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Buying furniture? You could have a long wait

IKEA Dresser Tipovers
Posted at 10:12 AM, Apr 30, 2021
and last updated 2021-04-30 13:25:45-04

Are you thinking of buying some new furniture for your home, perhaps with your recent tax refund or stimulus check?

The COVID pandemic has caused a nationwide kitchen appliance shortage, but it turns out the furniture shortage maybe even worse.

Melissa Taylor showed us via Zoom her couch damaged by a water leak last summer during the height of the pandemic shutdowns.

"We woke up one morning to a flood in our family room, and the water fell from the ceiling onto our couch," she said.

So Taylor and her husband rushed out to a local furniture store and ordered a new one.

But her six- to eight-week wait has turned into a six-month wait.

"I don't have the couch yet," she said. "It has been the biggest nightmare."

When she finally reached someone at the store, she got some bad news.

"They haven't started production on my couch, so here I am just waiting," Taylor said.

Many brands, many retailers.... even IKEA

It's happening to furniture buyers nationwide and not just at one store.

Last fall, Cindy Roetker told WCPO she'd been waiting four months for vanity from IKEA. Her bathroom was torn up, awaiting the new piece.

"I'm at my wit's end, and I'm starting to panic because I need a bathroom vanity," she said. (Shortly after we aired our report, we are happy to say IKEA rushed her a new vanity).

Sean O'Brien is the chief marketing officer of Modloft, a contemporary furniture brand.

He blames a combination of soaring demand during the pandemic, as homeowners redid their homes, combined with months-long delays getting fabric from places like India, China, and Vietnam.

"60 percent of our items are on backorder currently," he said. "There are all sorts of places along the line where things can get backed up, and we have to be very good with communicating with the customer what is happening and when."

How to speed up delivery

So what can you do if you need that furniture tomorrow?

If you are shopping at a major furniture store:

  • Ask what product the store has in their local warehouse.
  • Consider the floor model if allowed.
  • Be flexible as to style and color, and go with a readily available unit.
  • If ordering online from a store like Wayfair, look closely at expected delivery dates.

The New York Times says the most important thing is to be patient.

If you don't know what to expect, you could end up like Melissa Taylor.

"I never imagined I would still be waiting on my couch," she said.

The bottom line: If you need to place a special order for a piece of furniture, know it could take a few months, so you don't get overly frustrated, and you don't waste your money.

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