Most of the time, sidewalks in New York are covered in piles of trash bags, ensuring the city constantly smells like reeking garbage and is overrun with rats. Occasionally strewn among the trash, however, are pieces of discarded furniture and home goods ripe for the picking. Shopping this way on city curbs is called “stooping”—and it has become somewhat of a culture among thrifty New Yorkers eager to unearth their next treasure. Instagram accounts dedicated to stooping have gained steam advertising streetside finds, whether a vase of pampas grass, a giant stuffed animal, or a whole vending machine.
This was the experience of Amanda Joy (@yafavv.mandaa), a young TikToker who stumbled across her dream couch. She identified the cobalt blue item as the Bubble Sofa, a bulbous statement piece designed by Sacha Lakic that has quickly become one of French furniture brand Roche Bobois’ most recognizable products. Joy did what she thought any New Yorker would do when discovering a free sofa that retails for around $8,000—she enlisted the help of her father to pick it up, deep-clean it, and move it into her apartment, excitedly documenting the entire process on TikTok.
Turns out the tolerance for stooping has its limits. Joy’s video quickly amassed tens of millions of views from users aghast at her behavior. Many commenters were concerned about the sofa’s cleanliness, especially after the two-week-long deep clean failed to remove visible stains. “It’s so cool, but I’d be petrified of what kind of insects and such have penetrated it,” one commenter wrote. Others raised questions about mold when Joy revealed the sofa had been rained on all night when she found it.