Thursday, June 5, 2008


For a long time, Ken and I have been meaning to get new window blinds. Our blinds are ten years old, tangled, bent, and dirty. When we first took possession, we tried to wash them, but they ended up looking more dented than before, and only marginally more clean. They belong in the trash.

Of course, they remained in our windows for almost two years, taunting us with their grubbiness and generally cramping our style. Finally, this past weekend, we went to order new blinds.

We had shopped around a bit, looking at our options. We concluded that all the window-dressing stores offer more or less the same merchandise. The fancy stores have higher prices with no justification other than the fanciness of the store itself. Being practical people, we went to the bargain-price store.

Our sales guy was very excited by the fact that we had decided ahead of time exactly what style and colour we wanted. Apparently the average customer wants him to show them every style of blinds in the store, in every colour, and if it's a couple shopping together they will then fight for several hours over which blinds to buy, right there in the store. If they're doing their whole house, he said, it could literally take 4 or 5 hours to finalize the order.

I found it difficult to imagine people voluntarily spending so much time in the bargain blinds store. Ken and I worked it out this way: we stopped by the store a month ago to do a walk-through and see what our options were. Then we went home and discussed the options at our leisure, on the couch, with our feet up. We had a few disagreements, but we worked them out in private.

A middle-aged couple entered the store. Another salesperson, a girl, started showing them around. Sure enough, within five minutes the husband and wife were fighting. Our sales guy took the sales girl aside to brag about us.

"These are my customers. They are the best customers I've had all week! They're so organized! They haven't argued once!"

We waved to the sales girl, who smiled uncertainly.

Then he volunteered a story about his weirdest customers ever. A couple came in requesting sheer blinds for their bathroom. They were exhibitionists, and they wanted their neighbours to be able to see them strip off for the shower. Well, different strokes for different folks, I guess. I'm glad that I don't have to deal with exhibitionists in my condo complex. I'd be tempted to drywall over my windows and call it a day. Can you imagine if you had impressionable kids who were getting an eyeful across the property line? Yeesh!


unsigned said...

I guess if you want to show off your naked body the "cheap" blinds make it "cheap and dirty." Expensive blinds probably reduce the smut factor.

Leighann said...

I can't think of one single neighbor that I would want to see me naked!!

I refuse to replace the blinds in our house until my son gets bigger. If I dont' raise them fast enough he grabs two handfulls and pulled them open on his own.

Yeah, they're trashed!

Karen said...

I once caught my neighbor through the window and I have not been able to look him in the eye since.

jameil1922 said...

mad @ the exhibitionists. insanity. "I found it difficult to imagine people voluntarily spending so much time in the bargain blinds store." THAT MAKES 2 OF US!! let's decide in advance we want the generic color, the black or the wooden ones (which i kind of adore) and then let's get in and get out. yes, i'm even a taskmaster when SHOPPING!!

Warped Mind of Ron said...

Oh My GOD Insanity! I must know what I want before getting to deep into the whole salesman thing. I could not imagine 4 hours in a store like that.

Tink said...

Sheer blinds? What's the point? Why not just NOT put up blinds at all? LOL.

girlinterrupted1218 said...

How strange to want sheer blinds to flash your neighbors. I guess different strokes for different folks. But why do they have to involve their poor innocent neighbors. Geez!

Keera Ann Fox said...

I love blinds! I love how you can have both light and privacy, and I love how you can play with the light.

Dang, I need to get me some blinds. :-)

Sparkling Red said...

Unsigned: I suppose so.

Leighann: Robert Frost wrote "Good fences make good neighbours". I believe he could have written the same poem about window coverings. :-)
One day you'll be ready to put up new blinds, when your son is older, and it'll be so satisfying!

Karen: Ooo, awkward! :-p

Jameil: We didn't even take advantage of browsing the website. We probably could have reduced our time even more, if we'd been ultra-focused.
But we're not really in THAT much of a hurry. ;-)

Ron: Can you imagine working there? I don't want any interactions with a retail client that involve a lunch break and then reconvening for the afternoon!

Tink: I guess they like to play coy. But really, bathrooms are not sexy! I sure don't need a peek-a-boo view of anyone on the can. :-p

GirlInterrupted: Yeah, at first thought it seems harmless, but when you get right down to it the people who are inadvertently catching sight of the flashers are unwilling participants in a sexual encounter of sorts. That's not OK, to say the least.

Keera: I like old-fashioned curtains, but blinds are so much more versatile. I doubt I could ever go back to just the straight-up "open or closed" options.

Dianne said...

what civilized shoppers you are! I want to replace most of my blinds too but every window is a different size and I don't think I can handle it any time soon.

Nilsa S. said...

Sheer blinds? Isn't that an oxymoron? Why get blinds at all if all you want to do is show your stuff to the neighborhood?!

Claire said...

4 or 5 hours on blinds????

People are crazy!


Stewie said...

I wish those exhibitionists lived near me. :(

H. said...

Ok that story about the nudest blind buyers is absolutely hilarious. Who knew that the life of bargain blinds salespeople was so exciting?

Jenski said...

The only blinds I have ever successfully washed are the wide vertical ones. I think they make the horizontal ones just so you can not keep them clean.

Why would you bother buying shear blinds if you just wanted people to see you? Do you want to pretend you don't want them to see you but really you do?

Did you get a customer of the week discount? You totally should have.

Sparkling Red said...

Dianne: Every window a different size? That would be complicated. We don't have many windows - 5 blinds sufficed to cover all of them.

Nilsa: I'm guessing they like the "peek-a-boo" aspect of it? Who knows. Far be it from me to understand the logic of an exhibitionist!

Claire: Yes, for sure! Or at least not very sensible.

Stewie: Are you sure? There's no guarantee that they're actually attractive! :-p

H.: Yeah, I would have pegged it as one of the more boring jobs, but people are nuts enough to make any interaction with the public a potential source of whacky stories.

Jenski: We considered asking for a discount, but I would have rather had our photo up on the wall for a month. Now that would have been something to brag about!

Aurora said...

I am inspired. Although buying a washing machine was a bit like that for us: every trip turned into a fact-finding mission. I think as long as you don't want them *right now* it gives you a bit of time to think and talk about what would work best.