Wednesday, January 9, 2013

Bargain Hunter

Bargain Hunter
By Allison Adams 10-08-12 / Submitted to The Greeneville Sun on 10-14-12

I recently found myself in the market for 3 director’s chairs. 

After performing an extensive online search, I discovered I could order the perfect director’s chairs for $40 a piece - $120 total.  

The price included the canvas seat and back pieces – any color of my choosing. 

Shipping was free if I ordered before the end of the month. 

They were perfect – but pricey – and I was on a budget.

Determined to find a better deal, I set out on a mission to hunt for a bargain.

Allow me to diagram the anatomy of an Adams Bargain:

(I’ll wait while you get out your calculator.)

I used about a quarter of a tank of gas (about $14) searching area used furniture and antique stores for bargain chairs.

My persistence paid off when I came across 3 very used director’s chairs complete with their canvas covers.  They were in rough shape, but I recognized their potential and was more than happy to shell out the asking price for the set: $35.  Score!

I hauled them home and spent time cleaning them up, but they still lacked luster. 

Every worthwhile endeavor deserves some research so I spent about 45 minutes on Pinterest studying the world’s DIY projects (and the latest in fashion finds) before it hit me that the solution to bringing my tired, old, chairs back to life was – duh – spray paint! 

I dashed off to Lowe’s to buy two cans of Moss Green spray paint at $3.68 each, plus tax.

I unloaded two cans of spray paint and only managed to cover almost all of one chair, and slightly less than half of another. 

I also covered more than three-quarters of 1 pair of knockoff UGGS house shoes that carry an unfortunate price tag of $35, plus tax. 

And there was some spray paint shrapnel on one leg of my yoga pants that I don’t wear for yoga ($29.95, plus tax).

Plus I ruined my manicure ($25).

I dashed back to Lowe’s for one more can of spray paint ($3.68, plus tax), and while I was there I impulsively bought a decorative window valance and a festive pumpkin – neither of which were necessities ($27.95, plus tax.)

I unloaded that new can of spray paint on the uncovered parts of two chairs and still didn’t have enough left to fully cover the third.

While the paint dried I realized the canvas seat and back covers that came with the tired chairs were badly soiled, but salvageable. 

It occurred to me that a soak in Rit dye in my preferred color – black – would bring them back to life.

I ran out to the store to get Rit dye, splurging on a bottle instead of the box ($3.28, plus tax).

I dyed the dickens out of the soiled canvas covers, but they didn’t turn out nearly as dark as I’d hoped they’d be. 

After I finished the dying process I read the directions on the back of the empty bottle and it turns out I was supposed to shake well before use.  

Oh, sure – now they tell me.  

I considered buying another bottle of dye, but I didn’t think I could survive another dye bath.  Literally.

Instead, I went to the fabric store and purchased black canvas duck, sturdy thread, and new sewing machine needles ($18.78, plus tax) so I could make my own covers.

After a lot of gnashing of teeth, the seat cover sewing project turned out perfectly. 

(Those of you playing along on your calculators should not be tempted to hit the total button just yet.)

Back to Lowe’s for another can of spray paint ($3.68, plus tax) to finish painting the last chair.

The can barely covered the chair, but it was probably due to the fact that it also covered some of my garage door, which was not in my original plan.

I think the garage door looks nice with a pop of color.

(Now you may hit the total button.)

In conclusion, after a lot of time, energy, and gnashing of teeth, I ended up with 3 nearly perfect director’s chairs for only $203.68 (plus tax) instead of paying $120 for already perfect ones.

That, my friends, is what you call an Adams Bargain.

(And I was lying about the festive pumpkin:  I absolutely needed it.)

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