always a catch. “Technically you paid at noon on Saturday last week and it's now 2pm.” How could we have been so naive?

So the challenge began, to weigh up all the options. Option one: shop number one for the bed, IKEA for the mattress and a dining table and 4 chairs (for only 100€ but neither of us really liked) or option number two: shop number two for the bed and mattress and then our 125€ store credit at shop number one for a nicer, round, extendible table and 4 discounted chairs (an extra 125€) or perhaps option number three: a different combination with other shops entirely.

We adjourned to the house with a drive through Quick meal to fuel our decision. Option one came to a total of 480€ with a small table and chairs that were neither pretty nor comfy. Option number two totalled at 549€ but with a more practical and visually pleasing table and chairs that could be sat on for a whole evening of entertaining. Cheapest versus a little extra, but greater satisfaction. Satisfaction always wins out.

This is just the beginning of becoming a 'big person' I guess. Entering the world of work and marriage is not only about the responsibilities of paying rent and making sure you eat three square meals a day. It's also about making new and potentially difficult decisions, learning to think about things from different perspectives including practicality, affordability and durability. I had originally thought that shopping for a fridge-freezer and washing machine was hard, but that just boils down to facts and statistics; which is bigger, which is more efficient, and which is cheaper. Furniture shopping however, is much more stressful. You can never be sure you have got the best deal but you can at least make sure you're not being ripped off. All in all, mattress shopping was much harder than I ever dreamed.

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