Shopping in the age of the great supply chain disruption — and @ Room & Board

Jonathan Make
5 min readJan 1, 2022


I’ve been feeling optimistic for the last couple days because of shopping at Room & Board. This furniture chain always surpasses my expectations. (See my past posts about this here and also here.)

Imagine if the rest of life were this easy.

The one wrinkle this time, which I was prepared for due to all of the media coverage, was how the great supply chain disruption wrought by the pandemic would affect shipping dates and availability. Plenty, it turns out, if you want to get anything that is customized. If you go with standard colors and dimensions, it seems like it is much less of a problem.

While I am not a paid pitchman for this company, I am a big proponent of it. It offers luxury customer service and customization possibilities at mainstream consumer prices. This is why I have written previously about my family’s experiences there.

For reasons that I will get into in a forthcoming blog post, the time has come to acquire at least a little bit more furniture.

Even before we came into their nearby store yesterday, on the retail stretch of Washington’s 14th Street Northwest, I had arranged an informal appointment with a salesperson.

I’m not sure if they will do this for anyone at no cost, so maybe it is one of the perquisites of being a booster of R&B the store. We were fortunate enough to have a point of contact from our past purchases there, so I started with her. Although Jennifer has moved on to another location, she seamlessly set everything up for our visit and set things in motion.

Alyssa was our salesperson during our visit today. Just like having a personal shopper, I am able to email the store photographs of the area we wish to furnish, and I had room dimensions with me. That’s basically all anyone there has ever needed to point us to attractive furnishings.

We spent two hours looking at couches, kitchen tables and chairs, and easy chair/recliners. Knowing that we have a cat who enjoys climbing furniture and prefers it to scratching posts, Alyssa directed us to fabrics that could bear up under such use.

There was enough choice that we could find colors we liked in styles that go with our abode and our personal tastes. Below is a photo of Courtney in my favorite chair from Room & Board, and a photo of our cat.

We settled on a modern looking couch that was pretty comfy in terms of seeming slightly overstuffed but not overly imposing in its shape and size. We found a kitchen/dining nook table about 36 inches in circumference, with two leather chairs and two more traditional chairs to go with it.

And we found a recliner that is similar to our current one that is probably the favorite chair in our house. (I also recommend it for impromptu, brief naps.) Because the recliner was a floor sample, we got a bit of a discount.

More important since we don’t want to wait too long to get our furniture shipped to us, it turns out that floor samples actually are delivered sooner than new furniture. This was pretty cool to find out. Because it means we can save some cash and also get a chair that we like.

In fact, at least according to the store’s kind of intranet system, we could’ve gotten the chair in like a couple weeks.

Apparently, floor items follow a Byzantine process to get to the customer. But it’s apparently pretty quick. So we pulled the trigger and bought the chair right then.

Regular store items that are in stock take a couple months to arrive. Nothing at all out of the ordinary these days.

We ended up purchasing the other items today. We changed the colors on the four chairs that will go with the kitchen table, since one pair would be delayed until late March if we went with the fabric we had picked out.

Alyssa steered us to a slightly different color scheme for all of the chairs that will go with the table. Another important piece of information that she relayed: Prices for the furniture would go up by an average of about 10% next week. I imagine that the factors behind rising inflation are part of the reason why.

If you want to personalize something or get a fabric that is not a basic one, it could take until summer. That’s thanks to the huge crunch in shipping, manufacturing and many other facets of modern life that we should both be grateful for and stop taking for granted.



Jonathan Make

Buff about good journalism, writing, art & culture. Heart my wife, son & pets. See my LinkedIn for professional bio info.