Large heavier items like futon frames, tables, dressers, bed frames, and various furniture items have a higher likelihood to show up with some minor aesthetic damage than do smaller items and containers. In the world of online purchasing of these larger, heavier items, it is the responsibility of the customer to touch up, smooth out and fix this aesthetic damage.
In other words, you should be willing to accept and expect that you may need to do a little hands-on cleaning up of your futon frame when ordering online.
There, I said it. Other web stores do not mention this fact or they bury it in small print in the terms and conditions or will wait for “the angry phone call” to suddenly back up behind a policy that they were too afraid to admit. I think that’s poor business practice. I believe that the customer deserves to know as much as possible, up front and in plain language prior to clicking the “Place My Order” button.
But that’s just another reason why the King Of Futons is different. We’re not trying to shine you over with tricky sales moves or play a sort of “But Game” where we hide our stipulations and wait for the moment to say “yes, But…it’s in the small print we know you didn’t read anyway, and yadda yadda blabbity blah blah.”
Buying online is different than buying from a brick and mortar retail store and the sooner that you understand that difference, the sooner everyone will be wiser and happier.
Retail furniture stores are (supposed to be, anyways) great at providing one-on-one in-person “white glove” type of treatment when it comes to delivery of their services and products. And you pay for that in terms of higher prices, delivery fees, setup fees, etc. You generally have to wait longer for your order to be delivered because many retail stores need to accumulate a large enough order before their distributors will ship it out to you. Depending on when you buy and where they are in their ordering cycle, you could be waiting 3, 4, even 6 weeks. There’s a give and take. You pay more, but you have access to a different type of services available.
Online stores offer their products and services at reduced pricing, reduced overhead, and normally free delivery that is 10-20 times faster than the retail stores. You can still get great one-on-one customer service in helping decide what you want to buy (or at least you should be getting great one-on-one customer service!), but shopping online also has a give and take. You pay less, get your stuff a lot quicker, but the types of services available are different.
Aesthetic damage can and does happen throughout the Wild World of Futons and furniture items in general. In today’s modern international market place, your futon frame may have started its journey across a big old ocean, taking months to slowly chug along in a humongous freight ship. It’s packed in boxes which are strategically packed into shipping containers fitting as much as mathematically possible into each container. When they arrive to port, they will sit and wait for clearance of various paperwork and tariffs, fees, etc. to be paid before they are unloaded. Then they are normally put onto freight trains which will take them all over this Great Land of Ours to various sub-stations and terminals where they are then unloaded and eventually put onto trucks which take them to warehouses and other storage locations. Finally, once they are purchased, they are loaded onto more trucks which drive them through various networks of shipping and distribution, eventually arriving to your door step.
Phew! That’s a whole lotta travelling and moving around and handling before it even makes it inside your house. You should be able to understand how and why a little ding or scratch here and there is almost bound to happen.
Don’t get me wrong: the manufacturer’s I know all have put a great deal of strategic thinking and planning into the packaging and transportation of their products to make sure that they can withstand the long journey. But you need to cut them a little slack.
Another aspect of retail vs. online you should be aware of is what happens when your larger, heavier items arrive to your home.
Retail stores can offer various delivery services for various fees which could have a worker or workers bring the item(s) into your home. Pay a little more and they’ll bring it into the actual room you want it in. Pay a little more and they’ll put the thing together for you and they might fix those aesthetic issues on the spot for you. Several retailers I know charge you for the delivery and setup but still require customers to fix those little dings and scratches. Pay a little more and they’ll remove the garbage and packaging. Pay a little more and they might take away an old mattress for you. Most retail stores will offer “free” this or “free” that with a little asterisk that is attached to some financial condition like “when you spend over $500.” Several retail stores I know of offer free delivery* and when you read the tiny hidden fine print of the asterisk it says *free delivery to your door step, or something.
Online shopping will get your item delivered to your residence normally for free, much faster, but with admittedly less service options available. Depending on the freight company, most futon frames will arrive in a truck and the driver is responsible to get the item to the “curbside” only. That means that they’ll unload the item(s) at street level next to the curb next to your residence and off they go. Some drivers might be nice enough to help bring the item(s) up to your door, but that is totally up to the individual driver. I have heard that a nice gratuity can do wonders, say a $20 bill….
In essence, larger, heavier items may arrive with aesthetic issues that you will have to fix. You can get some extra fine grain sand paper and a furniture or woodwork touch up stain marker at most hardware or home repair stores. The delivery guy is usually only required to get the item(s) safely to the curbside and then it’s up to you to haul it inside. You can always open the boxes at the curb and carry the components separately inside to make it easier. I used to do that when I managed a retail store and would have to go on deliveries all by myself and knew there was no way I was going to lift a large box up a 4 floor no-elevator top apartment with twisting turning staircases and strange angled walls.
Understand that aesthetic damage is almost par for the course nowadays in all areas of furniture, bedding, and home furnishings whether it’s through online or brick and mortar retail stores. Industry wide the new “normal” is that these sort of aesthetic issues are the responsibility of the customer to fix.
If you know that you’re the type of customer who wants or needs “white glove” type service, or if you’re reading this blog and thinking “there’s no way I can deal with that” than I sincerely encourage you to visit a local retail store that can offer you more paid services. Really, there’s no hard feelings. I just want to be up front with you, my beloved customer, about the advantages and limitations of online shopping so that we both have a wonderful experience.