This past weekend was the Modernica Factory Sale, a once a year furniture wonderland that attracts people from all over Southern California to claw at each other in the name of modernism. The factory is located downtown in the warehouse district, which is quite peaceful to pass through at 7:30AM on a Saturday morning.
We arrived around 7:45AM to a modest line that was not intimidating at all. From what we heard, people really had not been there for that long (some mentioned earlier around 7AM, few mentioned before 7AM) and everyone was in good spirits. Around 8:15AM, things started heating up as a steady flow of cars kept coming, parking, and its occupants would then rush into the line. Around 8:40AM, people were walking through the factory to get into the line because, at this point, the lot was unable to accomodate people and they were being pushed to the other side of the lot. The .gif below displays the progression of the line from tame to nearly endless.
At 9AM (sharp!) a man who worked for Modernica yelled that they were open. Then, everyone went crazy. The line nearly collapsed upon itself and people went from standing to quickly walking to running. All of those surprisingly nice people standing in line so early turned into savages in no time. Once in the factory, everyone was running around like crazy people: moms were jumping on couches trying to flag down a salesperson, couples were hoarding lamps and running to registers, swarms of people surrounded the outdoor pottery, and the shell chairs were abused by many hands trying to vie for their attention.
Admittedly, the description is a tiny bit more exaggerated than it actually was but it is not that far off. This is because, as soon as the door opened, where you were in line did not matter: how fast you could run, make decisions, flag down an employee, and get to a cash register was what mattered. The shopping scene there was not a casual sale but a yuppie Supermarket Sweep that spread across two warehouse spaces and an outdoor area. Some ugly sides of people popped up (a woman next to us yelled at an employee helping another person: “You need to be helping me because I am trying to buy a couch–they are just asking questions.”), but everyone remained composed and mature as there were men, women, children, and dogs present.
The experience taught us a few things about the sale that will help you at the next sale:
• Get there at 7:30AM. This isn’t that early, but early enough that how fast you can run will not ruin your chances of getting what you want.
• Know what you want. This isn’t a place where you just casually look: you need to know what you want because, right when the flood gates open, everyone is darting for what they came for. If you hesitate, that half-off lounge chair will slip through your fingers.
• Bring a friend! You need a person to grab what you want and another person to speak with a sales associate to get the sale process going. You can sit on a couch all you want, “claiming” it, but the person who gets a sales associate to give them a claim sheet and checks-out first is the real person who owns the couch.
• Be open to colors and know they won’t have exactly what you want. As it is a final sale, they only have whatever they have. They advertise like they have a lot of things but, really, only the lamps and chairs were in large quantities. Couches, proper chairs, some dining tables, benches, and cabinets went super fast and there really aren’t that many of them.
• Save your money if you have money. If you’re hoarding money for this event, stay home: just buy it full price. Don’t be that A-hole who is a jerk to everyone because you are trying to get $7000 worth of furniture and can’t get anyone to help you. Buy something full price. Moreover, if you can find one half of what you want (say, one half of a couch sectional but not the other), save up and buy the other part full price or wait until next year’s sale to get it for cheaper.
• The first warehouse has couches, lamps, and beds, the outside area has some couches and pots, the far warehouse has shell chairs, tables, proper chairs, and shelves. That is the most important information so you know where to dart to.
The sale is definitely not something to miss. It’s an experience that will get your adrenaline pumping and keep your design senses tingling. If you didn’t make it, take a look at the photos to witness exactly what the sale was.