thief of time

Sunday, August 15, 2004

Salesmanship

We went out shopping the other week and were sent home with our tails between our legs, firmly chastened.

Firstly, I should mention that we live in an old house—not “old” as in old and gracious, possibly colonial, or well-kept Victorian, but “old” as in well past its youth and mildly decrepit, with middle age spread and bits falling off (and that is literally, not figuratively).

A lot of the appliances in our house are, or were, in the same state. Our fridge, which was about 25 years old was finally gotten rid of, thanks to a nice department store with an interest free period.

Our stovetop and oven, which are even older, are similarly under threat of replacement, but it’s something I keep putting off because it means doing something with our kitchen to make things fit in, as our stove top is a three burner (actually 2 and sometimes 1, grr) and slightly oddly shaped, which means modern stove tops probably won’t fit in properly. Financially speaking, the thoughts of having to do something to our kitchen is not appealing at all. In addition, the oven spot will probably fit a modern one, but I’m really hesitant about getting a new one because, as poor as it is, after 20 odd years, you get to know its idiosyncrasies and bake accordingly.

Never mind. One Saturday after one of my burners died again, I told my husband that I was afraid we’d really have to get serious and start looking around. We’d looked half-heartedly for some time, so we knew in a vague way a few of the brands that were about, but decided the best thing to do would be go to one of leading retailers who would be sure to have a bit of a range to look at, because a lot of our department stores are pretty limited as to the stock they carry.

I have a feeling that the person we came up against was the manager, just because of the way he carried himself. There was a certain air about him. When I explained what we were after, he took us immediately to the top of the range that they sold, European, of course, with a price that took our breath away.

After admiring the stove, which really was fantastic, I asked if they had something else a bit cheaper. Well, yes, they did have and he directed us there. These apparently were suitable if we were renting a place and wanted something for the tenants—mustn’t let the tenants get too uppity, I guess.

Then he asked me why in the world I had gone from the top of the line to this, when it was for our own home. I didn’t hardly like to tell him that I couldn’t justify paying that amount of money on myself. I’m afraid if he’d seen what I’d been cooking on for these last five years or so, he’d have shot us out of the store as totally unsuitable customers. It’s sort of the feeling you get when you drive through a place like Double Bay in a rusty VW Beetle, which I’ve done.

We're still looking for a retailer whose expectations we're not too far below.

2 Comments:

  • It is true there are all kinds of salesmen, some more of a liability to the business than an asset. Hub and I went to buy an organ in blue jeans and t's - while the clerk looked us up and down with total obvious distain, a well-dressed customer came in. That's when he excused himself, told us to look around and never came back. We had the cash, we wanted a very good organ and we did buy one, but not in that shop. If you have to go back to the same shop, maybe you need to tell that salesman that good cooking is far more dependent on the skill of the cook than on a stove's accessories and prices. Or that you actually prefer cooking on a campfire but occasionally it rains and you're forced to cook inside!

    By Blogger Roberta, at August 16, 2004 at 4:13 p.m.  

  • Thanks for that, Roberta.

    The poor guy was just trying to encourage me to live beyond my means, which a lot of salespeople try to do. Unfortunately, he shouldn't have done it in so blatant a manner. A good salesperson can do it without you noticing.

    By Blogger Bee, at August 20, 2004 at 4:54 p.m.  

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