HIGH POINT, NC—After spending more than three hours hearing about the world of choices available for his comfort, convenience and satisfaction as a new couch owner, area home-furnishings shopper Lee Rothamer admitted Monday that he had no idea there was so much to know about buying a sofa.

Lee Rothamer, who mistakenly thought he would be able to simply select a sofa and purchase it.

"I always thought that once I'd decided which color I wanted, that would be it," said Rothamer, browsing the aisles of the east-side location of Anton's Furniture. "Boy, was I wrong."

Rothamer—who was guided through his sofa purchase by Randy Gurvis, his friendly, knowledgeable Anton's Furniture sales associate—had initially allotted just one hour for the purchase, operating under the assumption that he could simply walk into the store, find a sofa he liked, pay for it, and leave.

"I guess I'm going to be late for work," said Rothamer after more than an hour at Anton's. "There are all these options I have to choose from. For the most part, I don't know what to say. I just sort of want a couch."

Gurvis, who in his 11 years as an Anton's Furniture "Gold Star" floor man has attended 14 sales-training seminars and six product shows held by major home-furnishings manufacturers, told Rothamer he was fully committed to helping him find the "perfect piece."

"Lee, here at Anton's, you aren't forced to choose from just three or four models," Gurvis said. "I realize you probably feel somewhat overwhelmed by Anton's incredible selection of high-quality, top-brand sofas, recliners, hide-away beds and loveseats. But in the long run, you'll appreciate being given the chance to find the exact couch that's custom-tailored to suit your specific needs and wants."

Rothamer, who declined to fill out the 15-point Anton's Customer Survey, was questioned by Gurvis about his planned uses for the sofa and the style of the room in which it is to go. Unable to provide any answers, Rothamer noted that his apartment was "new and pretty big" and that he was "thinking of getting something nice."

"I've got a decent amount of money I can spend," Rothamer said. "So, I don't know, what do you have?"

Applauding Rothamer's willingness to pay a little extra for quality, Gurvis told him that a couch like a Broyhill three-piece sectional can last up to twice as long as one costing 30 percent less. Gurvis then took Rothamer on a tour of the showroom, pointing out the dazzling array of available styles, which include traditional, modern, informal and country.

Rothamer was also told he could either mix and match couches, chairs and accent pieces or simply purchase a single themed set, such as Rustic, Queen Anne or Cottage.

"And if you want to special-order a couch with another fabric, Lee, not only are there thousands of patterns to choose from," said Gurvis, handing Rothamer a 10-pound book of swatches, "but you can choose among cotton, linen, wool and polyester, just to name a few. Or you could go with a classy crushed velveteen or a durable, kid-friendly nylon. Or even the lesser-known but equally good Olefin. Lee, it's all up to you."

"Then, of course, there's the eternal question," Gurvis added. "To Stainguard™ or not to Stainguard™?"

After sitting on five couches while Gurvis stood over him and tried to gauge his reaction, Rothamer stopped at a dark-green, square-backed couch.

"This is pretty nice," Rothamer said. "Do all those pillows come with it?" Responding that the pillows did not, Gurvis praised Rothamer's interest in the Contemporary Casuals piece.

"It's very nice, simple yet elegant—the perfect bachelor statement," Gurvis said. "And though you can't see it, this couch has an exceptional frame. The type of wood, springs and padding inside a couch should be one of the most important factors in your decision."

"High-density polyurethane foam is the most common core used in the industry, but premium-end manufacturers always offer a variety of other core options, including dacron fiber, innerspring coils and even goose down," Gurvis continued. "And, as you may or may not know, a frame can be glued, joined, nailed or screwed together, all with varying effects on cost and durability."

Admitting that he had not known that, Rothamer took out his American Express card and told Gurvis he would take "that green one." Rothamer, stunned by the final price after sales tax and add-ons, then signed the credit-card slip. He was told he could expect delivery of his new couch, a model Gurvis said is on factory back order, sometime between Nov. 1 and Jan. 10.