22 hours ago
Wednesday, March 31, 2010
First things first, thank you to commenters regarding Hailey Edwards' Everlong. As promised, a copy of this wonderful book will be winging its way across the Ethernet to one lucky winner. I wrote the name of every commenter on a small piece of paper, shuffled them around on my desk and picked one with my eyes closed. I couldn't get any more random. J The winner is…drum roll please…Gale Stanley, better known as GPS. Gale, please email me at firstname.lastname@example.org and I'll get it out to you today.
Now on to furniture shopping in Germany. Before we came here, we read a lot about the people, culture, etc to be as prepared as possible. One of the things that we read concerned the size of German apartments. That they were small. So I worried about bringing my living room furniture because a) it was fairly new – about 3 years old, b) it was large so possibly wouldn't fit in a small apartment, and c) being new in a foreign country, I wouldn't know how to go about storing pieces that wouldn't fit (see b). Since it had taken me about 2 years of looking to find exactly what I wanted in the first place, I wasn't taking any chances and we left it in storage in the States. Fast forward to our life now in Germany.
Yeah, the small apartment? Not so small. The living room is quite large, in fact. Could've fit my furniture no problem. So now I have this big room and no furniture. So last year, we shopped around and finally decided on a big couch and chair. I'm not fond of the German styling so it was months of searching before we finally settled on what we have now. So for the past year, we've had a U-shaped couch, a chair, and a TV stand with our TV in the living room. Nothing else.
I've searched for other components but I have expensive tastes. Without even looking at price tags, I gravitate towards the most expensive items available. This means that furniture we've been looking at has been about 4000 euros, which is about $5500, for one piece. Yikes! So we've kept looking. We finally found a set of furniture that we both liked and was reasonably priced so we went on Saturday to do the deed.
They must have been short salespeople that day because we waited about 20 minutes or so without seeing anyone available to help. Then we caught sight of a man and he stopped to ask if he could help. We told him we wanted to purchase furniture. He said he needed to finish with another customer first and would come over. No problem, we said, and we happily went back to the area and waited. I should mention that German furniture stores look just like American stores, with sample rooms laid out for inspiration. So we lounged on the furniture there and waited. And waited. And waited.
Finally, about 20 minutes later, the man bustles over to us, ready to help. Yay! So we point out the pieces we're interested in. Now, at this point, we expected to pay about 3200-3400 euros for all the pieces that we wanted. This salesperson proceeded to knock off euros here and there and everywhere. We sure weren't complaining. When all is said and done, our bill is about 2500 euros. Then we whip out the VAT form. This is a form that, if the store accepts it, means we don't have to pay the German tax. Germans pay 19% tax on everything and it's included in the price. So, with our VAT form, we paid about 2000 euro. Oh, happy day!
The downside is that we have to wait 8-10 weeks for it to be delivered. What? My household goods from the States only took 6! Apparently, they wait until the furniture is ordered before they even make it. Then it's shipped, hence the long wait. So, I've waited this long. Another couple of months isn't too bad. Below are pictures of what we ordered. The first one, we got all four pieces, the TV stand, the cabinet and the two shelves. The second is the matching coffee table. The third is the sideboard. The last picture is the last piece of the set and we're waiting to see everything in place in the living room before ordering it because hubby thinks he wants 2. I don't think 2 will fit but proof is in the pudding so I'll let him see for himself.
What do you think of my new furniture? Do you have any shopping stories to share?