As someone who has a.) bought a couch and b.) shopped at West Elm, but c.) never bought a couch from West Elm, I found this piece on the shoddiness of the West Elm couch "Peggy" to be rather entertaining. Entertaining and informative! Because people are ginormous spendthrifts, apparently.
This is why, a few weeks after moving in with my partner, Kevin, we decided to buy a couch from West Elm. The couch would be the most prominent piece of furniture in our small apartment and our first big purchase together — a gigantic spongy representation of our shared style sensibility. We chose a West Elm design called the “Peggy” in a deep rusty orange color. We would each put a fat $600 towards the couch, and that money would be an investment into our new life together. It was more than we were used to paying for a piece of furniture, but the price seemed to be proof of enduring quality.
This is so wasteful I'm kind of in awe. $1,200? For a couch? Purchased by a writer? To share with a guy you just moved in with? You are an insane person, lady. Go to Marlo and find something in the, I dunno, $300 to $400 range. Trust me, you'll be happier. I know I was. I still have that couch, in the basement of my new house, which I saved up money for by not spending $1,200 on a new couch every one to three years.
Oh, what's that? You're confused? Yeah, me too. Because I read this slightly later on in that piece:
Possessed with a fervent and slightly unhinged desire for truth and justice on behalf of the entire Peggy community, I went into two different West Elm stores and asked patient employees what they thought of the Peggy and if they would recommend it to somebody. They unanimously agreed that it was a great couch. I asked whether the buttons ever posed a problem, and one said that as long as I didn’t have pets or kids, it was fine (but here’s what a dog or a cat would look like on the Peggy in case you’re curious). In both cases, I asked what the expected lifespan is for a West Elm couch like the Peggy. Both store employees told me that between one and three years was normal for a couch with light use.
I'm not even mad at West Elm. I'm impressed by the ballsiness of their employees. Trying to convince middle class millennials that it's reasonable to spend $1,200 on a couch every two years—on average—is how you make the big bucks. Kudos to the author for recognizing this as literally insane consumer behavior.
Spending $1,200 on a couch, once, is not the best idea if you're a middle class millennial. Even as a splurge. But doing it every one to three years is the most extravagantly wasteful thing I've ever heard. Who are these people? Does anyone actually do this? Does West Elm subsist on a retinue of cretins who think that they actually have to buy couches more frequently than they buy t-shirts? Are couches treated like iPhones by these fools? Is there an entire economy of people who think planned obsolescence is a way of life? WHAT IS GOING ON HERE?
Anyway. Don't spend your hard-earned cash on furnishings like the Peggy from West Elm. Spend it on cheaper couches or booze or guacamole or psychiatrists or literally anything else. You'll be better off.