After combing through a sea of used furniture and reading all the woes that folks encountered, I had one of those "duh" moments. Now, being a blonde, there's probably another joke to be made there, but the long and the short is that I had never thought to check other cities to see how specific pieces of furniture were taking the heat of "real living."
Often times reviews online can be helpful, but unless you're dealing with a bi-partial retailer like Amazon, there's no true way to know how many of those reviews are accurate. There's also many reviews that are written within seconds of the delivery man leaving the house. Those ads usually look something like this:
Ok, so that might be a little far fetched, but you know the comments of which I speak. They're usually a little zealous and don't leave any real information behind that's tell tale of owning the piece for more than 40 seconds. There are a few golden thoughts that talk about how things held up to their kids or guests, but they can be few and far between.
Instead, just for extra peace of mind, because let's face it, spending $1,000 or more on a sofa is a big deal for most of us and no one wants to be dissatisfied in a few weeks/months with their splurge or spent savings, just check Craigslist. Try searching for the name of the piece (if it has one), the store in which you'll be buying it from or even other pieces in the same line (like the sofa that matches the chair).
This is another simple way to double check how things hold up or what terrible disasters might await you. If some lady's cousin broke the supports in the sofa because she flopped on it, it's better to know it early from a stranger on the internet (talk about modern day comforts), than it is to find out first hand when you have a similar situation! Likewise, seeing that someone has had a piece for several years with no problems (especially if they fess up to kids or pets) is reassuring. Just make sure to check the major cities, or even multiple cities, it's a snap to do and you'll be better armed to make your final purchasing decisions.