Theory: West Elm’s Marketers Can Hear My Every Thought

Stephen Tornetta
November 30, 2018

After countless years living in an apartment with hand-me-down furniture and the drudgery of not owning any real estate, my partner and I finally bought a house. Sure, in theory, it sounds great. No more paying rent. No more time dealing with bleek hospital white walls. No more rules. Vive la liberté!

But, what everyone forgets to tell you when buying a house, after signing away your first-born child, both of your dogs’ first-born puppies, and all of your money, is that you’ll want to furnish it with things that actually fit in the spaces you now own. In steps the furniture store companies, and every other home-related brand with their “you need this for your new house” advertisements crashing against your will power until you collapse and buy their products.

Functionally, we didn’t really need any new furniture, but we had a dining table from two apartments before our new house, that my partner was given by his former boss. The table was fine. We even refurbished it with some new paint at one point. But when we got it into the house it was too small and just not right. So, we started shopping at my favorite place, Ikea, with no luck. We then moved on to the next tier of stores, West Elm and CB2. Very bougie of us!

We (mainly me) wanted VERY specific qualities in said table, which I’m sure didn’t annoy my partner at ALL. Me screaming into the void: “Nothing too wide, BUT not too skinny either. I want it to be able to expand, BUT when it’s NOT expanded, I want it to be small. AND it needs to fit 8 people but 6 people normally. And it needs to fit into our space perfectly. And needs to be NOT expensive.”

You know, reasonable requests. So we searched and searched, like Goldilocks, with all of this in mind, and it finally happened. We fell in love with this table at West Elm!

Those marketing people at West Elm NOW knew that we liked this table because they could hear our thoughts, and our FBI agent probably told them as well. We started getting bludgeoned by emails, and ads all over! Two months after we saw it, they even sent us a coupon for 25% off dining furniture and we almost did it, but something was holding me back. Maybe it was my spidey sense, or my internal italian grandmother persona saying “wait for a better deal,” even though I knew there was slim chance it would happen. Enter Cyber Monday.

We thought, “let’s see if we can find a dining table. I’m sure there aren’t many deals because it’s a tech day.” Well, we were wrong. Our dream table was not 25%, not 40%, but 50% off!!!!! After seeing it all over our screens for months, longing for it, the stars aligned and the final price piece to the puzzle was handed to us. We bought it for $449.50! We couldn’t believe it and still can’t.

West Elm’s successful marketing efforts over the months from when we first saw it, to when we bought it, never really ceased. It ebbed and flowed for sure, but by constantly showing us our dream table, and finally sweetening the deal with the right price, we caved in. After writing all this I’m imagining myself as Richard Geere in Pretty Woman, and West Elm as Julia Roberts in The Deal” scene bargaining over the price. 

“I would have paid 40% off instead of 50%.”