Thursday, September 6, 2018

Postcards from the Lake: When Salesmen Blow It

Rick and I had an interesting experience during one of our summer lake visits. It was a bit of a gloomy day -- one of those "will it rain or will it shine" sorts of days. Since we had to go the store anyway, we went into town and wandered around.

Our first (and most delightful) discovery was seeing a series of reproduction paintings that the Detroit Institute of Arts was placing in smaller communities around the state.

This is an outreach effort to both encourage people to visit the beautiful DIA (Here's another post about that spot HERE) and to enjoy some of it's remarkable collection if a visit isn't an option. This one was in front of the courthouse.

 This was another. It was rather lovely and the woman quite beautiful.

There was much detail in her face...

... but the toes could have used a little work!

The mattress on our bed is an old one, brought up from home. If I told you the original year it was purchased, you'd think me awful for not replacing it sooner. Let's just say mom was still alive -- and she died in 1977. Ultimately, it became cottage-worthy because, well, no one was sleeping on it at home!

So, as we were wandering we decided to check out a furniture store on Main Street called "Great Rooms." Looking at mattresses wasn't our reason for going there -- we were killing time till the weather decided what it would do. But as long as we were there...

The salesman we met with first, Doug, was terrific. He was just the right kind of guy for this. Friendly, knowledgeable, well dressed but not overdressed, well spoken with excellent grammar. He was funny but not inappropriately so, smart and well informed, not at all pushy. We probably tried out every mattress and he was patient (OK, it wasn't a busy day, but still...), not pushing a pricier version over a less expensive one but making sure we knew the differences. He was 64 and this was part time for him -- otherwise he worked in insurance sales.

In short, everything you could want in a sales guy.

I even told him that I really appreciated his style and way of working with us, how good he was and I was really impressed. I asked if he worked on commission (he didn't) and praised him well. We were "this close" to getting one of the mattresses but were going to talk it out.

Now, that cottage is about one mile, no more than two, from the city limits. We asked about delivery and there was a $20 difference in the delivery fee once you were out of the limits. We asked if that could be adjusted and he said he'd have to ask his boss, who was nearby.

Well, the boss came in and was quite possibly the worst asset this business could have. Not only was he unyielding on that, but it was how it was stated that was particularly jarring. He had no sense of grammar at all -- double negatives all over the place. "Don't got no idea" is not good grammar. He was wearing a printed blue t-shirt cut off to be sleeveless and jeans and looked as sloppy as all get out. And this guy was the boss?

Rick asked about how long they expected the mattress to last (remember, we've been on the current one for a long time. This one was to be just for the cottage -- and last year I spent a record 55 nights there. So, we're not talking a lot of use.)

And the guy says. Ten years. That's how long the warranty is and that's what it will last."

Now, that was dumb. Everyone knows the warranty lasts way less than the life span of anything -- electronics, car, refrigerator. There are so many better ways to state it -- "Well, the warranty is ten years, but we all know mattresses last much longer, especially if you aren't using it daily." Doesn't commit but answers nicely.

He was essentially the stereotypical bad car salesman (apologies to car salesmen, not all are this way!)

We couldn't get out of there fast enough. Essentially, this guy, through demeanor and not even considering reducing the delivery fee -- basically blowing it off and not politely -- cost his store a sale. A big sale, at least $700, maybe more, because mattresses are not inexpensive. All for $20.

I feel like finding Doug  and taking him out for coffee and saying "you are so much better than that place you work. You should find a new job that is worthy of you."

A lot of us have done sales or maybe customer service. Every client is different. But here was a case of where "the customer is always right" had most likely never been heard.

I'm glad Doug wasn't on commission.

At least this one doesn't care about the mattress!

Linking to:   Share Your Cup   


William Kendall said...

Sometimes an artist is so caught up in one aspect of their work that they ignore others. I was looking at a painting the other day where the faces of children are less focused than the details of the structure in the foreground- they're sitting out on a porch, while the perspective is from within.

Joanne Huffman said...

I really have to go to the DIA. Your mattress saga is infuriating - there must be some way to convey this information to the store owner.

eileeninmd said...

Hello, love the art work. The one does have weird shaped toes or foot. My hubby is always wheeling and dealing to cut cost when buying something. Some stores are looser than others. The price of a mattress should have free delivery. The store must not be pushy at trying to sell their items. Happy Thursday, enjoy your day!

Barbara @ Fair Meadow Place said...

Too bad about the mattress and to whom could you complain? I complain about a lot of things now. I think I am getting old and crotchety. Who came up with the word "crotchety" to mean cantankerous? See what I mean? Getting back to the mattress, wouldn't it be nice to have a new one? Maybe next summer, Jeanie.

Danielle L Zecher said...

That's so annoying when sales people are like that. I remember when we bought my car (a Camry) and we looked at Subarus before we went to the Toyota place. The salesmen pretty much enraged me, to the point that I will probably never, ever consider a Subaru. I most likely would have ended up with a Toyota anyway, but he guaranteed that we will never go back to that dealership, even when it's time to replace Nick's car. I understand trying to make a sale, but there comes a point when they just drive people away.

I'm not sure if you have them there, but we bought our mattress at Ashley Furniture, and they weren't pushy at all. We're pretty far from the store, but I don't remember the delivery charge being outrageous. I will say, though, that they send us sales fliers and credit offers for every single holiday, even the non event ones like President's Day. Apparently they think we need a lot of furniture!

Valerie-Jael said...

The art they are putting around is fantastic. Not so the boss in that store, what a sorry example of a manager. And as you say, Lizzie doesn't mind the old mattress! Hugs, Valerie

Ricki Treleaven said...

I love the idea of sharing art with other communities. LOVE the people at the DIofA!

As far as the salesman....what a jerk! I hope you can find a better deal elsewhere.

Misadventures of Widowhood said...

I love what the DIA is doing by "teasing it" in smaller towns. What a great idea.

How dumb to you have to be to lose a sale over $20? And if he was going to be ridge over it at least he could have been apologetic, telling you he was already priced too close to cost or offer to split the cost to get an extra $10 out of you.

Lynne said...

I loved the art idea for, “around town” . . .
And, liking salesman Doug . . .
The owner . . . might need some “Doug lessons.”
But then . . . some things are impossible to teach.
You’ve either ”got it” or you don’t!
Losing a 700$ sale for a mere 20$, while wearing a t-shirt, suggests he might not have been the “brightest spoon in the box!”

My name is Erika. said...

How stupid of that store manager. He obviously wasn't a very sales savvy guy. But I do love the idea of those paintings. It's a great way to get people interested in seeing the real thing, and good to just see those nicely done repros. Hugs-Erika

Marilyn Miller said...

I love the salesmen story. Bad salesmen are not worth the sale. I hope the good salesmen finds another way to make money. Love the art about town too. I have not been around much this week, so hope to get caught up soon with blogging.

Angela said...

I think mattress shopping is my least favorite activity ever. Good luck with finding a good one!

Iris Flavia said...

LOL "the toes could have used a little work" - you sure made me laugh with this one!
Beautiful work, though!
1977 my "baby-brother" was born :-)
Can you send Doug over here, please?
Yesterday a 20-year-old "new" staff-guy at our grocery store was very sweet and funny and I thought, wee, so nice to see someone loving his work!.
That boss in your place, tough.... just like what we had to endure at Herman´s! How and why, I wonder???

In Germany we have the saying "the customer is the King". Well, my name, translated, is "Emperor" and my parents still treated their customers as if they were Kings. (They had ashtrays and all in the store in the 70´s!!!)

Very cute last pic :-)

Unknown said...

Thanks for the good and very helpful information, and I like it so much. Thank you for sharing this with me and everyone.

Bleubeard and Elizabeth said...

I am a BIG fan of Van Gogh. Love that it was on loan.

I had to laugh at the silly owner of the store. I wonder how he has stayed in business as long as he has. I have a mattress and box springs that I've had so long I can't remember when I got it. Of course, guests only sleep on it about once or twice a year. I could probably tell him about the lifetime of a mattress, but he would be too busy arguing with me to listen.

Sami said...

Those toes sure are funny, lol, I'm sure you would do a better job Jeanie!
Losing a $700 sale over a $20 delivery fee is ridiculous, what a joke of a boss, glad Doug wasn't on commission.
Last year in France my husband bought 2 bottles of water from a cafe to take-away, but when he returned outside the rest of the group decided we would all like to sit down for a coffee/cake, etc. So we sat down and the owner or salesman came out and said to my husband if he was going to drink the water there the bottles would cost 0,50 cents more each!!
My son in law who is French, told him that because he was being and idiot over 1Euro he was going to lose the business of 7 people and we all left and sat at another coffee shop down the road. I hope he learned his lesson.

Pam Richardson said...

Hopefully Doug will speak to his boss about the loss of a sale. Jeanie, there are people who just don’t care, $20.00 shouldn’t have been a big deal. So I guess you still have to shop for a mattress? The art made your visit worthwhile!

The French Hutch said...

When we are on vacation and we have a rainy day I usually love spending at least part of the day exploring the shops in the area. You certainly found some great art work to appreciate. How disappointing to have your mattress purchase spoiled from a twenty dollar delivery fee. I have to say, as of late retailers are standing firm on delivery fees. I've had my best success when this happens is to negotiate the cost of the item for a discount, this seems to help alleaviate the bad taste a high delivery fee leaves! Hope you find the mattress you want. Enjoy the last of your lake days.

bj said...

Sorry this happened to you...I hate it when I get a salesman like that. They don't seem to understand that if you treat customers right, they will come back to their store again. And...I love it when I get a salesman that is more than ready to make the deal a sweet one.

Linda d said...

Ugh! I thoroughly dislike making big purchases of any kind. I always feel I should have done more homework or looked more places.

BUT I agree with you....what a numbnuts! I'd of walked out fast.

Linda @ A La Carte said...

It is so hard to find a decent sales person in furniture sales. I've been lucky a few times and not so lucky other times. The 'other' times I walk out. It seems like courtesy and decorum have fallen to the wayside in so many areas of our lives. I would not want to put any money in that guys pocket.

The paintings in town are wonderful.

Victoria Zigler said...

Sorry you had to deal with the attitude of the manager. I'm glad Doug wasn't on commission, since I'm sure you weren't the first people to walk out in that situation, and doubt you'll be the last. I'd have walked out without buying too.

Glad you were able to enjoy some nice art that day anyhow.

Arlee Bird said...

The bed shot makes the cottage seem very appealing. Sounds like a great getaway with a nice town nearby despite the rude store owner. Having worked in customer service I know the importance of going a bit out of the way to appease clients. They say one unhappy customer experience gets shared with 7 (?) other people or how many others it might be. Every store owner should be keeping this in mind and emphasizing it to their employees. I always prided myself on good customer relations.

Enjoyed the story and the tour through town.

Arlee Bird
Tossing It Out

likeschocolate said...

The mattress store building is like a blast from the past. I kind of like the old sea captain painting. I need to get down to our art museum it has been a while.

Pat @ Mille Fiori Favoriti said...

It's funny as DIA here means Denver International Airport. Our DIA is filled with lots of bizarre artwork--in fact, there are conspiracy theories about it that you can read online!

Too bad about that mattress. It seems "the boss" should receive lessons in salesmanship! We ordered a mattress through Costco for our guest room. Free delivery, comfortable, and was a good price. You could try them at their dot com address.

shoreacres said...

I wish you could have done your furniture shopping at our Gallery Furniture. The guy who started it sold furniture under a tent in a parking lot, but he's got something like three huge stores now, and a passionate clientele: all because of splendid customer service, humorous advertising, solid wood, American furniture, and mattresses galore. In fact, his nickname is Mattress Mack, and he's a social service agency to boot.

Anyway: buy a mattress (or anything) from Mack, and it's free, same day delivery. Period. And the delivery guys always ask if there's anything else you need from them. The latest cool story was when they ended up cutting an old lady's grass for her, because her son was in the hospital and couldn't do it.

Lisa from Lisa's Yarns said...

How in the world did that guy end up in a management job? He sounded terrible! So stupid to lose out on a nice sale over a small delivery fee. Doesn’t seem like you can stay in business long with that kind of approach!!

Have a Daily Cup of Mrs. Olson said...

Makes you wonder how a guy like that made it to manager? I hate pushy salesman!! Thanks for sharing with SYC.

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