Monday, November 19, 2007

How I saved $50 without even trying

I would tell you the name of this furniture store, but I’m afraid of being sued for libel. Not because I’m lying, but because it’s a weird place and I wouldn’t put it past them. Ken drove me there so that I could buy two pieces of furniture for work.

We enter an enormous furniture showroom. A half-dozen desperate-looking salesmen, wearing mustaches and corduroy blazers, are wandering aimlessly around the displays. There is only one other pair of customers in the whole, vast store. On a Saturday afternoon in Toronto, especially just before Christmas, this is very unusual.

We are approached by a salesman in a tan blazer and brown plaid shirt. I show him the items that I want. The smaller piece is marked “Regular $129. Sale $99”.

Sales guy: “Oh, I think that sale is over.”

He picks at the sale sticker with his fingernails, trying unsuccessfully to remove it.

Sales guy: “This is $129. Yes, $129.”

Me, because it’s for work and it’s only $30 and I don’t care that much: “Okay.”

Ken: “That’s illegal. You have to sell the product at the sticker price. The sale isn’t over until you change the sticker.”

Sales guy: “Um. Let me talk to my manager.”

We wait. He returns.

Sales guy: “I give it to you for $79.”

Me, surprised: “Great! Thank you!”

Sales guy: “Now you can buy two!”

Of course, I didn’t buy two. Poor, sad Sales guy. He bargained himself down! He needs a sales techniques refresher course. Or maybe a self-esteem workshop.

We are then directed to the so-called “Customer Service” desk, to await the arrival of our boxes from the warehouse. Keep in mind that there are no other customers waiting for warehouse services.

Five minutes pass. Ten minutes. Fifteen minutes. We pace. We sigh. We inquire politely of the girl at the desk: how much longer? She gives us the stink-eye. Twenty minutes. We’re ready to go back to the sales desk and ask for a refund, just so we can get the heck out of there. After 25 minutes, a guy finally comes out with some boxes on a trolley. His excuse: he was confused because the table is packed in two flat boxes. This, he says, doesn’t look much like a table. I’m like, um, well, that’s the table-top in that box, and that other, smaller box, that’s the legs. And when we put it together, it will become table-shaped! Just like magic!

This is only my opinion, but EVEN IF IT WAS HIS FIRST DAY ON THE JOB, that is no excuse for not understanding the concept of flat-packed furniture. Since he was a nice guy, I’ll give him the benefit of the doubt, and assume he was actually an alien from another galaxy, trying to pass as human. At least he had mastered the basics of our language, which, if you think about it, is pretty impressive.

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