Tuesday, 13 October 2009

Cars, beds, mattresses and liberal Democrats.

There are two purchases I have to make which fill me with dread.

One is to get a new or pre-owned car.

The other is to buy furniture – especially a mattress.

My style of shopping for large items is to browse, and graze. I like to visit four or five showrooms, and to wander around each of them, making mental or written notes of possibilities and prices.

That’s impossible when looking for a car or an item of furniture. No sooner has one’s toe crossed the threshold of car lots or furniture stores, than some salesperson or another wants to become one’s best friend.

Each such person has an “angle” - which is always “trust me, I am your friend, I will get you the best bargain possible”.

I suppose this is because the salespeople work on commission. That tells me something about the nature of car and furniture sales, and the owners of such businesses. It smells of sleaze.

It would smell much sweeter to me if salespersons worked for a good salary, (with bonuses for extra-ordinary performance) - and why not? Would not economic justice lead to better service?

Fortunately such “big-ticket” purchases are infrequent. But they are inevitable from time to time. It is such a time as this for me. I need a new bed.

So in recent days I have visited a couple of those deadly outfits which advertise “Beds, Beds, Beds”, or “Mattresses at Factory prices”, (what the hell IS a “Factory Price”?)

In their print and web advertising these folks offer incredible bargains. Upon visiting the showroom one finds that the bargain bed or mattress is hidden in a corner. And the salesperson is sure in her or his pure heart that one is in fact looking for a much more expensive product.

Today, in one emporium, the salesman tried to sell me a bed with all the trimmings based on a catalogue, as the showroom “unfortunately did not have a floor model”.

When I asserted firmly that I would not purchase a bed and mattress without first trying it out, he dismissed me with a curt “good luck”.

I am more in favour of good business practice than good luck.

But then again, don’t listen to me. I am just an old fashioned liberal Democrat.

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