I Swear I Am Never Buying Furniture Online Again

It all started when I wanted to buy my husband a lamp for his birthday. For reasons having to do with space and lack of imagination (mine, not his), my husband does not have a bedside table on his side of our bed. We’ve lived in the house for five years, which is a long time to go without reading in bed. In what I thought was a moment of brilliance, I decided to buy a floor lamp for him this winter, to put on his side of the bed instead of a table with a lamp.

After some searching online, I found a perfect Thomas O’Brien floor lamp. It was expensive, but I thought it was worth it. I dutifully noted the lamp’s height and shade diameter, then measured the space beside the bed. It was going to be perfect! I typed in my credit card information and hit SEND with a triumphant smile.

And then the lamp arrived. I only needed to look at the size of the box to realize it was the Biggest Lamp in the History of Lamps. Oh, it is beautiful all right, and definitely worth every penny. Especially if you are Andre the Giant, or maybe if you live in a castle. The lamp-for-a-giant now sits in our dining room, the only room in the house big enough to accommodate it without making people gasp when they see it.

Then I went to Plan B. Plan B involved overcoming my lack of imagination and pursuing an option wherein my husband and I have matching bedside tables with lamps, just like grownups in decorating magazines do. After driving around to a couple of my favorite spots (note to NY locals: I just don’t think the ABC Carpet outlet is worth it anymore), I did an exhaustive search online. I found two suitable round tables on the Wisteria website. I measured height and diameter, and then I measured again. I measured a third time, and then I showed my sister the photo of the table, and the measurements. She gave me her approval and because she is an excellent shopper, I knew I was not going to screw up again.

After placing my order, I got an e-mail from Wisteria informing me that the tables would take something like three months to arrive. I didn’t care! What’s three months’ wait, after no proper bedside situation for five years! And they were going to be perfect!

Finally, on Thursday, the tables arrived. And once again I only needed to look at the size of the box to realize that the tables were all wrong, laughably wrong, laughably…big. Trying to humor me, my loving husband dutifully assembled the tables anyway. To humor myself, I tried them next to our bed. (And then I had a good long bitter laugh.) Now one table sits in our living room, having replaced a less wonderful table that I got at a garage sale. This is a marginal improvement in the decorating department, but creates the domino problem of what to do with the garage-sale table. The other new table sits forlornly in the middle of our bedroom, waiting for a destination. And I swear—swear!—I am never going to buy furniture online again. At least not until someone tells me how to do it right.

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