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This Play Ended Our Four Year Odyssey…for Outdoor Furniture

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Outdoor Furniture Deals

Outdoor Furniture Deals

I’ve learned even more about myself since I quit my job and we relocated about five years ago.  For instance, after building a rather large deck with my father in law, I learned that I don’t want to build another large deck.  Beyond maintenance (staining, replacing boards, etc), I’m tapping out.  Something else I subsequently learned is I despise shopping for outdoor furniture.  The wife and I have been looking for the right setup for over four years.  We finally accomplished the goal, and I can’t say I expected to this way.  Outdoor furniture deals are out there, and I recommend you consider the following option.  But first, let me share a bit of background.

How We Got Here

In our outdoor furniture deals search, my wife and I have looked at big box stores, smaller shops, online, and designed custom sets.  Nothing was quite right.  The variety and inventory at big box stores like Lowe’s and Home Depot was limited.  What they did have seemed chintzy, garish, or both.  Meanwhile, I was waiting to be hit by a speeding forklift.

When I asked to see other options, we were simply told to “shop online.”  Thanks, pal.  We weren’t up for buying a set we hadn’t tried out, especially at prices we found ludicrous.  Instead, we searched other stores, big and small.  Along the way, I learned something about this retail sector.  There’s a bunch of cheap, rickety stuff, plenty of quality sets starting at $3-4k, and not much between.

Outdoor Furniture Deals

We decided to reevaluate.  We designed a custom set made of completely recyclable materials and felt great about it.  As we got closer to the purchase, it set in that we were about to pay almost $5k for outdoor furniture.  We like the outdoors, but we use our den furniture way more.  Why would we pay way more for the outdoor stuff?

We deferred yet again and continued using our decaying, past practical use set.

An Answer In Plain Sight

The answer had been not too far down the road from us the whole time.  A discount furniture store!  I’d passed the place every few weeks, hardly recognizing it was there.  The still-actually-open store was housed in a how-has-this-not-been-torn-down building.  But the reputable business had been there for years.  It just sort of blended into the country road blur at 45 mph.

Not this time – my wife and I stopped in.  As we exited our car, I could see the salesman standing inside, just a few feet behind the all-glass door, waiting to pounce.  I sighed, reflexively.

It turns out that salesman was the 84-year-old store owner.  The store held a completely random assortment of patio sets, loungers, benches, tables, chairs, pillows, etc.  It seemed random, because it was (more on that in a bit).

Zeroing In

We found four cast aluminum chairs with comfy, durable Sunbrella cushions.  I enjoyed bouncing and swiveling.  “A hundred dollars” for a chair, the owner said without us soliciting.  I asked where the tables were.  “Outside.”  I went out and saw nothing.  The owner joined me a minute later, walking past our car, the parking lot, and nearby a ditch.  There were all the tables.  My wife joined us.  We found a fairly heavy table for six made of cast aluminum and stone.  Again, without asking, we heard, “four hundred.”

Back inside, we found two more chairs that complemented the set.  Bouncy, but no swivel.  Oh, the horror.  A hundred for each of those.  Sounds good to me.

Outdoor Furniture Deals

How The Sausage Is Made

I must quickly preface.  Many of you may know how this or similar industries work, but I didn’t specifically.  Call me naive.  It’s just an area I’ve never dealt with before.

The owner explained that many big retailers receive an extra inventory for satisfying warranty claims.  He focuses on Costco, Sam’s, and Macy’s, and he cited that they usually hold an extra 10% or so of inventory for such cases.  Inevitably, retailers don’t end up needing all this inventory as seasons pass.  The owner buys this excess inventory at a substantial discount and subsequently marks it up for consumers like us.  That price is still substantially under what the furniture went for at the big box store.

Taking into account taxes and delivery, we paid $1,120 for our table and six chairs.  I couldn’t find our exact model online, but similar items came in around $3k, others approaching $4k total.  Conservatively, we saved well over $1k, and closer to $2k, possibly.  The cherry on top – the store took Amex.

And yes, I did consider haggling but ultimately decided against doing so.  We felt great about the deal we got, and we wanted this four year journey to end.

Considerations

Inventory at this store was very random, and the owner underscored how unpredictable it can be.  Our trip was a home run, but we could’ve easily missed out.

And what discounters do have may not be enough.  Optimally, we would’ve liked six matching chairs, but the store only had four.  At these prices, we had open minds on finding similar furniture that may not perfectly match.  The store “normally” has umbrellas but was out when we visited.  That’s still on our list but easy to solve.  More likely, I’ll make a weekly call to the owner and run down to the store when they arrive.

We gave up warranty protections as part of this type of sale, as well.

Conclusion

After a four year search, we found comfy, durable furniture at an outstanding price point.  Things worked out long term, it’s just the term was a bit longer than I expected.  This experience again reminded us that the best deals are most often not the obvious ones.  I follow this adage with credit card rewards, travel, and elsewhere, but I needed that education with outdoor furniture deals, of all things.  What plays have you found in unexpected places?

Disclosure: Miles to Memories has partnered with CardRatings for our coverage of credit card products. Miles to Memories and CardRatings may receive a commission from card issuers.

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Benjy Harmon
Benjy Harmon
Benjy focuses on the intersection of points, travel, and financial independence (FI). An experienced world traveler, husband, and father, he currently roams throughout the USA close to expense-free. Benjy enjoys helping others achieve their FI and travel goals.

Responses are not provided or commissioned by the bank advertiser. Responses have not been reviewed, approved or otherwise endorsed by the bank advertiser. It is not the bank advertiser's responsibility to ensure all posts and/or questions are answered.

4 COMMENTS

  1. Benjy,

    Do you have any recommendations on finding stores that work within the model as place you for your furniture? Are they generally named or categorized under ‘discount’ furniture/outdoor furniture? Thanks.

    • RonB,
      Unfortunately, this seems to be a remarkably regional game. Keep your eyes open, presume nothing, turn over the stones, and see what you find. Good luck!

  2. I needed some Dental work and my local Dentist wanted about 14,000 dollars. After doing some research I discovered many Americans travel to Costa Rica, so I traveled to San Jose. I had my work done a very modern Dental facility, they even picked me up at the Airport.When was the last time your Dentist picked you up? The experience was awesome and the cost was 3000.00 dollars a saving of 11000.00 dollars. I traveled on points and stayed at a Hilton for 25,000 points per night. Everyone at the hotel was American and their for Dental work.I quickly made friends and we had dinner together every night.

    • James,
      I love it! Even better, you didn’t need any sort of elite status for that free ride from the airport. Thanks for reading!

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