Monday, April 18, 2011
I love shopping in those furniture stores where you walk in the door and people race from the far ends of the store to get to you . .. you know, it is kind of like Pavlov’s dogs. The door opens, a bell sounds, before they even turn their heads the sales crew are salivating, rubbing their hands and straightening their clipboards. There is a fight around the coffee machine. People are damaged. Some are carried out on stretchers, others bandadged and still able to move, get to their feet and begin to run towards us….bleeding from their bite marks, zigzagging around the couches, the overstuffed chairs, the rug display, the dining room tables and through the grandfather clocks desperate to get to you first. They have one eye on you .. the ultimate prize .. and the other on the rest of the team, also zigzagging through the maze of furniture, desperate to be the first to break free and stand in the zone next to you.
Finally one associate breaks free and, gasping for breath, he straightens his tie, pulls up and adjusts his pants and clears his throats …. “Hello Folks how are you today, how’s the weather out there? Looks like another nice day. What are we shopping for today? What can I show you?” I know he wants to do the end zone victory dance as he gloats looking over at the others with an “in your face” subtlety. He manages to restrain himself and continues chatting at us like he wants us to know he is a good good friend and cares about what we think of the weather. All around the store the other sales people throw their hands up in despair, drop to the floor sobbing, turn and walk away, gathering back around the coffee machine watching and waiting, hoping something happens and they can have another go, grumbling about what an ass this fellow is and how he cheated.
“Nothing thanks, we are just looking.” We walk away trying to put some distance between him and us ….. We think we have made it when suddenly he appears from behind a pillar off to our right and says, “Well, my name is Bob, and let me know if you need anything or have any questions. We have a special on today …. anything with a red tag is 50% off and we have in store financing available if you need it. Think something is out of your price range … talk to me and we can make a deal.” He is grinning. I am not. My hubby presses his thumb into my arm as he holds onto me and asks if I took my meds this morning. “No thanks BOB … we are JUST looking.” We move on.
2 other associates position themselves in the shadows and at the earliest opportunity they step forward and say hi and intro themselves …. asking if they can help. We repeat the mantra …. “No thanks, we are just looking ….” Bob spots them. As we walk out of site we hear gun shots … we don’t look back.
I hear footsteps behind us walking when we walk, stopping when we stop ….and then Bob cannot help himself and he starts again, “We just got 4 new shipments in and there are some great deals. ” We say nothing and walk away.
2 minutes later as we stroll through the couches looking for the exit into the mall which is the only real reason we came into the store in the first place, Bob says …. “what kind of couch are you looking for?”
We begin to zigzag ourselves, hurrying now, desperate to lose Bob. We make ridiculous movements, Bob follows. We are adults playing follow the leader in a furniture store only this game has an increasing probability for violence. I curse that I left my own gun at home. We go into a dead end wing and realizing our mistake we turn quickly, desperate to retreat. Bob stands at the only way out … smiling, his arms folded over his chest … we are blocked in. I lower my head, growl and head straight for him ….. Hubby running after me screaming “NO! NO BLISS! FOR GOD’S SAKE DON’T HURT HIM!”
Bob is talking again … I can’t hear him … I am in survival mode … HIS …. And God has chosen to close my ears to his voice so that he might live. I push past him and head for the door. Bob picks himself up, dusts off his ass and runs after us talking to us about new shipments tomorrow and if we find something at another store for cheaper talk to him first as he will beat the deal … he is holding out his card .. repeating his name … “Bob, Bob .. remember, ask for BOB …”
I don’t care about a door to the mall anymore …. I just need to be in a Bob free zone where I can breathe again.
The thing is I have tried to imagine people buying furniture in these stores …. Whipped into submission, bullied into paisley couches and glass topped coffee tables. Maybe the technique works but frankly EVEN if I was looking for furniture I would never buy from BOB … I would make a point of NOT buying from BOB because BOB neither listens to me or respects me. Bob annoys me. I hate Bob. In fact these are all the reason I choose not to be friends with people, not to be around certain people, and disliked some of my relatives for years. I guess I missed that chapter in Dale Carnegie’s book on “How to Win Friends and Influence People,” because I don’t get the technique. Like does a manager actually coach….”Ok staff here’s what I want you to do … harrass and irritate the shit out of the customers until they are beaten down or want to shoot you …once you see that look in their eyes … you know you have the sale!!!”
Good luck Bob … right now … I am writing your name and the name of your store on the wall of the bathroom in the mall … I consider it a public service announcement intended to protect the innocent.
SHOES: Baby Monkey