Tuesday, May 22, 2007

A Tale of 2 Wholesalers

I'm working with a friend to decorate the office space of her husband (my first semi-professional job! Yippeee!)... We spent part of our day together yesterday perusing suppliers of high-end office furniture. The first store we explored was in a rather upscale industrial park, tucked away in a part of New Castle I'd never seen before. We entered the shop a little disappointed that there wasn't more to choose from, but appreciated the well appointed style and settings of the various pieces on the floor. The guy that waited on us was helpful, friendly and gave me two lovely catalogs to share with my client. He explained that he used to work for the competitor (which we had on our list of destinations) but when the 'Old Man' who ran the place died last year the place had taken a serious downward turn. So, he and a co-worker opened this space. He informed us that he would beat any price the competitor offered and assured us that delivery and set-up were included in the price. His shop also offered the service of plugging the measurements of the room and style of furniture we were interested in, into a computer in order to show us a 3D image of what our choice would look like in the space... Cool! We thanked our new friend and explained we were on our first fact-finding mission and might be in touch with him again.

Next we travelled over to the competitor which was in a seedier part of town... One of those big steel frame wharehouse type places. We walked in and instantaneously a small dog ran yapping at our feet, luckily he/she didn't bite! This however was no where near as disturbing as the woman who as my friend said, "Looked 2 minutes from dead." that was laying bolstered by pillows, covered with a ratty blanket across one of the office sofas for sale on the showroom floor... Can you say Eeeewww? This second store had a lot of stock to choose from, the majority of which was either scratched and dented beyond belief or was covered in so much dust you couldn't SEE the scratches and dents hidden beneath. One of the desks was a model we had seen at the previous store except this one had so many scratches on it we had to re-think it as a possible choice.

I'd seen enough and was ready to leave when the saleman approached us... That's when I really wanted to get out! Our salesman was a really sleezy looking guy... Roughly 70 yrs. old, leisure style pants, shirt buttoned down to there, with a few gold chains, slicked back hair and a "You gotta have it!" style. My girlfriend threw a few questions his way, while I looked over my should to make sure the lady on the sofa still appeared to be breathing. Eventually we made our way to the front of the shop where 'Mr. Slick' shuffled through the mounds of paperwork on his desk and eventually handed me two seriously bent and slightly muck covered catalogs to take with me.

I don't know about my girlfriend but I'm SO NOT planning on going back to the second store.



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