I have a new observation about Chile and I just realized that I summed it up very well in an email I just sent to a couple of friends back home.
Here is the snippet that sums up my latest observation and conclusion:
“…Gonzalo is AMAZING. We bought a sofa last night for our place and are having it custom made. The bad thing about Chile is that they sell the EXACT same thing in all stores and there is a COMPLETE LACK of specialty stores (think Bed Bath and Beyond, Pottery Barn, Crate & Barrel, etc). It’s all the same department stores selling the same sh*t. BORING. So we had to go UBER expensive and get our sofa AND our nightstands and dressers CUSTOMIZED.
Chile is a weird, weird place that in some ways forces you to conform. If you want to be different, there is a price to pay. It’s a weird phenomenon.”
I have found this to be true especially in the retail environment. Perhaps not so much in the, say, entertainment aspect since from what I can tell, there are ALL KINDS of restaurants, pubs, bars and nightclubs. But in the retail environment there are THREE major players (other players too but I’m talking major department stores here) and they are: Ripley, Paris and Falabella. The theory Gonzalo and I had was that perhaps the Paris in La Florida (a district of Santiago) had different items than the Paris in, say, La Dehesa (another, more upscale district of Santiago). We were mistaken. We went UP and DOWN Santiago and visited EVERY SINGLE Ripley, Paris and Falabella we could feasibly trek to and each and every one had the EXACT SAME thing.
Now, I’m not one to criticize people’s tastes in sofas but I personally don’t happen to like leather sofas and I feel that they do not express me at all, nor do I feel that they express what I want my home to convey. That’s just me. To each his own. However, I would say that about 70% of the sofas they sell in Chile are leather and they all look really similar to one another. So then I wonder, do Chileans really like leather sofas or is it that they are FORCED to like leather sofas for lack of better, less-expensive options?
Here’s an example of what they are selling at Falabella for about $1200 USD:
Ok, to be fair, they do have fabric sofas as well but those looks alike too. But then again, what am I expecting? Sofas have seat cushions and back cushions and arm rests…do I want a seven foot tall sofa with ONE giant seat that’s big enough for 8 people?? Why even write this post?
I think that the reason I had such a hard time finding a sofa is because I wanted one that was EXACTLY like the one I had in my apt back home. Take a gander here:
I searched high and low for this sofa which was my very first “adult” purchase when I moved out to live on my own. It was a huge hit with guests – my friends are sure to attest to that. Plus, I loved that it was red since I felt that it gave my home a type of warmth that, to me, other colored sofas couldn’t really manage. Gonzalo fell in love with it too and so of course we took this search for a similar sofa to the streets of Santiago.
That’s when we learned that if we wanted this type of sofa – with it’s velour-ish finish, two-cushioned, three seater and wine color red – we’d have to seriously deviate from the norm here and find a place who would custom make it for us. And we found that place! Yeehaw!!
To be delivered in six to seven weeks…. argh! Such is the price to pay for the ideal sofa!