A client tasked me with getting a sectional sofa into her Arlington-challenged, narrow-entry basement.
I found a company called Wayfair whose line of Simplicity furniture is designed for "small spaces, tight places" and guaranteed to fit through doors and stairways as narrow as 15 inches--including a sleeper sofa. They all require "quick assembly," and their online reviews were largely positive.
IKEA also sells sofas that come in boxes and require assembly. On the IKEA website, you can click on the item's "Show dimensions, weight and article numbers" to see if the package measurements will work in your space.
Home Reserve is an online company that caters to those looking for a "small space solution." They sell sectionals and send them to you by piece--so you receive one box per piece instead of a full sofa. There's no way to test their product in person, so they offer a "risk-free trial," allowing you to order a single piece for inspection. This company received a lot of positive online reviews.
But the final option was the winner: she will buy a regular sectional sofa and hire a service to disassemble it to get it into the room and reassemble it once in. Dr. Sofa, a disassembly service, told me they can disassemble and reassemble "anything." Once you order your sofa, you contact them with the brand and model type for an estimate. When I asked for a rough estimate for a Macy's L-shaped sectional sofa, they said the work would consist of two pieces. The first piece would be $350 to $400, and the second would be $50 less, $300 to $350. I called them twice and found them easy to contact and very helpful. They are popular in New York City, and I found many positive reviews.
2. Fun with Picmonkey
If your inner Annie Leibovitz or Andy Warhol wants to come out to play, head on over to the free Picmonkey design site, and you will find endless tools to create invitations or cards, edit photos, make collages, and more.
Their tools are super intuitive, and they offer many tutorial videos and guides for help. If you find the site useful, you can upgrade to the paid version for less than $5 a month and you will be able to save your draft work and get extra tools.
This month a client wanted to embed a digital baby shower invitation into an email in lieu of using an e-invite service. Using an invitation she liked from a catalog as a model, I signed on to Picmonkey to create a similar version using their geometric overlays.
PicMonkey has lots of great blogs offering helpful tips.
3. Many Happy Returns
Good customer service always makes me The Happiest Girl in the Whole U.S.A. After I recently had a terrific return experience at Anthropologie, I was curious about the in-store return/exchange policies at other stores. Below are my findings, but be aware that some companies, such as Best Buy and Staples, use a return tracking service to weed out chronic returners.
Returns accepted for 14 days following purchase or receipt of item, which includes items opened, with the exception of: software installed on any computer, electronic software downloads, software upgrades, gift cards, Apple Developer products, Apple Print Products. No restocking fees. During the holidays, the 14 days is usually extended.
With receipt: full refund within 14 days of purchase on items in their original condition. With gift receipt: full refund in the form of a Barnes and Noble gift card. See the website for information on returning a Nook.
With receipt: full refund or exchange, any time. Without a receipt and purchased within the past 365 days: attempt will be made to locate purchase in system; if unable to locate record of purchase, exchange or credit less 20% of the current selling price.
With receipt: full refund on item purchased within 15 days, must include all contents and product packaging. Without receipt: bring credit card used to make purchase. Without complete packaging: a deduction might be made to the refund. Best Buy "Elite" members get extended return time.
With receipt: a full refund/exchange within 120 days of purchase. (If cash was used, they will refund up to $400. If check was used, they will refund up to $200. A corporate check will be mailed for any amount in excess.) If credit card was used, they will refund the full amount. Without a receipt and item purchased w/ credit card: they will search for transaction in their system over previous 120 days and give full refund. If unable to locate: store credit in form of Container Store gift card. See their website for returns after 120 days.
With receipt: cosmetics have 100% satisfaction guarantee; return opened/unopened beauty product for full refund, no questions asked. Without a receipt: refund made with CVS gift card.
Giant (per customer service phone call)
No refunds/exchanges on phone cards, gift cards, baby formula, tobacco products, expired products. With receipt on all other items: full refund possible, determination made on a case-by-case/product basis. Without receipt: refund made on a case-by-case/product basis and given in the form of a Giant gift card.
With receipt: full refund within 90 days of purchase on new/unopened items. Without receipt: full refund within 90 days of purchase if transaction can be located in system. See their website for further information about appliance returns.
With receipt: full refund or exchange on any new or worn item, no questions asked. Items purchased 9 months+: refund issued in the form of a refund check. Without a receipt: refund or exchange at lowest sale price in form of Lands' End gift card.
With receipt (or your phone number if you gave it to them): full refund within 90 days of purchase. Without receipt: full refund, if transaction can be located in their system within 90 days of purchase.
With receipt: full refund, no time limit. Without a receipt: they will search for transaction using account number, Customer Return Label, Gift Registry Number; if unable to locate, refund made in the amount of lowest sale price. Check website for exceptions to furniture, bedding, jewelry, watches, rugs, optical, fur, Louis Vuitton (who knew?!), maternity, Stride Rite purchases.
With a receipt: full refund or exchange within 180 days from purchase. After 180 days, a full refund on a Michael's gift card. All returns must be new, unused, unopened, in original packaging, excluding defective merchandise or product. Without a receipt: a transaction search will be performed and if located, a full refund. If not located, a refund will be issued for the lowest price sold within previous 90 days on a Michaels Store Return Card or an exchange offered.
With receipt: unlimited full refund on Office Depot branded products, full refund on non-Office Depot products within 90 days of purchase, full refund on all unopened ink/toner within 30 days of purchase, full refund on all unopened electronics and furniture within 14 days of purchase. Without receipt: no technology returns, software/CDs/DVDs/video games may be exchanged for exact item. Office Depot will attempt to search for original purchase in their system and will refund all other purchases at lowest sale price.
With receipt: full refund/exchange within 30 days of purchase. (See their website about returning furniture.) With gift receipt: Full refund in the form of a Pottery Barn gift card. Wedding Registry: full refund/exchange 90 days from event or purchase, whichever date is later.
With receipt: full refund or exchange within one year of purchase. Their guarantee, however, doesn't cover ordinary wear and tear or damage caused by improper use or accident. Used items must be cleaned for return or exchange.
With receipt/Wellness Cardmembers: full refund within 90 days of purchase. Without a receipt: refund of lowest promotion price in 45 days in Rite Aid gift card or product exchange.
Safeway (per customer service phone call)
No refunds/exchanges on phone cards, gift cards, baby formula, tobacco products, expired products. With receipt on all other items: full refund possible, determination made made on a case-by-case/product basis. Without receipt: refund made on a case-by-case/product basis and given in the form of a Safeway gift card.
With receipt and complete packaging: full refund on office supplies, ink/toner, unopened software returns for any reason, provided it's in salable condition with original packaging, including the UPC code, manuals, parts, receipt, packing slip. No time limit. Without the receipt: bring credit card used for purchase and they will search for the sale. Electronics can be returned 14 days from purchase, extensions made during the holidays.
With a receipt: most unopened items can be returned within 90 days to receive a refund or exchanges. (Some items will have a modified return policy on the receipt, i.e. holiday themed purchases. Electronics/entertainment items within 30 days of purchase. For more exceptions, visit their website and click on Return Exceptions.) With a receipt and a Target Owned Brand item: return it within 365 days for a refund or exchange.
With receipt: full refund within 90 days from purchase on new (and "like-new" condition) items with complete original packaging. Unopened electronics (cameras, camcorders, video games, etc.) must be returned within 30 days of purchase. Unopened computer hardware (e-readers, tablets, etc.) must be returned within 15 days of purchase. Visit their website for further exceptions.
With receipt: full refund/exchange within 30 days of purchase. (See their website about returning cutlery and items from a gift registry.) With gift receipt: full refund in the form of a Williams-Sonoma gift card.
1. Signing Off an Email
Click here to find out how your closing compares in this Best and Worst list. Sincerely, Your Personal Assistant.
2. Thanks, Ang!
You can now use Angie's List for free to review basic consumer rating and reviews. Join for free.
Check out this free app, Mobile Passport--officially authorized by the U.S. Customs & Border Protection--if you will be flying into Dulles International, Minneapolis St. Paul, and /or Raleigh Durham airports on an international flight. It allows travelers to easily submit their customs declaration info via their iPhone or iPad and bypass the regular line to enter the United States.
5. Be Gone Live Video Notifications on Facebook
On the notification, hover your cursor to the far right and you'll find a drop down cursor. Click on it and you'll see an option to Turn off notifications about live videos from Wherever. Here's the FB thread that I used to Stop the Madness.
6. Hostess Gift Alert
Once upon a time, Your Personal Assistant was looking for cocktail stirrers fora little affair featuring gin & tonic. Lo and behold, a dear friend gave me these fabulous plastic Cheers sticks sold by the cool cats at Sideshow Press. Look what other bar items they sell--love these bar glasses and coasters. All reasonably priced and perfect to order for your hostess gift stash. Or me.