Consumer confidence has hit an all time low in Britain with the announcement from home furnishings giant DFS that a man bought a sofa for full price over the weekend.
Corporate spokesperson Polly Urethane broke the bleak news in an interview with Sofa Times magazine.
"We have poured millions into our national ad campaigns informing everyone that all our sofas are half price all the time," she explained. "You can't turn on your television, radio, or computer, read a newspaper or look at a London bus without seeing our half-price ads plastered everywhere. Obviously the consumer public is not buying it."
Ms Urethane further explained, "The failure of our ad campaign demonstrates just how deep is the consumer confidence issue we are facing in the retail world right now. If people won't buy half-price sofas and demand to pay full-price for our tacky trash, then for us at least, it's good bye, not good buy."
Based on the weekend's full price sofa sale, it is projected that quarterly profits will be down by 59 percent next quarter.
"It's scary", said Ms Urethane, perched on her Tiffany red leather and tawny fabric combination sofa with contrasting throw pillows. "With virtually nobody buying half-price sofas and one or two idiots buying full-price sofas, we'll be out of business by year's end."
Sofa Times caught up with the man who bought the full-price sofa from the London store in the parking lot of Ikea. Angus Frugal, originally from Peebles, Scotland had just been escorted out of Ikea by security guards for trying to buy a flat-pack occasional chair to match his new sofa for full-price.
According to Mr Frugal, he believes that all sales advertisements are basically a scam, and he refuses to fall for them. "They'd never dare to run a half-price sale in Scotland," declared Frugal. "Aye, the people of Peebles would see through that pockle immediately. That would be like gettin' aff at Paisley, as we say in Scotland. If you want a new sofa, go whole-hog and pay full-price. Then you know you're getting your money's worth."
Frugal's partner Bonnie Bauchle agreed. "Aye, I used to buy everything in the 99p shop before I met up with Angus. Then he showed me that I could go to M&S and get the same thing for £3.50 with a good brand name on it that you could trust as well. The last thing the 99p shop saw of me was my fat arse walking out the door. Now if I want a wee tin of shortbread, I wait and save up until I can buy it full-price."
"It's consumer attitudes like that that will ruin the economy", commented Girn Bampot, a fellow Scotsman who manages the store where Mr Frugal bought his full-price sofa.
"We've got over 800 half-price sofas in stock in our showroom. And in walks this clown with his short-arsed wife and she points to a lovely orange leatherette Enzo corner group and says, "I want that one." We hadn't marked the price on it yet, and when I told them it was on sale for half-price, they insisted something must be wrong with it. Then they bounced their fat bums all over it and after declaring it sound they demanded to pay full-price. I had to call the district manager and all."
Bampot added dejectedly, "Once they told everyone in the parking lot they just bought a sofa from us at full-price, we didn't have another sale all day."
The company's corporate headquarters has now temporarily closed its London store and is using the venue for a marathon brainstorming session to try to find their way out of this mess created by Angus Frugal. One section of the store hosts a consumer focus group. Seated on several Joelle four-seater fabric sofas with delicately patterned back cushions arranged in a circle, sofa consumers are giving feedback as to why their half-price ads are not working.
Discussion leader, Swivel Bottom, reported that consumers are wary of half-price sales and would rather pay full-price in a time of economic recession. "They won't be fooled so easily in times like these. The buying public is quite sophisticated and savvy these days. The lesson learned from our focus group is simple really: jack up the price and they'll beat a path to your door. I know it sounds counterintuitive, but it's no crazier than the irrational decisions of investment banks and hedge funds that got us into this mess in the first place."
Meanwhile, Mr Frugal and Ms Bauchle are back in Peebles anxiously awaiting the delivery of their orange leatherette corner group sofa. "Aye, we should have measured the sitting room before we purchased it," muttered Angus, shaking his head. "That's the last time I ever buy anything on impulse."
Bonnie, sitting on their current sofa loaned to them by her aunt Agnes several years ago, pulled a shortbread tin out from under the sofa. Munching with one hand and wiping the shortbread crumbs from her paisley blouse with the other, Bonnie concurred. "You know Angus, that little refreshingly fuss-free Seville 4 seater pillow back fabric sofa would be the perfect addition to any home. And it was on sale for half-price. I wonder if we could get an exchange."