I moved to LA mid-pandemic and furnished my apartment almost exclusively from Facebook Marketplace, a luxurious garden of budget goods that exploits all my weak points: deals, online shopping, haggling with strangers on the internet.

One of the first things I bought was a table and four chairs that was not cheap, by my standards ($225!), but did look unique compared to the countless IKEA offerings.

When I went to pick it up, however, it was clear this was in fact an IKEA offering — one that had been shoddily hand-painted by the enthusiastic acting student who sold it to me. I no longer wanted to buy it (why spend $225 on old furniture that costs $120 new?), and I probably should have just told the guy I’d made a mistake…

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