The Anniversary Gift

My wedding anniversary was coming up, and I thought I’d treat my wife by buying us a new bed so I popped into the local furniture store and had a look around.

The manager walked over, introduced himself and asked, “Can I help you, sir?”.

I explained what I was looking for, and he told me he had just the thing for me. “We have a Super-deluxe Emperor size bed on special offer, and there is only one left in stock. It comes with a special memory foam mattress straight out of the N.AS.A. warehouse. It was designed for astronauts sleeping in space. They say it’s a wonderful experience. Your wife will never know a better night’s sleep.”

Looking at the bed, it certainly looked impressive. I even tested it out, and was immediately sold. I signed the necessary paperwork, handed over my credit card, and organised delivery for the following day.

Arriving home, I was itching to tell my wife, but I didn’t want to spoil her surprise.

The next morning started well. I’d taken the day off work and we had a lie-in together.

“Happy Anniversary, Love,” she said, handing over my present during breakfast.

I unwrapped it and found that she’d bought me a swanky Swiss watch. “It’s platinum,” she pointed out, “For our twentieth wedding anniversary.”

I looked confused. “I thought that twenty years was supposed to be china?”

She rolled her eyes good naturedly at me and gave me a peck on the cheek. “Don’t tell me you’ve bought me a teapot,” she joked.

“No, it’s much better than that,” I advised, “but you’ll have to wait and see. Your present is due to arrive at 10:30. I’ve just enough time to get a quick shower in first.”

I was getting dressed when the lorry came up the road and parked in the driveway.

“What’s this?” my wife asked.

“I told you, it’s your anniversary present. You’ve been complaining about a bad back, and you don’t sleep very well, so I’ve bought us a new bed.”

“You bought me a bed for our anniversary?” she asked. “That’s hardly what I’d call romantic.”

He tone was a little acidic, and for a moment I considered the wisdom of my decision “Wait until you see it,” I countered.

Taking her hand, I led her outside, where the delivery guys were opening the back doors of the lorry.

“Mr. Bonningham, is it?” the foreman asked.

I nodded, and he showed me where to sign for delivery.

“Where do you want it then?” he enquired.

“Right this way,” I replied, leading him upstairs to the master bedroom.

His muttered to himself occasionally as he followed me. Taking out a tape measure, he started measuring up the hallway, the stairs, the bedroom door and finally the room itself.

“This is going to be a big job, Mr. Bonningham!” he finally confided. “We’re going to need to remove the bannister, the bedroom door, and also … that walk in wardrobe is going to have to go!”

“What …. But!” I spluttered.

“You did measure up the bed before you bought it, didn’t you?” my wife asked.

“Of course I did!” I lied.

The bed hadn’t looked that big in the showroom, but obviously, it was. Still, at least we would have plenty of room to thrash about at night without getting an elbow in the eye.

Turning to the foreman I asked, “What can I do to help?”

“To be honest, it’d be better if you stayed out of the way. Too many cooks and all that. Go and have a game of golf, or something, and leave it to the experts.”

I didn’t play golf, so I decided to take my wife out for an anniversary lunch, and perhaps a bit of shopping to mollify her, leaving the foreman the spare key and my phone number. He would call me as soon as the job was completed.

Five hours later we returned home. Even with the walk-in wardrobe removed, the bed barely fitted in the bedroom. There was just enough space to shuffle around the edges of the bed to get to the nightstands. They’d even had to refit the door so that it opened outward, rather than in. An additional invoice for carpentry fees was sitting on the plastic covering the new mattress.

Trying to remain positive, I asked my wife, “Well, what do you think?”

“My god, Bob! It’s huge. You haven’t planned any wife-swapping orgies, have you? You could fit a boat load of refugees on that, and still have room for the pair of us!”

“Why don’t you lie back and try it out. I’ll pop downstairs and make us a cup of tea.”

With some reticence, she shuffled over to her side of the bed and lay down.

Taking the invoice, I headed downstairs to stick the kettle on. Grabbing my phone, I squeezed into the downstairs closet to make a call without being overheard.

“Hello, is that Smythe’s Furniture? Hi, yes, can I speak to the manager, please?”

I waited a few moments, listening to insipid elevator music, and then the manager came on the line, “Hello?”

“Oh, hi! This is Bobby Bonningham, I was in yesterday, buying a bed.”

“Ah, yes. How are things Mr. Bonningham? Did your wife like the surprise?”

“Ermm, that’s why I’m calling. The bed’s a lot bigger than I’d imagined. I think it’s too big for us …”

I waited for a response, but the manager was not forthcoming. Eventually, I had to add, “I was wondering whether it would be possible to return it and get a slightly smaller one?”

“Mmmmmm,” he replied. “That could be difficult! I’m sorry, Mr. Bonningham, but as you know, the bed was on sale, plus, there would be the costs of collection. I gather that the lads had to get a carpenter in to do some alterations?”

“Some alterations! They nearly dismantled my house! I’ve a bill here for over a grand! The bed only cost me £1100 in the first place.”

“Exactly, Mr. Bonningham. Obviously, you are within your rights to ask for a refund or exchange, but that guarantee wouldn’t include the cost of fitting, or for that matter, the collection costs. I’m sorry, Mr. Bonningham, but should have said something before they unloaded the bed. There wouldn’t have been a problem then. Now that it’s in, you’d be better off to let sleeping dogs lie.”

I couldn’t believe my ears, but to be fair he did have a point. I really should have measured up the bed first. With a sigh of resignation, I thanked him for taking my call and hung up the phone.

Carrying the tea upstairs, I was glad to see that my wife was fast asleep.

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