Being a New Parent is Insane: The Story of the Wrong Sofa

by Dr. Punita Rice Life

Being a new parent is insane. But we love our Sven, so it's all good.

Being a new parent is insane. This is magnified x20 when you’re also simultaneously studying for comps and finishing your doctorate. Being a new parent is insane because it blinds you to things that should be really obvious, like having furniture in your house that you definitely didn’t buy.

This is the story of how I bought a sofa. Then got the wrong sofa. Then took over a year to figure it out. Because, as mentioned previously, being a new parent is insane.

It began so innocently…

Last Spring, my husband and I were in the market for comfortable, attractive seating in our rec room/basement/entry space. We went back and forth on a million options before finally setting on a sofa from (then; they rebranded): the “Echo” in Oxford Tan.

Echo Oxford Sofa in Tan

Echo Oxford Tan Sofa (here)

It was perfect: A three-seater. 84″ wide. Solid wood, stainless steel, leather. Contemporary but inviting.

And we’d had good luck with ordering things online. We had previously ordered a sofa, sight unseen, and had a pleasant experience (a Crate and Barrel sofa in our living room), so we decided to take the plunge and buy it even though we’d only seen it online. It was on back-order in that colorway, so we had to wait something like 12 weeks (around July of 2016) to finally receive it.

Before I continue, let me say that, when the sofa finally arrived at this time a year ago, our son was only a few months old. Baby Brain + actually taking care of a baby is an insane combination. Plus, at the same time, I was studying for comps, and I was in the middle of a semester. All of this is to say, things were more than just a little crazy at our house.

The arrival of a lovely sofa

Anyway, in July of last year, a beautiful sofa from Article finally arrived. We put it together (which took about five minutes), sat on it, relaxed, and enjoyed our lovely new purchase. In the haze of being new parents, and in my case, also a doctoral student still gasping for air, we didn’t even realize that this wasn’t what we bought.

And since it was in our rec room / basement area, I rarely used it. (We hang out on our main floor, where our living room is). And when I would see it, I wouldn’t also be googling the style name… I don’t know. Somehow, it just never clicked that this wasn’t what we ordered. And we continued to not realize that this wasn’t what we bought. For. A. Year. Because being a new parent is insane.

So, fast forward to last week. My Mom was looking for a small sofa to replace an old one in her basement, and while her taste is more traditional than mine, her basement is a little more contemporary than the rest of her house – so she asked me where she could find something slightly modern.

Without hesitating, I recommended Article, and she promptly bought the 72″ Sven. It arrived in a few days, and when I went over to check it out, I had all the heart-eyes for it, and was like, man I wish I’d bought one like this instead of the Echo.

Then my Mom asks, wait what does yours look like again?

So I start describing it, because I can picture the Echo, as seen on the Article website, very clearly in my mind. I tell her about its beautiful steel legs. It’s strong contemporary lines. And I say hold on, I’ll just show you a picture. So then, I go to the Article website on my phone to look up the Echo.

The dawning of realization

And then I stop, and stand still as the weight of realization starts to press down on my shoulders.

Wait. My sofa… Does it have steel legs? Also, isn’t my sofa at home not as structured as the one in this picture? And doesn’t my sofa have three cushions, and not two?

And then, I must be mistaken.

I’ll look when I get home. 

And then, I drive home.

And as soon as I get into the house, and my eyes land on the glorious sofa in our basement/rec room, my jaw literally drops.

Being a new parent is insane. That's why it took me a year to realize this was the wrong sofa.

Nirvana Dakota Tan Sofa (here)… A lovely sofa that is very clearly not the Echo.

Aaaand that’s my sofa.

As a reminder, this is the Echo:

Echo Oxford Sofa in Tan

Echo Oxford Tan Sofa (here)

Hi, um, Article? So, I had a baby last year, and as you may have heard, being a new parent is insane…

So then, I call Article’s customer service line.

And I start telling them what happened.

I make it clear that don’t want anything, but I do want to tell them this crazy story, and am curious as to how this initially happened. I’m also very forthcoming about my status as a ridiculous human who took over a year to figure out I got the wrong sofa.

The lady who takes my call is awesome. She’s friendly, and she laughs at my story with me. AND she says they can probably help. She tells me what email address to contact to help me fix the situation.

So next I send an email recapping the whole story, and again, make it clear that I don’t really expect anything.

I also share my theory with them; that maybe it happened somehow due to the rebranding; Bryght was changed to Article after we placed our order so maybe that’s why our order got messed up? (It might have been something even simpler; Chad, the email customer service rep, suggests maybe it was a simple error in the warehouse, where our sofa was either mislabeled, or the wrong box was picked up).

Article then goes out of their way to offer possible ways to correct the mistake. Including offering to replace our wrong sofa with the Echo… without charging us for the pickup or delivery, even though it’s a year later.

But then I get a fancy idea.

If you don’t ask, they can’t say yes

You know how people say something like “if you don’t ask, they can’t say yes” to things like asking for a promotion/raise, or asking someone out on a date?

I had fallen in love with the Sven at my parents house. And I decide that a really ideal outcome to this whole situation would be if I can somehow get the Sven (in the full size, not the smaller one my mom bought) instead of the Echo. (I had decided before asking this that if they said yes, I’d put the Sven in our main floor living room… Where I would actually look at it every day).

So I ask if I can get the Sven instead, even though that wasn’t even what we had originally ordered. And they say yes! We paid the $100 difference between our original intended order – the Echo – and the Sven, and they set up the delivery and pickup in the next week.

The moral of the story: If you’re a brand new parent, look very carefully at your newly delivered furniture to make sure it’s actually what you ordered.

Also, if you are contemplating buying furniture from Article, do it. I don’t think delivering the wrong sofa is a wildly common occurrence. And clearly, if/when it does happen, they go out of their way to fix it.

Anyway… That was the odd story of how it took me over a year to realize I had the wrong sofa (because, again, being a new parent is insane). And the story of how good customer service isn’t dead (as evidenced by Article’s team going above and beyond to correct their mistake). And of course, it was the story of how in spite of how crazy life with a new baby has been (because being a new parent is insane), it resulted in my ending up with my dream sofa.

Here’s the Sven below, enjoying it’s new home in our main floor living room.

Being new parents is insane. But we love our Sven, so it's all good.

Sven Charme Chocolat here, photo of my living room (featuring my son dabbing) from my Instagram

Punita's new sofa - Being a new parent is insane, or the story of how we had the wrong couch for a year - Aka being a new parent is insane

Our new sofa in all its glory (and another cameo by my son, this time playing the xylophone)

See? Sometimes the mistakes made by new parents can have a happy ending. (And if you made it all the way to the end of this post, thanks!)

So… what’s the most ridiculous thing having kids had caused you to screw up?

P.S. – Here’s a link to where my friend Cherie shared what she finds most challenging about becoming a stay at home mom, and here are some old thoughts on becoming parents.

About the Author

Dr. Punita Rice

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Dr. Punita Rice is a wife and mama, an education researcher, a writer, the founder and director of ISAASE, and an advisor with Johns Hopkins University School of Education's Doctor of Education program. Her work centers around multicultural education and equity, and South Asian American experiences in school. You can read more about Punita and her work here. Punita also writes about life, culture, education, and motherhood here on her blog. She works from home in Maryland, and drinks a great deal of coffee.