My daughter had an epiphany today. We were watching an infomercial for a non-stick ceramic pan. She was amazed that nothing stuck to this pan and thought we should order it so we wouldn’t have to scrape scrambled eggs from a pan ever again. Then the TV announcer read the disclaimer (in the typical extra-low male voice)… “must be 18 or older to order.” Suddenly, her eyes went wide and her mouth dropped open. She remembered she’s now 18 and can order things herself! In histerics at the thought of that independence, I could see her mind spinning. Lucky for us, she actually hates to shop.
I, on the other hand, find that same level of excitement when I find a bargain – or better yet, figure out a way to shop for free. Keep reading to see exactly how I basically got 4 dining chairs for free.
Earlier this week, my friend, Dorene, and I set out on a shopping trip. Our plan was to visit the Exeter Handkerchief Company in Exeter, New Hampshire, then loop around to Mill 77 Trading Company and Leeward Light thrift store in Salisbury, MA.
My goal was to find fabric to recover some club chairs I needed to recover and Dorene wanted to find some fabric to make a table runner for the kids’ farm table she purchased to use as an auction item.
The Exeter Handkerchief Company has a 3rd floor with hundreds of bolts of fabric priced at just $6.00 per yard every Tuesday. A ‘must see’ if you’re in the area.
Dorene was lucky enough to find the perfect table runner fabric with a gray grain sack stripe running down the center.
I, on the other hand, wasn’t so lucky finding fabric for my club chairs.
My heart is set on a navy blue & white fabric. Maybe something like this deep navy geometric from Home Essentials. I love the large, bold print and how the deep navy contrasts with the bright white. Unfortunately, it’s out of stock at Joann’s.
From the fabric store we did a quick walk through Mill 77 Trading Company, a multi-dealer showroom. The dealers here sell a lot of chalk-painted furniture and antiques. It was fun to look around, but I was disappointed in their service when I asked about becoming a dealer. The woman at the front counter was very hesitant to offer any information. So we moved on.
Our next stop was Leeward Light Thrift Store. What a great find! If I lived closer, I’d visit this thrift shop far too often. Leeward is a charitable organization that turns donations into funds to help locals in need. The shop itself isn’t that big and holds mostly clothing and small household items; but around the back of the building is an entire lot of furniture. Wonderful, very-low-priced furniture! Aaaaaaah (big smiles!)
If you’re still with me, I’m just now getting to the best part…
Dorene and I both spotted a set of four modern, danish style wood dining chairs at the exact same time. Aren’t they beautiful? So different. When I flipped them over, they still had the original price tags on them. West Elm – $99.00 each.
I’ve been keeping my eyes open for new, wood chairs for my dining room. The vinyl chairs I have now are from Target and have not held up well.
The wood thrift store chairs were part of a set. Paired with a Parsons dining room table from West Elm,the entire set was priced at a bargain price of just $75.00 (table plus 4 chairs). Retail on the set was about $900.
At that point, I should have rushed to the checkout counter and paid the $75, but I really didn’t need the table. I could have refinished and then sold it, but I’ve been working on emptying my garage of projects for the winter. So I asked the manager if she would consider just selling me the chairs. Unfortunately, she didn’t want to break the set, which I understood.
So I kept thinking…
How was I going to work this out so I could take these chairs home without the table?
I then asked her if Leeward was a registered charitble organization. Yes, they were. And, would they give me a receipt if I made a donation? Yes, they would.
So I purchased the entire set (table plus 4 chairs) for $75.00 and then donated the table back to the thrift store. In doing so, they gave me a receipt for the charitable donation which I can now claim on my federal tax return. In doing so it’s like getting money back on my tax return, making the chairs basically free.
Don’t you just love it when a deal works out for both parties involved. Sometimes you just have to think out-of-the-box when you shop. Think differently.