La-Z-Boy is well known for their Made in America recliners and other furniture. This is a brief review of our experience so far with the Pinnacle Recliner Rocker that we purchased from Slumberland. This review will be updated as there are new developments. In summary, we were pleased with the overall selection at Slumberland and the sales people are always friendly. The chair we received was defective, and has some design flaws and quality issues that aren’t apparent until you’re actually setting it up at home and taking a closer look. So that was a disappointment.
Advertising – Grade: F
After seeing a Slumberland advertisement for a special sale on La-Z-Boy recliners, we were prompted to go to the store and see what was available. The advertising showed recliners from $350 to $499 (for a leather recliner) and indicated these prices are about 55% or more off regular prices.
Most consumers assume that when something is on sale, it’s a price reduction from what the product might otherwise be purchased for. In other words, a genuine sale price. Once at the store, one realizes that the lower priced recliners are cheaper models with fewer features and less desirable fabric upholstery.
For the recliner we ended up purchasing, the Pinnacle, Slumberland claims the $749.99 sale price is more than 50% off the ‘List Price’ of $1,599.99. This would imply that it’s a $1,600 chair being sold for $750. That would be a good deal.
We later discovered that the supposed $1,600 chair is available on the La-Z-Boy website listed at $1,449 which seems to be an everyday price for the chair according to La-Z-Boy. However, the home furnishing website Wayfair has the recliner for about $830 as their regular price. Boscov’s sells the same chair for $699.99. So, it seems that Slumberland’s ‘list price’ is inflated by $150 compared to the La-Z-Boy site and in reality the chair is available from many vendors at $700 to $830 without any apparent markdown in price.
It’s disappointing for a shopper to be told they are getting an amazing deal and saving hundreds of dollars when in reality they are paying a fairly typical price for a product.
No matter how much a company talks about ‘quality’ and ‘integrity’ and ‘values’ — ultimately it’s experiences like this that will determine how someone feels about a manufacturer or vendor, and all the other branding and marketing hype becomes worthless.
Overall, the advertising gets an ‘F’ grade for being confusing and somewhat misleading. There are so many ways to be transparent and honest with advertising while still attracting customers. One really wonders why people would use deceptive sales tactics to try and trick customers into feeling a sense of urgency. For the customer, advertising is like the resume, and the shopping experience is like the job interview. If you’ve lied on your resume, or been deceptive, that’s a real turn off.
Note: If Slumberland headquarters would like a new copyrighter for their ads, feel free to reach out. Honestly, your ads are really killing your brand integrity and eroding consumer trust. You may be slightly under the radar for the FTC to take interest, but consumers really don’t like deceptive advertising practices.
The flyer we saw, plus the flyer at the time of writing this article can be seen below. The top ad is from the weekend of Feb 10. The one below it is from Feb 13 and is referred to as a Presidents Sale.
Shopping Experience – Grade: A
We chose to shop at our local Slumberland because it’s close and convenient. We’d purchased some furniture there before (a bed, two couches, a coffee table, and a dining table set) and we were pleased with the overall experience: nice quality products, good value, and friendly sales people.
I can’t speak for other Slumberland locations, but our local store has a big sales floor with plenty of selection. That’s really important because you can pretty much find just the right size and design you want. There are usually plenty of sales people available who are friendly and knowledgeable about the store inventory.
Although the sales people work on commissions, you probably won’t notice it. Any time we’ve been at the store, we don’t have anyone trying to upsell us or pressure us to buy things we don’t want. However, the commission reward system for sales people does seem to motivate employees to learn the product line, and be genuinely responsive to customer needs. That’s been our experience over the years at Slumberland.
Overall, the shopping experience gets an ‘A’ grade. It would have been an A+ but unfortunately the signage in the store was based on the online advertising that seems to overstate what the typical pricing would be on products.
Product – Grade: F
We looked at a wide selection of recliners, even the higher priced motorized models with vibrating massage built-in. We ended up choosing the Pinnacle Recliner Rocker because of its many advantages and features. Here are a few:
- There’s a setting when fully reclined where you feel as though you are perfectly balanced on a teeter-totter floating in space at zero gravity. That’s a very relaxing experience and not all recliners offer this.
- The rocking featuring is quite nice. The base of the recliner is firm and sold on the floor, but spring loaded action allows for a smooth and gentle rocking when the recliner is in the upright position.
- There are several positions for the recline mode which helps to find just the right adjustment.
- The back of the recliner is removable. This makes transporting it and moving it very easy.
- Although the recliner is fairly light weight and easy to lift, it seems quite well constructed.
Unfortunately the chair we received today was in poor condition and seems to be a lemon, which is why the product grade is currently an ‘F’ instead of an ‘A’ as is explained in the photos below.
Also offered here are some suggestions for improving the design of the chair. As with our previous Slumberland purchases, we chose to get the $99 protection plan that covers any defects and even accidental damage. Our hope is that we can get a new replacement chair, and not just some makeshift ‘repairs’ that won’t endure in the long run.
The poor quality of the chair we received is really the responsibility of La-Z-Boy and they should give Slumberland a replacement for it. They should also know that the quality control in their production facility is apparently lacking.
Recliner Back Rest Mounting Hardware
The chair back normally would slide easily on and off with the mounting hardware brackets that slide in channels on the left and right. Pictures on the left below is how the mounting hardware on the chair should look. On the right, the mounting hardware is not aligned properly.
On the left side of the chair, toward the back inside of the armrest area, the seat is formed around so the chair back can easily slide down into the mounting hardware as seen below.
However on the right side, the back of the right armrest is folded in and covers easy access to the mounting channel hardware.
Use of Vinyl on Leather Recliner
Something that the customer might not notice in the store is that the chair is described as leather, although vinyl is used in places. If you read the fine print under details on the website, you’ll find this description: “100% Leather Touch Points” which means that the seating area and arms may be leather but the rest of the chair is covered in what seems to be cheap vinyl.
Back Hardware Cover Panel
As a result of using the vinyl, the chair has sort of a cheap poor-quality feel to it in the areas where the vinyl is used. The back panel that covers the chair hardware is very flimsy.
With the chair we received, the back right side where the vinyl attaches had only one very thin staple holding it in place which quickly tore through the vinyl. The staple seemed more like the kind used to staple papers together rather than something substantial that would hold fabric or vinyl on furniture.
A better design choice would be to use a thicker and stronger back board and then cover it with thicker stronger vinyl. Then use more substantial staples, or better yet, rails that are screwed in holding the vinyl in place.
Back Rest Locking Mechanism
There is a locking mechanism for the chair back hardware to hold it into the seat hardware channels, as can be seen below. Unfortunately, this locking mechanism is very tight and hard to move. If you attempt to move these pieces of metal with your fingers, you may injure yourself.
The manufacturer seems to be aware of this problem, because an assembly guide that comes with the recliner has an illustration showing that these will need to be moved using a screwdriver. Unfortunately, sharp screwdrivers, and stuck hardware, and cheap thin vinyl are not a good combination. It would be quite easy for someone to slip and tear the vinyl or lacerate their hand.
The locking mechanism is too close to the vinyl, so the process of moving these levers may cause the vinyl to get pinched or torn.
A better design would be to have textured thumb grips on the locking levers, or a separate small wrench to slide over the locking lever and provide extra leverage. Having a lever that comes up and then out, creating a 1/8″ gap between the chair back side and the lever would allow it to move more freely and avoid pinching the vinyl.