Lessons from a Recovering Doormat

I have a hand-me-down table and chairs in my dining area. It’s what people see first when they walk into my apartment. I’ve never liked them but they served a purpose. I got used to using this table and chairs and they became part of my normal environment. Someone close to me offered to buy me new chairs for the holidays. I was surprised but she said it was long overdue. I turned her offer down, but it made me more conscious that I needed new furniture.

So I promised myself that when I got my next really good book deal, I’d splurge on a new dinette set. I got a good deal this week!

I live in Manhattan, without a car, and have little access to one. I looked online for dinette sets but preferred to see the furniture in person before buying anything, especially after reading bad reviews about chairs I liked a lot. I wracked my brain trying to figure out who could help me. I’ve always depended on people with cars, and preferably some strength. But most of my friends don’t have cars. I felt frustrated, until it hit me.

I had to handle it myself! I liked the idea of being more self-sufficient.

So yesterday I looked online at Ikea’s selection and found a table and chairs I liked. But they weren’t available online. Bah! I thought about renting a car but it’s very pricy in the city. Normally when I do, I go to Long Island, as Enterprise has a great weekend special. But that meant killing a lot of time and I’m time deprived with 2 book deals on short deadlines and 2 new books about to be launched. I saw there was an Ikea in Brooklyn. Daylle normally doesn’t go to Brooklyn! But it was near the first stop from Manhattan. They have a bus from the subway station.

I thought about it all day and in the late afternoon, on the spur of the moment, I hopped on the subway and headed to Brooklyn.

It was very cold. There was a little wait for the free shuttle bus but was way too far to walk. So I focused on how happy I was to be taking control of getting what I needed. When I arrived I was revved! I chose the table and chairs I wanted. I asked sales rep what they charge to have it shipped. Seems they have a flat fee for a delivery—100 bucks! The guy assured me it was good because I could get a lot of furniture for that one fee.

But I didn’t need a lot of furniture! My unassembled table was bulky and heavy but the chairs weren’t. I wasn’t going to buy more to take advantage of this flat fee delivery charge!

I chatted up some friendly salespeople and asked for suggestions. One told me there were livery cabs out front. She warned me to be careful, since they can charge inflated rates. I smiled and said I’m a New Yorker, used to negotiating and went to get my table and chairs. The table is quite heavy. I tried to pull it off the shelf, as Ikea has a self-service system. My mind went to thoughts of having to skip buying the table that night and trying to find someone strong to come with me at another time to get the table.

But I wanted to get it now! So I decided that I find a way. Determined, I saw 2 guys in the aisle and asked if they’d help me get the table into the rack underneath my shopping cart.

They did! It barely fit. They had to put it so it stuck out on both sides, making it hard to maneuver the cart and get around. Still determined, I slowly walked the cart to the checkout. Then I walked outside to find a ride. A guy ran over. He was with a group of drivers, looking for people to make money from. He said $50 to take me home, which wasn’t close, but I felt this was too much. So I said no. He went down to $40. I said $35. He refused and walked away. I finally agreed to $40.

Then another guy ran over and said he’d take me for $35. I’d already agreed to the $40. Old thoughts played ping-pong as they went through my head.

* It wasn’t nice to go back on the agreement, BUT, why shouldn’t I pay less?
* He’d already walked me out, pushing my cart, BUT the other guy actually seemed more pleasant. The first one seemed surly.

The people pleaser would have felt obligated to go with the first guy under the guise of trying to be nice. But I don’t live in DoorMatville anymore! Yet I’d agreed to pay him what he asked. Wasn’t it the nice thing to do to go with him? NO!

I’m still nice but knew that paying more to a guy who seemed unpleasant wasn’t nice.

So I went with the other guy. He agreeably loaded my stuff without letting me help. I’m sure the other guy would have grumbled about how heavy the table was. We had a nice conversation as we drove. The other guy would have been silent and I’d have felt uncomfortable. When we got to my building, the driver insisted on carrying the table all the way into my elevator since my doorman said he couldn’t carry it. I ended up giving him $40 anyway, since he’d been so nice and helpful.

My doorman didn’t want me to have to drag the table from the elevator to my door so he locked the front door, got a dolly, and helped me bring it into my apartment. I’ve been nice to him and he wanted to help me. Today I’ll put it together. It feels so good knowing that step-by-step, I manifested ways to get my table and chairs home. I took control and by doing so, solutions came. A friend can’t imagine how I got such a heavy table home. But it really wasn’t tough.

I never had to lift it—not once! All along the way home I expected to get help and got it.

Most tasks are do-able when you have faith and determination. And it can work out for your highest good when you make what’s best for you a priority, without hurting someone. I felt proud that I got on the subway and went to get my furniture. I also felt proud that I didn’t succumb to old “be nice” messages that would have put me in the car with the first guy. It all worked out because it was my intention! Life is so much sweeter when you take care of yourself with faith that everything will work out!

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