Because it was a long day and shut up, that’s a thing.
I have decided something, as of yesterday. I am no longer going to be selling furniture to anyone I know in the real world. I will continue to recommend that people who know me in my Clark Kent guise come into my store if they need to buy stuff, but I’m not going to be your salesman. I’ll hand you over to someone who is good at their job and let them do it and that’s going to be it. Why, you might ask? Because since I’ve been working at the store I’ve had four people who I know IRL come in specifically to buy from me because they knew I worked at a furniture store. The following things have happened:
- Person #1 bought a coffee table and a couple of other things. The other pieces were fine but the coffee table came in broken. Twice.
- Person #2 bought a sofa and love seat. They were slightly backordered when they were ordered and they proceeded to slide back repeatedly after being ordered, and took, if I remember correctly, nearly two months to come in.
- Person #3 ordered a customized sofa and loveseat. Normally these are pretty bulletproof in terms of coming in on time so long as they’re ordered correctly. Note the caveat in that sentence, though. For these folks, I discovered that what is called a “loveseat” when it is sold in the normal configuration is called a “sofa with console” if you special-order it, and so they had to wait eight weeks (normal for a special order) for the wrong goddamn loveseat to show up in the store and then eight more weeks for the one they wanted. Of the four, this is the only one that was unambiguously and clearly my fault; that said, I blame the company because that’s completely ridiculous.
- Person #4 ordered a loveseat that was also slightly backordered and supposed to arrive in early April. When it finally arrived– in the middle of May– it was, inexplicably, the loveseat that they’d ordered but in the wrong fabric. The loveseat in question cannot be special ordered and does not come in that fabric. In other words, I couldn’t have ordered it the way they got it if I’d wanted to. No one has any idea how the hell this one happened. It has to have been some sort of screw-up at the factory but here’s the kicker: our company owns that factory, and we don’t sell our furniture to other furniture stores. So it’s not like this was the way this piece gets sold at Furniture Store B and it got shipped to Furniture Store A by accident. Even the warehouse guys at our main facility in Mississippi had no idea at all how this happened. This is, in other words, some bullshit.
So, yeah. I’ve learned my lesson and I’m done. I still recommend that you buy stuff from my store– despite those four examples, this shit really doesn’t happen all that often— but apparently I’ve gotten hit with the bad-luck stick in terms of selling to people I know. So I’m done.
None of these are really worth posts on their own– well, one, maybe– but I wanna record them, so here you go.
Driving home from dropping the boy off at school one day last week, a bird happens to catch my eye at a traffic light. It’s probably a blackbird, but it’s a bit too far away for me to be sure– crow-shaped, and black, but too small to be a crow unless it’s a juvenile. So, sure. Blackbird. As I’m watching it, it abruptly does a tight 270° turn and heads straight down to the ground, wings out. I think at first that either the bird has been shot and what looked like a turn was actually a tumble or I’ve literally just seen this bird die in midair— which has to happen to birds sometime, right? Surely once in a while a bird just has a stroke or a heart attack or something?
At any rate, it pulls up right before it hits the ground and lands and then I lose track of it. If it had dove down at an angle, I’d not have said anything about it and just assumed it was going after a mouse or something, but 1) it looked way too small to be a bird of prey and 2) I have never seen a bird fly straight down before. It was weird as hell.
I’m at work, and I notice a spider perhaps two feet above my eye level and maybe three feet off to my right. The building I work in has very high ceilings, and my first thought is where the hell is his web attached, because if he’s coming down a string of silk it’s gotta be thirty or forty feet long by now. Then I notice that he’s coming straight toward me, which is not something I’d expect a spider coming down a strand of silk to do. He’s a tiny spider, and I’m not frightened of them, so this provokes fascination rather than oh god kill it fear. As he gets closer, I realize that he’s not attached to anything and he’s not acting like he’s climbing a web– he’s got his legs curled up underneath him, in fact. The damn thing is floating. I even wave my hand above him to check, and the breeze from my hand stirs him a bit but I clearly don’t break any strands of web. I try to film him but he’s too small for the resolution on my phone to handle. I watch him drift onto a sofa and crawl away.
Yesterday, first customer of the day. He waves me off at first, saying he’s only looking, which is just fine. I tell him everything in the store is on sale (which is true, and is useful information, I figure) and that the way our current deal works is “spend more, save more.”
He looks dead at me and says “You mean Jew more, save more?”
It takes me a second to process yeah that’s what the fuck he said.
“No,” I reply, shifting into my Teacher Voice. “I said spend more, save more.” And then I walk away and let my manager know that this fucker will be receiving no help from me whatsoever while he’s in the store and that if he speaks to me again we’re all lucky if the only thing I do is refer him to another salesperson.
The man and his wife circle the sales floor and leave without speaking to or being spoken to by anyone else. I spend the rest of my day with half of my brain proud of me for not losing my job by lighting this fucker up and the other half of my brain ashamed of me for not lighting the fucker up anyway.
I am, much later, trending toward the second option, for the record. How the fuck are you so fucking comfortable with being a bigot that you’ll just say shit like that to random fucking strangers in public? I shoulda thrown his ass out.
This isn’t so much a customer gripe as a WTF moment that could have happened anywhere. I had a pair in last night that appeared for all the world to be a dad and his, oh, I dunno, 10-year-old son. I don’t know for certain that I ever heard the boy call the man “dad,” but they were very clear that they were looking for barstools for the kid’s mother as a Mother’s Day present.
I leave aside the question of whether barstools are a great present for Mother’s Day. It’s perhaps an unorthodox choice. But they were convinced she’d be happy, so whatever. They ended up picking some red stools that were available in several other colors, mostly because red was Mom’s favorite color and were definitely the color she wanted. Okay, cool. $58 each, bropeople, thanks.
An hour or so later, the phone rang. It was Mom. I recognized who she was from her name immediately because their name was one of those hyper-Polish collections of consonants that are thirty letters long and somehow phonetically identical to “Smith” when pronounced.
And then something really weird happened.
“My husband and my…”
two second long, uncertain pause
“…friend were in there earlier, and they bought some bar stools for me?”
Now, I immediately can reconstruct what’s going on if it’s her “…friend” and her son. That’s a somewhat uncertain relationship between two adults. Cool.
But in what world is your relationship to the ten-year-old, a kid who calls you Mom, weird enough that you pause before describing him as a “friend” to the furniture salesman who you have never met on the other side of the phone? Especially when she’s just calling to see if they’re returnable for another color (they were) and you don’t really need to go out of your way to name your relationship to these people in the first place unless you want to?
Creative writing assignment, guys: figure this nonsense out.
This post’s got nothing at all to do with Walt Whitman, mind you, other than that line is running through my head at the moment. Well, actually, it’s running through my head in my preferred alternate version, which is “I sigh my barbaric yawp over the roofs of the world.” Why I think it’s okay for me to rewrite Whitman I don’t know, but that’s how that line always goes in my head until I remember it’s wrong, and for some reason I really prefer the sound of my version better.
I think he’ll forgive me. He’s dead and famous and I think it’ll be okay if I mangle his immortal poetry a bit from time to time.
Today kinda sucked, speaking of barbaric yawps and the reasons for same. Two members of the sales team/management staff are out of town, a critical warehouse guy is at National Guard training for two weeks, and… well, that’s actually more than enough given that the size of our staff isn’t that big to begin with. Plus my printer stopped working for the entire day until an hour before close when it decided it was the right time to print every single document that I’d either deliberately or accidentally sent it for the entire day. That meant that every invoice I wrote today meant I had to make at least one trip to the other side of the store. Our store is big, and this is annoying.
Oh, also we hired a new fourth delivery guy last week for like the eighth time, and then today…
No, we’re not allowed a second delivery crew no matter what we do. Even when they get hired they disappear. Woohoo!
I had two interactions with customers that burned my ass today, too, and I’m going to gripe about them even though I’m certain I’ve griped about other versions of them before.
- The customer who actually had the gall to get pissed when I told her we’d be able to deliver her stuff to her in three days. This never ever happens, and was only possible because we had a couple of cancellations last night. I tell every single customer I have to expect a 7-10 day wait for delivery until we get that second crew in place, and I put it on the invoice. And you’re bitching about three? She actually asked me if I was kidding. I should have told her to go to hell.
- One guy (this one wasn’t mine) who got all kinds of pissed at me because his bed wasn’t in. It was day 8. I tell my customers to expect their stuff to be in the store within two weeks; I’ve heard people say 7-10 days, which is usually true but is not true frequently enough that I tend to just round up. He went on a long rant about how if it wasn’t here by Thursday he was going to cancel. Oddly, the fact that I told him several times that it was highly unlikely that his stuff would arrive by Thursday (if it ain’t on a truck on Monday, it’s probably not going to be here by Thursday) did not actually lead him to cancel– just to continue to threaten to cancel. Like, are you literally just bitching at me to hear the sound of your voice? I don’t care if you cancel. I really don’t. You’re not my customer and I’m only putting up with your shit because you’re bitching at whoever answered the phone instead of asking for your salesman, and I don’t have the energy for that when I’m the only person on my entire half of the floor and my printer doesn’t work. Fuck off. Other days I may have some patience for you; today is not that day.
- Same guy, in an entirely separate sin, made a big deal about how he’d already paid for his furniture and we’d “cashed his check.” First of all: fuck you for writing a check. It’s 2017, goddammit. Second of all, find me the retail place that gives you shit before you pay for shit? There are literally none of those. Granted, some places give you your shit quickly after you pay for it, but every single retail establishment on the planet makes you pay for your stuff before you get it. Third, the staff doesn’t get paid until stuff is delivered. So nobody has gotten the– wait for it– $15 commission on the bed you bought, which is literally the cheapest bed we offer in the store. Piss on fifteen dollars. Okay, there’s $300 in a company account somewhere that used to be yours, assuming the check’s actually cleared by now. So the hell what? We’ll give it back if you cancel. So please cancel? Thanks.
Just not in the mood for dicks today. I was running from the second I got to the store until maybe half an hour ago. I picked the boy up from my parents at 8:30, already half an hour past his bedtime, and came home and fed the pets and changed the bed and made him put his pajamas on and got him into bed and wrote a blog post and now maybe I can read and relax for a bit before I go to sleep. Will I be any more tolerant toward entitled assholes tomorrow? No, I will not.
(Note, because I feel like I should: the vast majority of my customers are really nice people. I interacted with way more than two people today, but damn if I wasn’t surprised that I got through those two interactions without blowing my stack. It was a really long day.)