Su Lum: Slumming
September 21, 2011
When I moved into my miner’s shack in 1972, it was fully furnished with serviceable Sears Roebuck stock including a long, low 10-drawer dresser, painted jaundice yellow.
Basic furnishings are not likely to catch my attention, but after 38 years I was aware that the drawers were sticking badly, that one of them required being wrenched open by people stronger than I, and that I needed a bit more room than the dresser provided.
I wasn’t looking for a dresser last winter; I was shopping for a mattress in Glenwood for my new bed, but you know how redecorating goes – you buy one item, and in a blink of the eye you get the fever.
In my peregrinations through the furniture store, I came across the perfect chest of drawers. It was long and low, but longer than mine in my bedroom so there was much more room.
It was made of dark blond wood and would look positively elegant next to my new bed.
I pulled out one of the drawers to check its construction. It ran smoothly on little wheels, and I lifted it out – I remember that clearly because I had a hard time getting it back in.
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Of course I had to check the measurements of my bedroom to make sure it would fit, paid for the mattress, and told the saleslady I’d call her back to confirm the purchase of the dresser.
Jiggity jog home, out with the tape measure and indeed the new dresser would just barely fit. I called the store and ordered the mattress and the dresser. Both items were to be shipped from their warehouse in Denver, whereupon a friend of mine would pick them up in Glenwood.
This was a big mistake – just pay the delivery charge. My friend Jack was outside in the freezing dark trying to wrestle the dresser off the pickup truck by himself – our other friends being in various states of infirmity.
“Try to get it out of the crate,” I suggested, “and take out the drawers.”
Jack got it out of the crate but reported that the drawers were not removable. “Sure they are, I pulled them out myself,” I said, bundling up and yanking at the drawers of the dresser, which was then hulking on the wet sidewalk. Sure enough, the drawers couldn’t be removed.
So I figured what the hell.
As it turned out, the drawers were substantially smaller than those in my old yellow dresser, and over the months those nonremovable drawers began to twist and sag. Instead of fitting tightly, there are big gaps of air first around one drawer, then two, now three. A split runs across a bottom drawer, and a round crack has developed in one of the upper drawers. The thing is falling apart before my eyes.
If there is a next time, I will buy the item right off the floor of the store.
Su Lum is a lousy shopper. Her column appears
every Wednesday in The Aspen Times. Reach her
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