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Thread: What do we lose in product evaluation from online shopping?

  1. #1
    Senior Member iris lilies's Avatar
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    What do we lose in product evaluation from online shopping?

    I am 66 years old and am now buying NEW case furniture* for the first time. I have only had hand me downs, thrift store furniture, furniture from the alley, or vintage and antique. I’ve never purchased new from a store.

    I now want a modern sideboard/credenza/buffet . I’m doing online shopping. The pieces I’ve narrowed down to range from $900, $1000, $1300. Any one of them it would do but they present differently so I’m not basing my choice on price. There was one piece I really liked that was $2300 but I didn’t think I liked it a whole thousand dollars more.


    So all of this is leading into: I wish I could touch them, opening drawers, lifting the piece. The $900 piece is described in reviews as being “very heavy. “Being “heavy “it’s not necessarily a mark of good furniture. hells bells they are all made of MDF, but some of them have solid wood frames. Or maybe they all do. I don’t know. Even the $2300 one was made of MDF. Yuck but I have to accept that.

    I wonder what differences I would see in the $2300 piece vs the $900 piece?

    Then of course there are pieces that go for $3,000, $4000, $5000, and even more. I can see the design slickness of the $4000 and $5000 pieces. I cannot see it in the $3000 pieces. They might as well be $900.


    *case furniture is buffet, sideboard, hutch, dresser, nightstand, etc.

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    Having worked (and still working!) in online retail, I can say it is always a gamble. Higher prices do not necessarily mean higher quality at all. You are trusting the descriptions based on someone's opinion of how to best "sell" the item and based on photos that one has taken and - more than likely - have photo-shopped for maximum appearance.
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    Senior Member iris lilies's Avatar
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    How are young people learning about fabric?

    I’ve ordered samples for a project I’m doing because I’m not going to order just based on the photograph. And as it turns out that was a good move. One store called their product velvet. When I got the sample I call it velveteen, a very thin low pile velvet.

    But the samples are disappointing too because I don’t get a big enough piece to scrunch it in my hands And have it drape over the sides.


    One of my talents in life is putting up so many barriers to buying something That I end up not buying it. That was useful in my frugal days but it certainly Impedes getting projects done now.

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    Quote Originally Posted by iris lilies View Post
    How are young people learning about fabric?
    LOL. Most young people I know are more interested in "fashion" than "fabric". If they like the fashion/style/design/etc (the over-all piece) - including the material it is made of - that's good enough. Only those people I know who make things, sew, craft, etc., bother to actually learn about the fabric, itself.
    To give pleasure to a single heart by a single act is better than a thousand heads bowing in prayer." Mahatma Gandhi
    Be nice whenever possible. It's always possible. HH Dalai Lama
    In a world where you can be anything - be kind. Unknown

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    Quote Originally Posted by iris lilies View Post
    How are young people learning about fabric?

    I’ve ordered samples for a project I’m doing because I’m not going to order just based on the photograph. And as it turns out that was a good move. One store called their product velvet. When I got the sample I call it velveteen, a very thin low pile velvet.

    But the samples are disappointing too because I don’t get a big enough piece to scrunch it in my hands And have it drape over the sides.


    One of my talents in life is putting up so many barriers to buying something That I end up not buying it. That was useful in my frugal days but it certainly Impedes getting projects done now.
    I'm a quilter. I rarely buy fabric online and when I do, it's only when recommended by quilters I know and trust. Call me a fabric snob if you must. But when I make a quilt I want it to last decades not that see through crap at the local J store. They have some but not much quality fabric.

    If I wanted a piece of furniture, I'd be masking up and going to the stores. But then, I hate shopping online more than I hate shopping in person.

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    Senior Member KayLR's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by iris lilies View Post
    How are young people learning about fabric?
    Ha probably the same way they learn handwriting...not at all.
    My therapist told me the way to achieve true inner peace is to finish what I start. So far today, I have finished two bags of M&Ms and a chocolate cake. I feel better already!

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    Senior Member iris lilies's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Gardnr View Post
    I'm a quilter. I rarely buy fabric online and when I do, it's only when recommended by quilters I know and trust. Call me a fabric snob if you must. But when I make a quilt I want it to last decades not that see through crap at the local J store. They have some but not much quality fabric.

    If I wanted a piece of furniture, I'd be masking up and going to the stores. But then, I hate shopping online more than I hate shopping in person.
    I did put on a mask and dart into one of the big furniture stores. It had nothing but crap. There’s nothing that was even remotely what I was looking for. And believe me, what I’m looking for is pretty much a mass market piece of furniture, it ain’t high end. Then I called West Elm on the phone yesterday because they have a piece I am considering. They said they did not have that piece in the store.

    And over the past few weeks I have been peering into stores from the sidewalk, looking into and through their big front windows. Even when I was looking for a piece of white furniture rather than what I’m looking for now, they didn’t have it. Everything is gray faux weathered and sand colored.

    Yet online there are many possibilities. It’s really gratifying to see how many things fit my bill I’m looking for silver colored case piece. I’m going to put silver leaf on it. I want it to be contemporary in design.

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    Quote Originally Posted by iris lilies View Post
    I did put on a mask and dart into one of the big furniture stores. It had nothing but crap. There’s nothing that was even remotely what I was looking for. And believe me, what I’m looking for is pretty much a mass market piece of furniture, it ain’t high end. Then I called West Elm on the phone yesterday because they have a piece I am considering. They said they did not have that piece in the store.

    And over the past few weeks I have been peering into stores from the sidewalk, looking into and through their big front windows. Even when I was looking for a piece of white furniture rather than what I’m looking for now, they didn’t have it. Everything is gray faux weathered and sand colored.
    I hear ya on crap. 5y ago we needed to replace our 23yo Natuzzi sectional. What a depressing day. No one in town has it anymore-they have cheap crap! We ended up custom ordering a pair of recliner loveseats from an American company. It's OK but not worth the money.

    23 years ago we went to Ethan Allen for a bedroom set (we were still on a mattress set w/frame and a Salvation Army dresser that we'd been using for 17 years. We got wonderful furniture and it was cheaper than the crappy oak at the "best store in town". If I ever need something again, we will be going to EA and we'll likely order a Natuzzi when this crap is toast.

    It is sad that the world caters to poor quality/high turnover disposable products.

  9. #9
    Senior Member iris lilies's Avatar
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    You know, years ago when there was a functioning Ethan Allen store I went in and looked at furniture and it was incredibly expensive.

    But now I would think that Ethan Allen used furniture is probably a pretty good deal.

    We go through a lot of sofas because our dogs do hideous damage to them. I am now resigned to paying around $1000 for a sofa that is “custom”: and that I choose the style, point to a fabric I want put on it, and it takes 6 to 8 weeks for them to make it. That is fine.I consider that a middle of the road sofa, not cheap and not expensive.

    If I remember right, those Ethan Allen sofas I saw in the store were traditional design and like $3,000 - $4000. That seems like a lot of money to me for something that wasn’t high style.

    It’s funny though that when it comes to vintage and antique furniture, I have no trouble throwing out the money. I guess that’s because I’m familiar with those products, it is my familiar mileau.

  10. #10
    Senior Member JaneV2.0's Avatar
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    Is something like this too tall, too small?

    https://www.amazon.com/Simpli-Home-A...14&tag=mh0b-20

    I've seen sideboards offered on FB marketplace; you might keep an eye out there.

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