From the series: Life on Dog Hill
Who would have thought that one of my funniest memories involved the insult from a furniture salesman on a Sunday afternoon? What struck a funny bone in me, however, angered my gentle-spirited husband (and that’s putting it nicely). Even now, years later, I dare not bring it up. Let’s just hope he doesn’t read this week’s blog post.
For starters, you have to understand that Sundays at my house are not about rest; rather, Sundays are about the things we enjoy most. On this day you will surely find me in the garden, covered in dirt. My husband Tom, on the other hand, will be in the kitchen covered in sauce or flour or…
Several years ago, we decided to visit a few furniture stores in Raleigh on a Sunday afternoon. Tom was in between food prep and cooking so he coaxed me out of the garden and we hopped into our ’97 Chevy Suburban and headed for the big city. We knew exactly what we wanted so this was truly meant to be the flight of the bumblebee through several stores. The first couple of stores were a bust but Tom suggested just one more before we headed back to Chapel Hill. We parked our big, honking truck in between a Mercedes and Lexus and headed in to have a look.
All we wanted were two chairs for the living room. These chairs had to rotate 360 degrees and rock. That’s it. That was what had lured us away from our favorite things on a Sunday afternoon. We were greeted by a sales representative who asked how he could help us. Tom was in the middle of explaining what we were looking for when he spied a nice leather chair. We both walked over and had a closer look. It rocked but it didn’t rotate. Darn!
Just as Tom was about to continue his explanation, the representative, in a moment of deep insight, did his best to help us out.
“There are cheaper chairs over there,” he offered with his arm extended to the back corner of the store where the marked down rejects were huddled.
Tom and I looked at him in surprise. Then I noticed how he was looking at us. Yes, we looked like bums. My garden pants showed dirt stains and my shoes were, ugh, my garden shoes. Tom was a disheveled mess, shirt hanging out — was that a wine stain on the front? In my moment of realization, I couldn’t help but laugh. Tom, on the other hand, was red-faced trying to explain to the man that it wasn’t the price that made the chair inappropriate for our needs but rather it didn’t meet our criteria. He was, in my observation, rather agitated. He was gesturing wildly.
While I was fully consumed in my amusement, hubby was horrified by the diss and, quite frankly, pissed off.
Tom needed to feel understood. He continued to explain to the sales rep exactly what we needed and the price range that we were willing to pay. The more I took in this scene, the harder I laughed. Tears were streaming down my face. A crowd of employees had gathered and were probably contemplating whether or not they should call the cops to pick up two crazies.
I finally managed to pull myself together and take Tom’s hand in mine. “Baby, what we are looking for isn’t here. Let’s go home and eat.”
Tom didn’t want to leave. He wanted to be understood. I pulled harder on his hand and repeated, “What we want is not here.”
Finally, he relented and walked out of the store in a huff. As soon as we were outside he turned to me and asked, “Do you realize what just happened in there?”
“Yes, I do.” I answered. “But look at us. We look like hicks! Look at what we’re driving compared to the other cars in the lot. C’mon, whadya think they are going to think about us?”
“They shouldn’t make those kind of assumptions about people. That salesman has no idea who we are and what we can afford!”
“That’s what makes it so funny to me,” I said, starting to laugh again.
“Well, it’s not funny to me. It was an insult and I will never step foot in this store again,” he said, stomping in the direction of the truck.
All the way home, Tom fussed and fumed about the diss. All the way home, I chuckled.
We did eventually find our chairs from Green & McClure, a four-generation family run store in the small town of Graham. The sales representatives were professional and helpful. The chairs rotate 360 degrees and rock.
I must confess, however, that we visited on a Saturday, right after our monthly shower…