(*or everything you wanted to know about ripping off customers but were afraid to ask)
by Christopher Bayliss
© Ballis, 2023
A customer asked to acquire a piece of furniture they had seen on an episode of How to Build a Sex Room, a television show which sounds like The Block with your pants off.
The reality with all these reality shows is that they are sponsor-driven which explains why many of the fittings and materials and products used are so same-same. It also means the sponsor with the deepest pockets is liable to get product in front of the cameras regardless of quality or fit-for-use.
The customer’s request was for a sex lounge, a variation on a chaise lounge, so we got not one but two in on the reasoning that someone else may want one. We brought in a lesser-valued one as the additional item.
They are the same shape and in different colours. The more expensive of the two comes with a few accessories and straps while the cheaper is just the lounge.
The swirling shape of these things is reminiscent of something Spiros Zakas may have created in his padded upholstery phase in the 197Os. Is Zakas dead? If he is, he’ll be rolling in his grave at the thought of these lounges.
Let’s go through the phases of acquiring the new lounges for the store. They arrived in so much packaging that Greta Thunberg would dive into the grave with Zakas. Given the cheapness of the build, you can understand why there was so much wrapping and taping and filling.
After unpacking, you must fit the feet to each item. The cheaper one’s feet comes in another cardboard carton inside the big carton with the couch. The instruction sheet shows two kinds of screws that must be used to install the feet. The screws provided did not match those in the diagram. Fortunately, the old woodworker in me had some that did match so the job was completed. In completing the job, I noticed marks on the edge of the upholstery on the under side of the lounge showing this thing had been assembled before and that the vinyl had been scratched in the process.
Flipping the lounge up the right way, it became obvious the stitching is uneven, the fit of the upholstery is crooked and the vinyl itself is of very poor quality. It may look good on TV but it won’t last too long after some serious rumpy-pumpy.
Unpacking number two, the pricier one, had even more problems. The catalogue promised a couple of shaped pillows to be used with the lounge and straps to hold them (or you) in place for more of this rumping and pumping. The straps and buckles are the same technology as used in supermarket trolleys while the cushions and feet … well, there was no extra carton. 0r cushions. After a week awaiting a response from the supplier, I learned there is a zipper along the entire length of the underside and the feet, hardware and cushions as well as additional straps could be found in there. And, bingo, they were! The zipper matched the general make of these things, installed crookedly. If you plan to keep your extras in this less-than-convenient storage area, think again. Installing the feet means the zipper can only be moved half-way along as one of the feet blocks it. Applying the feet exactly as directed means they will cut into the upholstery and cause fraying that may spread. You
cannot put them anywhere else, though, as these are placed with bolts in pre-sunk nuts, not screws that can be moved around a little.
Lounge two’s cushions are not cushions in any way you may think of cushions unless you think of cushions as solid shapes with a bit of vinyl over them. They are curved in shape and made to be melded into the curves of the lounge, perhaps with the aid of those skinny straps and their little plastic buckles.
Seeing I had this thing upended, I thought I may as well take a peek inside so I removed some of the bottom scrim – not a big job as it was the basic stuff applied with staples – creating an opportunity to put it back on properly seeing the original work was carried out by Jose Feliciano.
The interior of the lounge is as disappointing as the exterior. Low grade radiata pine is combined with cheap plywood, neither would be used by a quality manufacturer. The nailing of the various timbers is haphazard and there must have been a run on glue that week as there is not much in evidence.
I can say that my replacement of the scrim increased the value of the thing as my work was done with none of the twisted staples of the original work.
In conclusion, would I buy one of these things? No. Would I sell one? Yes, with in-depth information to the buyer so they can run for the hills before handing over cash. Do you want one? Maybe and, if you do, give it a few weeks as I’ll be remaindering these down to wholesale to make floor space.
As a comparison, I had a look at EBay and found something of higher quality, a little different and a little classier in shape but overall able to do all the same rumpy-pumpy work for $247 with local pick-up. How does that compare with these primo, high quality, shittily-made sex lounges? They have recommended retail prices of $8OO and $1,OOO.