Personal Shopper

I love having friends who look out for me! Normally, I’m the one people call when they’re in need of shopping advice, but every so often I hear from someone who saw something and thought of me. Today I opened my email to find a message from my friend Miriam who had found a cool chair on Craig’s List. Miriam has very similar taste to mine when it comes to furniture so naturally I was intrigued by her email. We’re both in love with mid-century modern designs and both of us aspire to own Bertoia chairs. Steve and I have often said the next chair we’d buy would be an Eames chair and ottoman. You know, the classic black leather chair and ottoman with chrome legs and bent plywood frame. It’s still manufactured by the Herman Miller Company and can be bought new – for about $4,000. Yep, it’s out of our price range. Finding an original vintage one is pretty much out of the question unless we’re willing to sacrifice condition or take out a loan against our house. I found one online for a mere $7,000. Why should I have a chair worth more than my car?

Fortunately, there are knock-offs to be had. Unfortunately, most are pretty crappy chairs or are also in bad condition. Being a bit of a vintage snob I want an original. Being practical, I understand this probably isn’t possible. This morning, Miriam sent me a link to a new Craig’s List listing for an Eames wannabe chair and ottoman. I liked what I saw and liked the price so I gave the seller a call. She was really nice and said we could come out and see it right then. On the way to her house I thought to myself that it would be funny if I knew her. She had given me her name and I didn’t recall anyone named Natalie, but the thought still crossed my mind. I laughed when she opened the door. We’d worked together years before at PBS and I always knew her as Nat. She said she’d wondered, when we hung up, if she knew me. Naturally, she bargained with us and we got a good deal.

Now we’re home, the chair is in its place in the living room and we’re really pleased with the results. The old red leather chair is on Craig’s List and I’m hoping to sell it soon. With any luck, we’ll break even!

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