Bunk bed sales soar?

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According to today's Los Angeles Times Home and Garden Section, the bunk bed is back in.

Citing the economy, this feature piece says sales of the humble bunk bed are soaring, as growing families have to make due with smaller spaces.

Well, I suppose it needed something to say to wrap around the photos of $3,000 bunk bed sets. Sales may indeed be soaring, but bunk beds are nothing new to Los Angelenos used to high rents and higher housing prices. Three bedrooms? That's a luxury for the money'd classes. When two-bedroom houses in decent neighborhoods go for upwards of $500K (still) it's a pretty big "duh" to claim that bunk beds are "back in." Surely the copy writer is from Kansas.And please. Just because we two-bedroom-with-kids types live modestly doesn't mean we're stupid. If you need a bunk bed, you do not run out to the Moda-design shops on Santa Monica Blvd and drop $3K on one. Here's where you go to find an affordable bunk bed.

Craigslist. Your first stop when shopping for gently used kid-related items such as bunk beds and loft beds. For example: I was recently pricing loft beds (like a bunk, but with a desk underneath). New, these units can sell for upwards of $2,500. Used (even never used): $300-$400.

Garage sales -- You can be organized and check the penny-saver listings every week in search of a bunk bed at a garage sale, or you can play fast and loose and just announce to the universe that you need a bunk bed. And there it will be, at the second garage sale you drive by. Just get up and get your coffee early. And bring your brother's pick-up truck.

Parent lists. Thanks to the Internet, there is probably a local parents group online in your town. Tap it and reap the beauty of the hand-me-down. A glowing example of how successful these lists have become: The Berkeley Parents Network is a huge email newsletter that started small more than ten years ago and has since exploded into a 20-thousand and counting list of parents all over the San Francisco Bay Area. Post your desire for someone's old bunk bed, (or Boppy, or Excersaucer, or crib) and sift through the offers.

Thrift Stores -- Bunk beds regularly pop up at thrift stores, and at prices that make it easy to go out and buy two new mattresses.

Friends and relatives -- Ask everyone. Sooner or later somebody's kids are going to grow out of their bunks. They'll be only too happy to pass it to you.

Whatever you do, don't spend a gross amount of money on a bunk bed. It defeats the whole purpose. A bunk bed is a practical solution to a common problem of space. Most of the world makes due with smaller spaces than we think is livable. Americans are just going to have to get used to living with less and liking it.
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