How a Sofa Found on the Streets of New York United TikTok in Disgust

A viral TikTok shows a content creator excitedly refurbishing a “designer” sofa she found on the sidewalks of New York, sparking shock and disbelief from commenters concerned about mold and bedbugs.

The Bubble Sofa by Sacha Lakic for Roche Bobois

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. 

Screenshots via @yafavv.mandaa/TikTok

It’s somewhat of an unspoken rule among New Yorkers to be wary of cloth furniture left on the street, which can carry the risk of a bedbug infestation that can cost thousands of dollars to exterminate. Joy brushed off the concerns in a follow-up video by saying no bedbugs had emerged during the deep clean, but she may not realize the pests are nocturnal, cold-blooded ectoparasites that can enter dormant states for up to six months without feeding. The pesky bugs are quickly lured out of hibernation by body heat and carbon dioxide from warm-blooded animals. Whether the sofa is infested remains to be seen, but some pointed out its tears don’t bode well as bedbugs are biologically designed to congregate in cracks and crevices.

To make matters worse, some observers noted the sofa may be a Roche Bobois knock-off. Close-ups of Joy cleaning the upholstery revealed a cheaper-looking fabric than the Bubble sofa’s typical wool-polyamide blend, leading some to draw similarities between her sofa and clear replicas sold on AliExpress for as little as $600. 

Regardless of the sofa’s authenticity, the episode illustrates the pitfalls of uninformed stooping—and the power of social media to unite people in rage against someone who thought she was leveling up her apartment. “It was thrown out in front of a very rich building,” Joy said in her follow-up video. “I took the opportunity and brought it in. Rich people throw out all their furniture all the time because they get new furniture every other year.” One person’s trash may be another person’s treasure, but sometimes the secondhand goods are simply too filthy to justify. At least the memes are worth it.

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