The lounge suite saga -- and the virtue of waiting

My so-far unsuccessful attempts to buy a lounge suite offer a great illustration of one of the guidelines I offer in my book The Inspired Shopper (yes, I'm changing the name!).

Let me give you the backstory. I have been looking for a lounge suite seriously, on and off, for about six months. This has involved one trip to a lounge suite shopping strip, which was enough to make me decide that a new lounge suite was out of the question. They were all outrageously expensive -- over $2000 for anything decent -- and some of them, though new, already looked cheap and tatty. A few sprawls on the couch with a book, a few minor food spills, and I would be wishing I had bought something in a sensible vinyl. No, it would definitely be vintage for me.

I already have a couch and two chairs, but the chairs are very old and shabby and the couch is simply annoying, because it has a cover over it that has to be straightened up, and the cushions re-assembled, every day. The chairs and the couch don't match, and I'm at a stage in life when I long for a proper lounge suite -- I want my lounge furniture to signify things like 'order', 'security' and 'home'.

I did a search on eBay and found a Jacobean lounge suite, feauturing beautifully carved wood and a decent upholstery job, that I checked out in person before bidding on. I was unsuccessful but the whole episode was a valuable learning experience.

So here am I still waiting for my perfect lounge suite. And I'm getting to that tetchy stage.

In my book The Inspired Shopper I recommend waiting as a strategy for buying well. The old-fashioned art of waiting and saving up used to be the standard means of buying big-ticket items. Now everyone wants to buy first and pay later, usually with a credit card. But many people fail to realise that waiting has advantages over and above only spending what you can afford.

For those who enjoy it, leisure shopping is a sensual experience, but above all an aesthetic one. We see any number of things we would love to take home with us. If we relied on aesthetics and emotions alone, we'd take home half the store every time we shopped. The beauty of waiting is that it allows us to separate the wheat from the chaff, so to speak. When those momentary, impulsive attachments to items are gone, we're left with a better idea of the things that really take our fancy -- those that we genuinely want and need. (We may also need to use 'waiting time' to do further research on our own needs and desires.) And when we let ourselves go without for a while, we can use that energy to take us to the right item more quickly.

I'm not saying that waiting for however long it takes is always the right option. If I had no lounge furniture at all I'd probably go to my local op shop and buy some temporary furniture to tide me over rather than sit on the floor.

At the moment, I'm a little stuck in my search for a new lounge suite. I can decide on the colours I like, measure up my lounge room and get on eBay every day, but until I actually put said lounge suite, once irretrievably bought, into the room I won't really know for sure whether or not it's right for the room and the rest of my furniture -- so different from buying clothes, where a visit to the changeroom is usually mandatory.

What I really need to do, I think, is settle on the particular retro style that I want, rather than just be willing to take the first one that comes along at a good price. I may also need to cast my net more widely, and look in stores and suburbs I might not have considered. Despite my doubts, I know that when I find the right lounge suite my intuition will be evident, assuring me it is the right one.

So for now I'll adopt 'active waiting' rather than 'passive waiting'. And, at the risk of sounding too new-agey, I do trust that if I do the work, the universe will deliver a lounge suite that's right for me at just the right time!

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