Tuesday, January 17, 2006

Sofas for the Bourgeoisie

What an experience is shopping in Western Washington. You would think that all the Microsoft money would have cured salespeople of making judgments about people based on their appearance. However, it seems to me that age and clothes still make a huge impact on how you are treated. The effect seems also to be magnified when the items you are considering are of the "big ticket" variety. Two weeks ago Mark and I made our first foray into the world of sofas. Since we moved into the new house we've been thinking a nice, new sofa would be good for the front room. Thus we went out on a rainy Sunday afternoon, and stopped into a nearby Lazyboy store. Our sales lady took a very good look at my ratty sneakers, fleece, and ponytail, and just about turned around again. Now, to be fair, Mark thinks I may be overly sensitive on this one, but our experience at Bassett cannot be doubted.

Dressed a little (but not much) better this time, we ventured into Bassett just to see what was available. We wandered around and found that it was very hard, no pretty well impossible, to catch a salesperson's eye. Finally, we actually went up to the counter and stood in front of the two people working there. They flatly refused to look at us or break their own conversation. We walked out, question unasked, and sofa unpurchased. We then had nearly the same treatment at Macy's. Granted, weekends are busy in furniture stores, but this seems a little extreme to me.

In the end, we are going to buy the sofa from one of the two small shops we visited on the side. In both cases the salespeople were polite and attentive, but they still made sure to mention the payment plan right away. I guess next time we should break out the tweed and cashmere before we go shopping so we can be sure to impress the right people.

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