Last week, I went looking for a new bed. I need a new bed for a new house I’m moving into. The house also needs a phone line, as, bizarrely, no previous tenants have required a landline, and so the house as no wall socket. But let’s start off with the bed.
Three of us walked into a bedding shop and were quite happy looking around when a lovely saleslady came over to help us. She was on for the chat in French, and while I didn’t quite get all she was saying, I understood enough to obediently go to the next bed she demanded we sample. She even turned to my friend and said: “They’re so cute!” when my partner and I discussed the bed we were laying on. She was, to be blunt, ridiculously sugary-sweet towards us, as you’d expect in someone trying to sell you a product which is clearly overpriced. She sat us down, then totalled up how much it would cost for the mattress (of non-standard size after she had convinced my partner that he needs the extra length despite him surviving this long without needing a long bed), then the bed base, then the wooden slats as they’re not included with the bed base, and then delivery. Did we even mention we wanted delivery? All up, it was more than €1000 and she wanted us to leave a deposit there and then. I explained that this was the very first shop we’d been in and that I’d like to look around for a bed base I liked a bit more, and she started going on about how much time she’d invested in explaining the way of beds to us. After a five-minute rant (seriously — it really was five minutes), she stopped. I opened my mouth and got as far as: “I think it’s quite normal—” she started again, speaking over my accent-ridden French and looking only at my partner, who somehow failed to notice this massive faux pas on her part. Our accompanying friend gave me a look of agreement and as soon as we left the shop (thankfully without any purchases), my friend had already named her “The Witch”. She went from oh-so-sweet to extremely nasty as soon as it became clear I was being a stick in the mud about actually wanting to ensure I was making an educated decision about my investment. We will not be going back.
According to another friend, in France, you are far more obliged to buy something if you’ve spent time with a salesperson. She ended up buying a bra that she’d been fitted for, even though she didn’t like the bra and she didn’t think it fitted all that well. In fact, the saleslady tried to sell her three. She escaped with just one, but took it back days later, and was given the third degree from the same woman who was clearly not happy about the return. This might also explain the dismay on the faces of the couch shop people who told us that if we took a couch away today, it would cost us 35% less! We escaped that shop too — all three of us scared by the pushy staff. So perhaps The Witch was indeed in the right. Still, we’re not going back.
Now, France Telecom. Well, there’s a story I’m saving for another time! Let’s just hope that the woman from the bed shop one day has to go and work for France Telecom: she might appreciate her current cushy job a bit more then. Meanwhile, the hunt for a bed continues…