I have been reading about retailers that have done well during the recession. You know – Wal-Mart, Target, Marshalls, TJ Maxx and Home Goods. Those last three, owned by the same company, I believe, have sprung up everywhere. Everywhere. Any direction on the map that I might take in running my weekend errands, I can find one. The deal, though, is because they deal in overstocked items, the inventory is really hit or miss. But for some of us, the hunt is part of the fun.
My most recent mission was for kitchen chairs.
When I moved into my first apartment, I bought a dining room table at Wickes. It is a pale oak table much better suited for a kitchen, but I loved it, could afford it and it worked in that space. The chairs however, were crap.
When I moved back to the house, and put the table in the kitchen, one by one the chairs fell apart. We are lucky that no one got hurt on those things. Sometime in the last year, I figured that 13 years in two homes was not a bad run for that table and I started casually looking about for a new set. My mother told me that was stupid. There was nothing wrong with the table, I should just look for new chairs.
How do you find four to six chairs to match an old table? I looked at the usual stores and found nothing. Then one day early this summer, I was in… TJMaxx/Marshall’s/HomeGoods…- one of ’em – and found two pale oak chairs. $150 for the pair. There were only two and I wasn’t sure they would match, but they were real wood and sturdy so I went for it. They work great. I started looking for them at every other TJMaxx/Marshalls/HomeGoods in the area. No luck. For months I kept looking.
As I whined to my friends about it, someone said, “You know, the chairs don’t have to match each other. In fact, mismatched sets are even rather trendy these days.”
Huh. Then I found another set. Pale oak, but the back was painted. The paint was in the same neighborhood as my kitchen walls. I picked them up:
They look odd right next to each other, but around the table, no one will really care. Oh, and that stool on the left, also from the old apartment, is generally at our counter. But it also works as a booster seat for the kids.
So, thank you, TJMaxx/Marshalls/HomeGoods. Instead of spending $1000 on a new kitchen set, I spent less than $300 for four chairs and a rather funky new look in the kitchen.
Now I am all ready for the holidays. If I can get the tree up, that is.