Store sells customer a display model chair after he says he doesn't want it

Tracey Folly

*This is a work of nonfiction based on actual events as told to me by a woman who experienced them firsthand; used with permission.

My father went shopping for a good comfortable chair one day, and he was very pleased with one particular chair he found. He bought it and arranged to have it delivered, and he was quite content except for one problem.

My father had heard bad things about this furniture store from a friend. Allegedly, they liked to ship out their floor model furniture to customers after many other prospective customers had already sat on them. My father didn't want any part of that.

"Don't send me the floor model," he instructed the salesperson. "I don't want a chair that people have been sitting on. It makes me feel like I'm buying a secondhand chair at brand-new prices."

If this story sounds familiar, it's because this wasn't my father's first and only tangle with a furniture salesman who tried to give him a floor model product and pass it off as brand new from the warehouse. He actually had a similar experience when he bought a television set. This was back in the days when television sets were massive, heavy affairs with ornately carved wooden cabinets.

When the chair was being delivered, my father told the deliverymen to hold on a minute. The chair was on the walkway leading to the front door. It wasn't in the house yet.

My father bent down and examined the chair. "See that mark on the wood? It's so small you can hardly notice it unless you know about it. Well, I put that mark on the chair myself with my pocket knife to see if your boss is an honest man, and now I know he's not."

"Take him back his chair, and I will swing by the store later for my refund. Tell him not to come near me. I just want my money back. Tell him if I wanted a used chair, I would have gone to a thrift store."

The delivery men put the chair back on the truck and took the gently used chair away. My father got his refund.

It might sound like my father was a difficult man, and he was. In fact, he still is. Nonetheless, he taught me an important lesson: always be on the lookout for scams, no matter how small they might seem.

When it comes to buying furniture, beware of stores that try to pass off floor models as brand new products. This is a common scam, and it's difficult to spot if you're not careful. Always inspect the furniture carefully, and if you see any signs that other customers have used it, make sure to ask for a refund. Don't let yourself be scammed by dishonest furniture salespeople.

However, I wouldn't advise marking the furniture yourself as my father did. He's lucky the salespeople didn't cite that as a reason not to refuse his request for a refund.

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