Thursday, May 6, 2010

The Great Lamp Saga

This really is a saga. I'm in a chatty mood so get something to drink and be prepared to spend some time reading. 

I wanted new lamps. N.e.e.d.e.d. new lamps. Was obsessed with new lamps. What I had were fine, worked with the style of the room, gave off good light and were paid for (a big bonus). That didn't stop me from lamp shopping. I wanted something that would look ok in a mid century modern / vintage modern room but were more modern then the really vintage ones I already had. But I was still thinking vintage just a more contemporary vintage (if that makes any sense). So I shopped Craigs List (J'adore), Etsy, Ebay until my little fingers gave out. Oh I found lamps, lots of them, cute, would be perfect, but you forget. I'm cheap. Cheap, cheap, cheap said the little bird. So nothing worked. Then I tried online. Crate and Barrel, CB2, West Elm, DWR (fav), Ikea etc. Again lots of contenders but nothing that fit the budget (which was about $0 but could be stretched).

On a whim one day I went into Marshalls (conveniently located next to the grocery store .. yeah they knew what they were doing when they built it). I found the PERFECT lamps (because I wanted a matching pair). The heavens opened, a light shown down from above and a chorus of birds sang out, cheap, cheap, cheap. They were $39.99 each. A great price for a lamp, don't get me wrong. But out of the $0 budget I had and further than it would stretch that day. So I walked on by and didn't purchase them.

They haunted me. I keep thinking about the darn lamps and how perfect they would be in the living room. I talked about them to my friend who said she thought they would have looked fantastic. I tried to put them out of my mind. Then one day while cruising around the HGTV's Rate My Space site I saw a room that had MY lamps in it. I sent the link to my friend and then she really thought they would look good in the room. She told me to stop talking about them and go back to the store and buy them (or shut up about them - she didn't say that but I could tell she was tired of my lamp talk).

The next day I went into Marshalls, my pennies counted and saved. If we didn't eat that week, I could purchase the lamps (kidding - sort of). Well, as expected they were sold. Gone. Not even a tag left that I could have them search other stores for another set (BTW Marshalls stores aren't connected by computers so they can't search inventory, only call the other store and have someone go check the floor. An important piece of information).

Still I was haunted by the ones that got away. Obsessed now. After several weeks, I started to call or visit every Marshalls in a 50 miles radius (25 I kid you not) of my house. No luck. Time passes. Then I get a call from Alison in Indianapolis (150 miles away) that she has spotted one lamp in the Marshalls by her house. Since I'm going to be in Indianapolis, I'm excited. As soon as I arrived  I went into the store and purchased the lamp. Only one. Singular when I wanted a pair, determined that I would find another to complete my set. And if not, after a valiant effort, I could return the lamp in defeat.

I visited and called the stores in Indianapolis (7). No luck. I called the stores along the 150 miles back to Chicago (5). No luck. (Calling the stores wasn't an easy thing. You'd call, get put on hold, get transferred to the right department, put on hold, talk to a 13 year old and describe your lamp. Get put on hold. Have the 13 year old go look on the floor for anything that sounded like it matched. Be disappointed but suspicious that they REALLY checked. Hang up and try another).

I couldn't get a hold of one store in Valparaiso Indiana. It was about 20 miles east of my route back home, but I was determined to find another lamp, so I drove to the store. As I drive I pass a massive strip mall of stores. A TJ Maxx sign seems to shimmer on the horizon. Focus I tell myself. You are on a lamp crusade and don't have time for random shopping.

I'm at the Valparaiso store (after getting lost) and they don't have the lamp. Of course. The Manager calls the other 3 local stores and.... no lamp. As I'm walking out the door the manager says, "There is a TJ Maxx by the mall. They are a sister store and sometimes have the same items. Why don't you try there?" Well, in my great shopping experience I've NEVER seen the same items at a Marshalls and a TJ Maxx store. Never. I think they lady is crazy. I'm tired and grumpy and still have 2 hours of driving through Chicago traffic until I get home. I leave the store.

I again drive past the strip mall and the TJ Maxx sign seems to shimmer and call out to me. I drive past then say a naughty word to myself, make a u-turn and head back to the store. FINE. I'll stop and look. I park, march into the store and head straight back to the home accessories section. Fully expecting to be disappointed, again. But there it was!! - bright shiny white with a silver lining (really). My missing matching lamp!! I snapped it up, paid for it and headed home, triumphant in my shopping war of the lamps. Victorious! Don't the new matching white ones look so much better? I love how the raised design is mimicked in my plant pots.

The End.

OK, so not quite the end. I got the lamps home, plugged them in and ... didn't like the way they looked in the living room. They were short and didn't give off as much light as the old ones and had weird shadows. I was hugely disappointed and thought about taking them back immediately. Live with them awhile, the friend said. I learned to love them in the room and got used to the more muted "mood" lighting they provided, just don't try to read a book with small print. This week I finally sold the two old vintage lamps on Craigs List (heart) and almost made enough money to pay for the new lamps.

OK, now The End.

Have you been obsessed about a decorating object? Do tell!

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