Words every bloke dreads hearing, ”About time we got a new sofa?”. A modern day invitation to Dante’s Inferno. You never hear your other half utter questions like,”Oooh Sony have just released a 70” 4K tv with built in Dolby sound, we should go get one…”, or, “ Porsche have just updated the 911. The engine’s smaller, but the bigger turbos more than make up for that, shall we get one and whizz down to the South of France?”. No.
Sofas. Pretty low down on anyone’s wish list. A piece of furniture that rapidly becomes invisible in anyone’s house. Not very bling, not very “latest model”, not very aspirational, whatever the adverts try to convey. Even the ads are depressing, especially when you get that blitz at that particularly soulless time of year in between Christmas and New Year, when all the glitzy, high budget tv commercials spun out in the run up to the festive period are replaced by endless reels of some Z-List celebrity prancing round a furniture showroom on some desolate industrial park. And there’s always a sale on. 50% off, 75% off…200% off! And nothing to pay till some time in the future, by which time you’ll have forgotten you bought a sofa on finance and then get clobbered by some extortionate interest rate.
So, on a grey Saturday morning, not having the will to put up any sort of a fight, you agree to go “have a look”. You get in the car and drive off to what used to be some fields a couple of years ago, but now is a collection of drab warehouse buildings, full of cheap-suited, spiky-haired sales staff all working on commission. What you weren’t prepared for was the scale of the choice on offer. Any thoughts you had of a quick half hour bouncing up and down on a few two or three seater jobbies had now been dashed, because Sofology, Harveys, Furniture Village, Sofa Workshop, Laura Ashley, DFS, SCS and IKEA all await your pleasure. (A bit of advice at this point, avoid IKEA at all costs, because the maze at Hampton Court Palace is easier to navigate than any of their stores.) After you have sleepwalked through the first three or four stores, trying out this season’s latest range – who knew that sofas could be influenced by meteorological factors? – you are then thrown the curved ball…”I just need to pop into Next to get some bits,” as you get dragged off by the arm.
All the while, you wonder why you actually need a new sofa. The one you’ve got has seen you faithfully through four World Cups, fourteen Cup Finals, three home Ashes series, Andy Murray winning Wimbledon, The Stones at Glastonbury, all those box sets, FIFA, Minecraft, Babe Station and even that time you fell asleep after the pub and woke up to find yourself wearing your chicken madras?!?! The thought of food reminds you that it’s now lunchtime and you need feeding. You’ve done your bit, you only came “to have a look” and besides, even if you found one you liked, you’d have to wait at least six weeks for the thing to be delivered. You’ve been dragged round five sofa shops, you’ve helped decide which white tee-shirt looks best (out of the twenty tried on), so now, without discussion or debate, it’s time for a dirty great Maccie D’s, fries and a shake, then home in time for Soccer Saturday, burping and farting on my trusty old sofa. Now…who’s hidden the remote?