Commission

November 11, 2007

We ventured into a couple of furniture stores yesterday afternoon, just looking for ideas. One of our favorite past times is designing a house for ourselves, and we like looking at open houses, model homes, and furniture stores to collect ideas.

The stores in this case were Ethan Allen and a Lazy Boy showroom. At Lazy Boy we found a couch we both liked. Ethan Allen had a bookcase that we both liked; enough so that we took a picture or two with Sibylle's camera phone so we'd have something to remember later. Most of the other furnishings in the store just weren't quite our style. The working-on-commission sales lady wasn't my style either.

I find the mildly aggressive approach that sales people working on commission develop to be off-putting. Car salesmen are a particular breed, often hounding you across the parking lot when all you want to do is look. The same seems to hold true for furniture store employees. No sooner do you break the plane of their doorway than the next sales person in the rotation is charging across the floor with a loud greeting. They want to know you name, and to tell you theirs. They want to "help." All I want is to be left alone until such time as I feel I need help.

Yesterday's sales people weren't awful, but my naturally introverted nature finds it difficult to fend these people off. Some portion of my energy is spent worrying about the next encounter with someone who is only trying to do their job, but (probably through no fault of their own) has developed an approach guaranteed to make me want to turn on my heel and leave. I guess I need to develop some spiel like, "Hey, thanks for offering to help. Tell you what, you let us browse with out interrupting and we'll work with you when we are ready to buy. Pester us and we'll buy elsewhere." But that feels passive-aggressive or perhaps just sulky. so I don't say it.

It can't be an easy way to make a living, pestering people who probably want to be left alone; it certainly isn't a way I could work.

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Mark H. Nichols

I am a husband, cellist, code prole, nerd, technologist, and all around good guy living and working in fly-over country. You should follow me on Twitter.