In Which I Dominate West Elm’s Sale Section (Again.)

Every time I think I’m going to unsubscribe from West Elm’s emails, they send me 15% off coupons. They’ve gotten it down to a science. It’s like they not only know how annoyed I am by their near-daily emails, but how exactly to win me back. I’m nothing if not predictable in my addiction to spending money to save money. I’ll refresh your memory with the story of how I got this amazing pendant light for less than third of what it should have cost:

The lamp has been hanging in my living room for a few months now and you’d think I’d have gotten over the amazing deal I scored on it, but you’d be wrong. Whenever I turn it on I squeal with delight. It remains, exactly as I described in that post, “the moment that will forever be engrained in my memory as the time I saved so much money I sweat through three layers of clothing.” I’m not even remotely embarrassed by that sentence. Have you seen that lamp?

Over the weekend, I bought the small IKEA desk I wrote about on Friday. I want to pause here to pat myself on the back for this particular trip to IKEA. I was in and out in under 5 minutes. Literally. This is a feat of unparalleled proportions for me, and I think I deserve some credit for not lingering at every display and spending my requisite 2 hours in there. We parked in the loading spaces, went in through the exit to avoid getting lost and distracted in the serpentine marketplace, beelined straight for the right aisle in the warehouse (I had done a stock-check before we left the houes), and carried the box right to the self-checkout. It was loaded into the back of the car in less time than it normally takes me to wrangle Fitz into submission so I can cuddle him against his will.

I spent the majority of Saturday night assembling it during commercial breaks of a marathon of America’s Next Top Model cycle 6 (the good old years), and then moved my iMac and associated desk accessories to it on Sunday. My computer had been sitting in the unused and rarely visited guest bedroom in the front of the house, and figured if I relocated it to a room I actually spend time in I’d use it again. As it stands, ever since I bought my macbook over the summer, I’ve barely touched my desktop. Which is sad, because the thing is a champ and still runs like the day I got it. And have I mentioned how awesome it is working on a screen so large? No offense to my macbook, but I don’t have to squint to blog.

But of course, in some domino-shopping-effect, buying a new desk meant I had to buy a new chair. If you give a mouse a cookie, she’ll end up twitching with anxiety over how fast she can get to West Elm. I found out from one of their many, many emails that they were having a floor sample sale. Oh, and another email informed me that all sale items were an extra 20% off. And then, then my friends, came the 15% off coupon. It’s like they were practically begging me to come buy a new desk chair, like a hot girl throwing herself at you. Who am I to turn that down?

So I went. And there were chairs upon chairs upon other low-priced chairs. And that’s when I saw her.

She’s beautiful. She’s turmeric colored, which I immediately knew would be perfect with the dark gray walls in the bedroom (gray + yellow = love). I made a quick call to Boyfriend to ask him to measure the space between the desk legs, hoping it would fit the chair’s dimensions. That was a fun conversation. Once we figured out which of the 15 closets in the house the tape measurer was hiding in (“Is it under the sink?” “The sink?” “The kitchen sink. Is it under the sink?” “Why would it be there?” “I don’t know, I’m not there!” “It’s not there. Why would it be under the kitchen sink?”), we moved on to: “No, the opening between the front legs.” “Like, the distance to the wall?” “No, the opening between the front legs!” “You have to stop saying that out loud. It sounds like something else.”

Long story short, we found out that it would fit perfectly. I sent him a picture to confirm the color, and he ended up loving it. Win-win. I picked that beaut up and carried her to the register as gently as if I was carrying her over the threshold of our honeymoon suite.

And then the really fun part started. Because she was a floor model, they knocked 20% off the price.

But when I was carrying it, I noticed a few scratches on the back, where the seat curves. I thought it couldn’t hurt to ask if the 20% off was the lowest price they could go, since it did have some wear on it. And you know what? I recommend you all do this when you’re shopping if you see some minor imperfection on whatever it is you’re buying. Just because I asked, they changed the 20% off the retail price to 30% off. An extra 10% savings just because I pointed out a scratch or two.

Not bad! I would have been happy with that, but lest we forget there were more discounts to be applied. I kept my composure even though I was giddy and my pupils had turned into dollar signs. All sale items were an additional 20% off. Why? For fun. Because the world understands me. I don’t know, don’t ask questions.

That’s nuts! I’ve already skimmed $35 off the cost of the chair. Now, a normal person would be content with these savings and not be greedy modeedy (as my mom says) about an additional 15%. I don’t know if we’ve met before, but I am not normal. I am a Shopping Empress. I am a black belt in Deals. I demand further discounts! I handed my 15% off coupon to the cashier and let her do her worst. Or her best. Definitely her best.

Having had ample practice in this sort of thing, I didn’t faint this time. I did have to do a little dance for myself for saving almost half of what the chair originally cost, though. And while this is a pretty good score for me, it isn’t my best work. The pendant light will always hold that title. But I was obviously still high on whatever chemical my body releases when I buy things at heavily discounted prices, so I happily strutted home, holding my baby in my arms with the legs sticking out and threatening to impale anyone who got too close. I also stopped at the bank to have a new debit card printed because someone stole my numbers two weeks ago and went to the liquor store with my money, ugh.

Now she’s sitting pretty with my new tiny desk. That corner of the room doesn’t feel so empty anymore, and I feel pretty chuffed with myself for showing West Elm who’s boss.

(It’s me. I’m the boss.)

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March 12, 2012 / home design / LEAVE A COMMENT / 23

23 comments

  • Where are the photos of it in situ??? Lovely, love the colour, nice and spring like. Must admit I also thought you were asking boyf to measure something else when I read that.

    I love your desktop, that’s when I fell in love with you. I mean your blog. Sort of. I can’t believe you don’t use it, I would love to have one of those they look so cool. Everytime I go from my macbook air to the pro I marvel at how much easier it is to use so I can only imagine what’s like going to one that big.

    What colour tulips on the new desk?

    I can’t believe you go there so often you knew exactly what isle the desk was going to be in.

    How many hotdogs? yum. xx

    • I posted it over on 365 last night! I even linked to it in this post. But here you go: new chair and desk! Ain’t she pretty?

      And don’t worry, I haven’t forsaken my West Elm Parsons desk. If anything, it looks sexier without a bunch of stuff on it. I’m still going to use it and keep it in the house, lest you think I’m relegating it to storage or something. She’s too beautiful and glossy to do away with. You know that! ;)

      I won’t tell my blog you love me more than it. Your secret is safe with me!

      No hot dogs, alas. Not even any Swedish meatballs! xo

  • I LOVE it! I’m with Annie, I need to see that desk + chair in its own little home. Please? I mean, I can picture it with the gray walls (because I agree gray + yellow = love), but why should I have to? And tell me? How comfortable is she really? Could I eat a meal on her? Because I’ve been eyeballing her sisters for our dining room.

    • Here you go! She’s surprisingly comfy! The curve is great, really fits your body without being too rigid. I was surprised, honestly. I think I still might buy a sheepskin throw at (where else!) IKEA but that’s more to do with a few little dents on the seat from being a floor model. You could definitely make it through a meal with her, and her sisters come in all sorts of sexy colors. I almost bought it in dark brown but decided to be bold and go for yellow. I loves me some yellow.

      Happy you’re back! xo

  • Great chair! Love the color. You’re so right you can’t go wrong with gray and yellow. That’s why we got a yellow (or is it chartreuse?) chair for the desk I painted gray a while ago. Maybe you should turn your knack for snatching great deals into a career. How great would it be to get paid to go shopping…

    • Oh man, a chartreuse chair and that gray desk?? SWOON. I bet it looks amazing. The combination of the two colors is really something special.

      I actually just got dizzy with the thought of making my compulsive shopping a career. Oh my god. That would be the life!

  • Fab work Erin, I agree totally with Nina, I reckon you could start a discount shopping guru business, you’ll have loads of customers. They can pay you the difference between the full price item and its discounted price. There’s an incentive for you.

    The desk chair combo looks really smart, it fits the space well, it’s dressed nicely too with it’s contrasting pink blooms, personalised mug and a wee nod to Europe with the tour eiffel. Cracking job missy.

    Your legs convo with boyfriend cracked me up :-) x

    • That sounds like just about the most delightful career I could imagine. Shopping! How do personal shoppers do it? I’d be the happiest person in the universe. Except when I realized I wouldn’t get to keep any of the stuff I was buying. Hmm.

      So happy you like it, Sam! That means a lot! Love that you noticed the little details and spotted the mini Eiffel Tower. My dad bought that back for me from Paris in the early 90s. :)

  • Way to show West Elm who’s the boss! And I am slowly learning that amazing feeling of finding something you love for a fabulous price. I’m finally getting the hang of this. I also bought a desk from Ikea a few weekends ago, but that baby is soon going on Craigslist because I found a secretary desk that I am in LOVE with. Same reaction as your pendant lamp and I squeal a little every time I walk past it.

    • I think I saw your new Secretary desk on facebook! She’s beautiful! Well done and good eye for spotting her. What are your plans for refinishing/repainting her? You’re getting really good at painting furniture, you know! xo

  • Oh Erin, you so make me smile and brighten up my already very bright day.
    List coming…… ready?

    1. Totally love your new chair!
    2. Totally love your workspace and iMac (of course, have the same)
    3. You must be Jewish, it’s official! Only Jews care this much about the ‘deal’:)
    4. I love your deal making skills and the strategic thinking behind them:)
    5. I am so with Nina and Sam. I was thinking exactly the same. There is a career for you in this.
    6. I am the same. Got bored of shopping and getting deals randomly so now I find properties and usually make deals. The same with doing interiors. I chase deals so put your thinking cap on.
    7. Your writing here is sublime. I reckon with all the crap TV shows you watch (only kidding) there is a script writer in you.
    8. You are very talented.
    9. You are very beautiful, inside and out.
    10. Hugs and kisses

    • Ahh! Stop! You’re being too, too sweet. Far too many nice things said. Thank you for all of them, Tina. Truly, you’re so kind! Love that we have the same computer! Isn’t that just the best? It’s so zippy. Chasing deals is not for the faint of heart, and I’m jealous you’ve made a career out of it! I’ll have to hear more about it one of these days :)

  • Popped over to look at the new set up in situ, as Annie says. Looks fantastic! And, congratulations, Lisbeth, on another well-executed deal. Besides switching me over to WP someday, I think I need to employ you for a little lamp deal hunting. Been in the market for two new bedside lamps, but I want a deal like the one you so expertly put together. i.e., Sale + additional markdown + [bam!] extra percentage off coupon. (It’s funny, Scottie has two cousins in his family that love a deal, and they are good! Like you.)

    PS~We are kindred spirits. I have similar chairs in red from Room and Board. (Check it: http://www.roomandboard.com/rnb/product/detail.do?productGroup=6391&catalog=filter&menuCatalog=room&menuCategory=197&menuSubcategory=149)

    • Consider me “on the case” as they say. I’ll keep my eyes peeled. What sort of bedside lamps are you into? Industrial? Vintage? Feminine? I love a good chase. Oh, and I’m definitely up for the task of switching you to wordpress, you know. You just say when :)

      LOVE your R&B chairs! They’re so colorful. I didn’t even consider checking there, I feel ashamed to admit. Those are awesome, though!

  • Wow is all I can say! I’m dangerously close to subscribing to West Elm emails after your post. I seriously think you should consider a side business of tracking down specific pieces for your clients. I love that Theresa calls you Lisbeth!!!!!

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  • I’ve been buying up a storm over at West Elm as I’m redoing a bath and guest room. Loving the greys and yellows! Teri

  • I love love love West Elm’s sales… I just scored a brand new Gray Leather Chester sofa for $719 – marked down from $1699 aka $2000+ with taxes and delivery surcharges. Can you believe it? I’m so proud of my shopping skills. lol

    • Whoa! That’s quite a steal! Well done, I’m pretty impressed! West Elm seriously makes it waaay too easy to save a ton of money during their sales. I love stackable discounts!

  • Maybe I signed up on the wrong site. I get their daily barrage of ads, but I never seem to get straight up coupons that are good for whatever may strike my fancy. Just a lot of “this is what’s on sale right now” stuff. Is there any rhyme or reason to when lighting goes on sale? The one I want never seems to change price and I refuse to pay that much! Right now I finally got a free shipping coupon code, but I’d rather get some serious percentage off. Blargh.

    • Hey! As far as I can tell, something is always in sale at the store, and it typically rotates between furniture and accessories. Their end tables are seemingly always discounted, which, yay if you want an end table but boo if you want a lamp. I’ve had WAY better luck actually going into the store than I have online, for some reason. The store near me is always marking things down and usually sets up a little side area with floor samples of things. Whenever they run sales they’re usually great about stacking discounts, so like things that are on sale can be discounted even further (my lamp was an extra 15% off on top of the discount the store was running). But it’s so random. The good thing about the stores is that you have more leeway with negotiating with salespeople. Point out a scratch and bam! Extra 10% off. I wish I had more helpful tips for you, but your best bet is to go to a brick & mortar store and see what deals you can finagle in person. Good luck!! xo

      • I was afraid you were going to say that! Unfortunately for me, there is no West Elm in my area let alone my STATE. :P Maybe I should get what I want with my free shipping coupon and just call it a day. Man, I hate paying full price. Thanks for your response!