Recline in Peace
By Emily Chase
My husband plunks down on our recliner and breaks the mechanism. The chair now has a severe cant to one side. After years of warning our children not to abuse the chair, my husband has broken it himself.
“Don’t worry, Gene,” I assure him. “The chair came with a lifetime warranty.”
Reaching into the cupboard where I file all product warranties, sure enough I locate the document. As I read it, however, I learn the lifetime warranty covers only the stain guard treatment applied to fabric.
Reading aloud, I quote, “This warranty does NOT apply to stains resulting from dyes, inks, caustic solutions, nail polish, paint, bleaches, vomit, excrement, animals or incontinent human stain. It doesn’t cover damage that occurs prior to or during delivery, furniture that has been mishandled, abused or neglected. The policy further excludes damage caused by normal soiling from everyday use or soil build‑up over time.”
“Great. That eliminates over‑use, under‑use and normal use. What DOES it cover?”
“The warranty also excludes damage from fire, flood, wind, lightning or other natural disasters. And last, it won’t cover unknown stains.”
“So if we knowingly spill a glass of non‑acidic, clear fruit juice, these people might come clean the chair?”
“Blood might be covered too. Especially when I get hold of the person who wrote this warranty!”
The following week, we shop for a new recliner. Something the same height, width, color, and style will do just fine.
I tell the salesperson, “We’re looking for a high‑leg Queen Anne‑style reclining chair.”
She leads us to the only chair in the store that comes close to that description. It lacks the delicate lines of our former chair, but Gene sits down for a test‑drive. The chair eases into the first position but fights back when my husband tries to recline to a horizontal position. Each time he relaxes, the chair returns to an upright position. It was designed by an angry airline flight attendant.
Meanwhile the clerk assures me that other fabrics are available. The store also offers a special lifetime stain‑guard protection which I can purchase for an additional $29.95. Right.
My husband tries a different chair. As he reclines into the over‑stuffed cloud of microfiber and closes his eyes, he enters nirvana.
“That chair swivels, rocks and reclines,” the clerk points out. “You can get it with a glider or vibrator feature.”
“Does it make coffee?”
Rolling her eyes, the clerk explains a special offer advertised in the front window. “Purchase any item of furniture at a cost over $500 and you will receive $500 worth of free groceries!”
This sounds too good to be true. I learn that to recover $500 on my purchase, I will have to mail in my grocery receipts every month for the next twenty months. For each $100 of groceries, I will receive a gift card for $25 for groceries. If my receipts in any given month do not total $100 or if I fail to mail in my receipts, I forfeit the $25 for that month. Like unused minutes on old phone plans, my points will not roll over to the next month. In other words, the store will tie my life in knots for the next year and a half. The diabolical person who wrote the warranty on my first chair is now writing rebate policies.
My husband and I walk out of the store. We opt to repair our old chair. After all, the lifetime warranty is still in effect.
Verse: 1 Kings 8:56 “Praise the Lord who has . . . kept all the generous promises he made.” (GNB)