Actually it was mostly fun as the trip included having breakfast and going to the library where I left with a John Grisham and a Tom Clancy. Woohooo.
For a small town, Sebring has a fabulous library with every modern facility imaginable from free internet on numerous workstations to bar code reading 'do-it-yourself' checkouts. You don't need to interact with a staff member at all.
So after we had breakfasted and libraried (my blog, my made up word, ok ?), we went to the first of 3 furniture stores to look for a new reclining chair and to checkout dining tables and end tables and.....well anything furniturey really (yes, yes, same rule, see above !).
Now I donno about you (obviously), but the sales people in furniture stores drive me nuts. You go in and one will always appear as if from a nearby hidden closet.
"Hello......welcome to Chipboard City. Can I help you today ?"
"Ah no thank you. We're just looking".
"That's fine. My name is Pushybitch......just give me a shout if you want any help."
And that SHOULD be it. You SHOULD be able to wander around the store, safe in the knowledge that should you need to know how to use a chair or find out how a dining table works, Pushybitch will be at your side should you call for her.
In reality it seems these people don't believe you can work chairs and tables on your own and so they lurk. Some do more than lurk, they stalk. Oh if you turn around quickly they'll suddenly find a cushion to plump or a table arrangement to move an inch but really they're desperately listening for the slightest opportunity to close the gap and give you unwanted information.
Me : "I donno. I don't like this colour or fabric."
Whoooosh...as Pushybitch appears as if by magic.
Pushybitch : "Oh it comes in different colours and fabrics, sir. We can order whatever your little heart desires and it'll be delivered in 6-8 weeks."
Then they fall back again but are still within earshot and follow you around as if you're going to try and get a 3 piece suite out the door without being seen.
Manager : "We seem to be losing stock at an alarming rate, Pushybitch."
Pushybitch (sobbing) : "But the customers told me they're just looking and I believed them."
Manager : "WHAT ??!! Yer fired."
We went to 3 different furniture stores today and I'm pretty sure I spotted the salesperson from the first store following us in the 3rd store !
In one store, we thought we'd escaped by going out a door into a sort of quasi outside area full of recliner chairs and were pretty sure we'd made the move unseen. Not so. A few minutes later the door opened and in walked the salesperson with a triumphant look on his face. I half expected him to say 'my turn now' and ask us to count to 100.
And it's no use asking them to let you walk around alone. Oh no. They're wise to that devious tactic. They pretend to be doing an inventory which amazingly involves taking the very same route around the store as you.
It was so bad at the 2nd store that I walked past a chair and then decided to try it out and when I backed onto it, I found myself on the salesperson's knee !
I guess they're all on commission so don't want to lose a sale to some johnny-cum-lately colleague who happened to be near us when we made our decision. And some people may LIKE having a salesperson walk with them around the store.
I just don't. I especially don't when I've made it clear at the outset that I want to look around by myself. I just wish they'd realise that doesn't mean I want a conjoined twin nattering in my ear at every step.
Mind you, then there is Office Max. We went there too. They've adopted the same policy as WalMart who a long time ago, decided customers know how to work everything from an orange to a laptop computer so why employ anyone except checkout staff.
At Office Max today there was one checkout girl. That was it. And it was wonderful. We looked at 'stuff' and weren't bothered by anyone asking if they could help us. We picked up diaries and Filofax inserts and instinctively knew how they worked. I tried out a felt tip pen as if I was born to do so and although a box of paper clips had me stumped for a few minutes, I did quickly work out how to use them. All on my own. It was a wonderful shopping experience.
So to all sales staff everywhere. If I enter your store and tell you I just want to look around on my own, please respect my wishes.
If I want a stalker, I can find plenty on Facebook and Twitter.