Why are sofas dumped beside the road always missing the cushions?
April 20, 2009 3:49 AM   Subscribe

Why are sofas dumped beside the road always missing the cushions?

I can't really figure out why people take sofa/couch cushions but not a whole sofa... is it for pet beds? That's all I can think of.... I saw a woman jumping out of her car and taking 2 sofa cushions yesterday and if I had been nearer to her I would have asked her what she planned to do with them...

It's really bugging me not knowing. Any insights would be appreciated! Thanks :)
posted by Zaire to Society & Culture (18 answers total)
I would imagine that using them as pet beds would be the most likely solution.

Or perhaps homeless people pick them up to use as an impromptu mattress.
posted by amicamentis at 3:54 AM on April 20, 2009

They might take them for pet beds before they dumped the sofa, even.
OR someone did something really, really nasty to that cushion and it was disposed of in a different manner, maybe they didnt want to carry it in a car/truck.
posted by dunkadunc at 4:38 AM on April 20, 2009

Maybe they just want the foam inside? New foam is expensive. I had an old saggy couch and I actually bought a sofa cushion on eBay that had been custom made but never used. I shoved the new foam in with the saggy foam and prolonged the life of my cushions. (I wouldn't take someone's used cushions off the street for that, but different strokes for different folks.)
posted by candyland at 4:44 AM on April 20, 2009

Maybe their trash pick-up won't accept large household items like a sofa. The cushions go out in the trash and they have to haul the sofa itself somewhere to dump it.
posted by InkaLomax at 4:47 AM on April 20, 2009

Easiest thing to stuff into a trashcan.
posted by turgid dahlia at 4:49 AM on April 20, 2009 [1 favorite]

They get lost on the way to the dumping ground? Although I often see whole couches, and have occasionally snagged the cushions for the dog.
posted by theora55 at 5:33 AM on April 20, 2009

The sofa cushions could be used for someone to sit on directly on the floor, for back pillows on a replacement sofa, or for padding when hauling other things in a truck.

I considered all these uses when I helped my friend haul her old, sagging sofa out to the curb. It was decided to take the cushions out and put them on the sofa rather than keeping them. Later on, the cushions (which were in pretty good shape) were gone and the sofa (sagging and awful) was still there.

Sofas are also rather heavy and don't fit into many vehicles. Cushions, not so much.
posted by yohko at 6:00 AM on April 20, 2009

In my neighborhood, junkies haul cushions into the alley to make their cozy nests.
(Scroungers' Caveat: Recently, a local college residence was infested with bedbugs because someone dragged in free curbside bedding.)
posted by Jode at 6:47 AM on April 20, 2009

have occasionally snagged the cushions for the dog.

You really don't want to do that.

One reason to get rid of a couch is because of bedbug infestation....
posted by IndigoJones at 7:13 AM on April 20, 2009

I've taken couch cushions. I was having a party for which we needed lots of floor pillows. Saw a couch on the side of the road, a quick stop, and woo! free pillows!
posted by theRussian at 7:42 AM on April 20, 2009

Confirmation Bias. You only remember the ones without cushions ;)
posted by gergtreble at 7:52 AM on April 20, 2009

As said above, people take the cushions first. We put out a free sofa at a yard sale one year, but at the end of the day, only the cushions were gone.
posted by ThePinkSuperhero at 8:27 AM on April 20, 2009

Cushions are easier to carry away than a sofa. Perhaps folk want the whle thing, but just aren't strong enough to shift it?
posted by Solomon at 9:08 AM on April 20, 2009

Bedbug wonder: can you cook a couch cushion in the oven to kill them?
posted by Night_owl at 9:32 AM on April 20, 2009

When I was working as a roofer, we used to steal the cushions from roadside couches. If you take off the upholstery, the foam will sort of "lock" with the rough asphalt of shingles, providing you a safe(ish) and comfy perch to work from.

However, I'm pretty sure we were the only ones doing this, others used much safer brackets and planks.
posted by no1hatchling at 9:37 AM on April 20, 2009

"Bedbug wonder: can you cook a couch cushion in the oven to kill them?"

Unsubstantiated (but substantiable) guess: probably not without melting the various polymers in it and poisoning the people near the oven and food later prepared in that oven. But hey, free cushions!
posted by fydfyd at 9:39 AM on April 20, 2009

Odd offshoot - the foam can be used to make Boffer Weapons. While most people can pick up foam from a local home construction or craf / fabric store, when you're first starting out at a Boffer game, a lot of people lack the funds (or don't want to commit them) and a large block of free foam is an excellent find.
posted by GJSchaller at 3:52 PM on April 20, 2009

I threw a rather ornate chair
out several years ago and I
kept the cushion because it's
very useful. These days, I managed
to cram it onto my business chair
to add a few inches. Sometimes
I do floor crafts and I pull the cushion
out for it. I know my brother kept
the cushions off his last couch because
when I visit, he pulls them out and
they make an improptu bed on the floor.
In short, there are more reasons TO
keep the cushions than to give them away.

Also, pet beds - yes.
posted by Sully at 5:58 PM on April 20, 2009

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