Let There Be (Cheap) Light

Last Friday, I left work early to meet my mom for lunch, and to do some shopping. I’d been eyeing this gray felt drum pendant shade from West Elm for a few months for my living room to replace the hideous light fixture that’s there now, and I’d just gotten an email from West Elm with a 15% off coupon. My mom and I were going to walk right by the store, so I figured I’d stop in and see if they had the light in stock. I say that as if I hadn’t already decided to buy it, like I was going in for a casual stroll. No no. I practically ran out of work in the afternoon, I was so high on the adrenaline that accompanies big purchases. I realize this makes me sound like an absolute shopping addict, but c’est la vie.

Anyway, we got to the store and asked a salesperson if they had the lamp in stock. He had to walkie-talkie someone in the back stockroom to confirm, but it turns out they had a few in the store. “Would you like to buy one?” he asked. Isn’t that cute? Would I like to buy one? I was practically hyperventilating at the prospect of finally owning it, and he couldn’t tell I was interested in taking one home with me from the way I was nuzzling against the floor sample, my arms wrapped around the giant shade as if we were long lost lovers. I’m not weird, I just really, really like home goods.

We got to the counter to check out, and what followed was basically the best moment of my entire shopping life. I’m pretty sure if nothing else goes right for me in this world, I will at least have this memory to cherish.

The thing is 26″ in diameter, and beautiful. Did I mention I loved it? Other drum shades like this go for a lot more money, so I was willing to pay $150 for it. Less, actually, because I had my 15% off coupon, don’t forget. But then, Arthur, the wonderful salesperson who forever has a place in my heart, says, “Oh, did I mention it was on sale?” NO, ARTHUR, YOU DIDN’T. Do you know what I love more than anything else in the world, even more than world peace? SALES. Say the word, observe the perfect way it rolls off your tongue. SALE. I’m trying to keep my heart rate down and my eyes in my head, thinking he’s going to tell me it’s $20 cheaper. Imagine the sound my head made when it exploded when it told me what the actual sale price was:

YOU ARE KIDDING ME. Arthur is informed that I will be naming my first born after him, regardless of gender. And then I realize I am so exciting I’m actually sweating. Arthur then solidifies my decision to build a statue of his heroic figure riding a unicorn in bronze, when he says, “Oh, and we’re having an extra 20% off already reduced sale items.” My eyeballs make an audible BOING as then pop out of their sockets. My mother is put on guard in case she has to catch my lifeless body as I faint to the floor.

I’m starting to think that this is a joke, a conspiracy, a candid camera tv moment. THIS CANNOT BE REAL. This is perhaps the single greatest achievement of my young life. What, mom? You thought that college diploma I got was something special? DO YOU NOT SEE HOW MUCH MONEY I JUST SAVED?

And then, the piece de resistance, 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: Arthur, beautiful, kind Arthur, he of the West Elm name tag and walkie-talkie, my best friend in the entire universe, says, “Didn’t you say you had a coupon?” !!!!!!!!!!!!!!


 I don’t remember what happened next because I lost consciousness. My mom tells me I had a grin from ear to ear and laughed maniacally when Arthur (BLESS YOUR SOUL, ARTHUR) joked that he could charge me the full price if I wanted him to. Apparently I kept saying “NO WAY” really loudly every time he told me the new, lower price and just assumed I didn’t want to pay it. Isn’t he cute? My mom and I got lunch after I paid for the lamp so I wasn’t able to take it with me out of the store that day, lest I wanted to crash into a million people all afternoon with an enormous box. I did go back for it the next day, though.

So that is the story of how I saved over $100 on a lamp, aka the best story of my life. The only minor downside is that they were out of stock of the ceiling conversion kit to hang the damn thing, so it’s sitting in the box in my house. Once it’s hung I’ll take millions of pictures of it in all its glory.

24 thoughts on “Let There Be (Cheap) Light

  1. I’d just like to say…IT’S GENETIC!!! It comes with the Tribe. Or, as my father, may he rest in peace, said about my mother: “Never buy anything that’s not on sale. Never pass up anything that is on sale!” Or, “As fast as I can bring it in the house in a wheelbarrow, you can take it out in a teaspoon.” But I digress…

    1. I don’t understand the last one at all, but that’s okay. It’s definitely genetic. I love a good sale!

  2. One of my all time favorite quotes from a book ever is from the memoir “A Three-Dog Life.” She says, “Shopping is hope for the future.”

    Ah, bliss.

    Please share the location of said West Elm. I might be, well, near there soonish.

    1. The West Elm I went to is right in center city Philly, though I think both sale promotions ended on Sunday! Sorry sorry!

      I totally want to put “Shopping is hope for the future” on a t-shirt and wear it all the time. This is my mantra.

  3. You had me at: “Last Friday, I left work early to meet my mom for lunch, and to do some shopping.” My favorite part of the whole post. ;) And, yes, I definitely agree you scored on that WE drum pendant. I love when J.Crew is having a sale and then they send me an email with the following offer: Additional 30% sale items. That’s just all kinds of amazing right there.

    1. Aw, thanks! I had a fun afternoon that day. Dude, J Crew sales are unbelievable. Have you ever been to a J Crew outlet? There are two within an hour of me and everything is always on sale and then on sale again. It’s incredible, but super dangerous for my wallet! Last time I went I got 3 shirts (2 stripey ones!), 3 pairs of chinos, a cardigan, a pullover, a bag, and a necklace for $200. I was practically high from that experience.

  4. Ugh will you lot please stop showing off about J.Crew and West Elm. It’s so unfair!

    Erin I’m so pleased for you, that’s a really nice lampshade (not white though, eh?) and it looks all warm and soft. Please can we see photos in situ when you get it sorted.

    And please explain the wheelbarrow comment as I kinda like it but I don’t understand it!

    What do you do for a job anyway, you haven’t told us!

    1. Ha! As long as you stop with Liberty and Harrods and Selfridges and all those wonderful British stores we can’t enjoy over here! ;) All it means is you have to make the trip back to the states and do some serious shopping! The pound is strong against the dollar still, isn’t it? The last time my one cousin came to visit he took back so much stuff with him. An inflatable mattress and lawn gnome were his weirder purchases…

      I didn’t like the natural shade and the black was too dreary, and the gray one just felt right. I felt like Goldilocks and the 3, er, lampshades. Once it’s all hung up and the room is finalized I’ll post tons and tons of pictures! I can’t wait to show you.

      I don’t understand the wheelbarrow comment either, but then again my grandfather was full of sayings that made no sense to me whatsoever! If I can get an explanation from my mom I’ll clue you in.

      I’m a Program Analyst for a defense contracting company, so technically the Department of Defense (ie the government). It pays well (read: pays for my shopping addictions), is recession-proof, and I love everyone I work with, so I have no complaints. Not at all what I went to school for, but I’m enjoying it. I’ve been here about a year. I wish I could have said I work for an ad agency or a creative industry rather than the Navy, but hey! Maybe one day!

      1. Now I have YMCA’s ‘in the Navy’ in my head! So what does a Program Analyst do? Is than an IT job like mine?

        I love the grey and I love grey felt even more, good choice!

        That just made me laugh out loud at work about your cousin. Why would you take all that back with you? And what’s the English connection anyway? Is your mum English?

        1. My mom’s dad’s side of the family is our British connection. My grandfather, he of the random quotes about wheelbarrows.

          Program Analyst is a fancier job title than my actual duties, but no, it’s not IT related. I’ll bore with all the details another time :) Basically I work in Microsoft Word/Excel/Powerpoint all day.

    1. I can’t wait to show you, either! But until I get that conversion kit I don’t have a way to mount it to the ceiling. I’m waiting impatiently!

  5. I love how you describe the inner workings of the mind in such eloquently hilarious detail! This is exactly how I feel when I’m confronted with something I’ve simply got to have, even though we’ve only just “met”.

    It’s like falling in love, isn’t it? Shopping is love. Shopping=Love.

    Love is buying the lamp you’ve only just met because it’s turned your insides to mush ……..
    Shopping=Loving Oneself.

    I am trying to change, however.

    1. Thank you, Chi! Shopping definitely = love. I’ll maintain that forever. Don’t try and change! Embrace who you are! Come on, the world needs more crazed shoppers like us!

  6. I have been wanting to hang a pendant shade lamp, but the ones at west elm are a little pricey (unless you get a great deal like you! haha) I have never been in a west elm store so i can’t check out what the conversion kit includes. My question is: Would the conversion kit be compatible with any/most lampshades i could buy anywhere else? I’m thinking I can pick up a lampshade for less than $20 and buy the conversion kit from west elm for $15-$20 and have the perfect pendant lamp for cheapo….can you tell me if you think that would work?

    1. Hi Jenny! That would definitely work. I ended up getting my cord set from IKEA, it’s a basic lamp cord that I had an electrician splice open to convert to a ceiling mounted cord (sounds a lot scarier than it is, trust me! It only involved cutting the cord open and attaching the internal wires to the wires already on my ceiling fixture, but I played it smart and called in the pros!). The ceiling conversion kit from West Elm will include a chrome ceiling plate for the cord to hang through, and at the end of the cord will be the part where you screw in the light bulb. As long as the lampshade you end up buying works with standard size light bulbs, you should be good to go! Happy lighting! :) Feel free to let me know if you have any more questions or if that totally confused you. I’m happy to help! xo

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