Have you ever gone to buy something and it seems like all the forces of the world are against you? I’m talking about walking into a store with money in hand, and yet the staff seems to do everything in their power NOT to help you? I know that sounds pretty ridiculous, but this is something that I observe all the time. And to make matters worse, I can think of a lot of other people that have brought it up as well!
Why is this?? When I’m about to make a relatively huge purchase, shouldn’t there be a little more eagerness to work with me? Or are employees really just that apathetic?
Here is an actual example that will illustrate my point. It took place last week when I went to buy some flagstone pavers for my gardens. To set the stage, I was all set to buy the stones from one place when I decided last minute to call the one in this story to see if I could get a better deal. They did in fact have a much better price and I ultimately I ended up buying from them. But as you will see, there were some minor struggles to get them to sell to me. Please read this story lightly and enjoy!
[The Initial Phone call]
• Me: Hi, do you sell flagstone?
• Tami at the store: Oh yes, we have tons of flagstone and we sell it all the time!
• Me (after discussing price with Tami): Great! I’d like to order 6 tons and have it delivered tomorrow!
• Tami: Well, hold on. First we’ll need you to come into the store. We have a policy where you have to see the pallets of stone and pick which ones you want.
• Me: Really? Hmmm. What time do you close?
• Tami: Five.
• Me: Hmmmm. That’s a bummer. You see I’m at work right now and I usually don’t leave until after five. Could you send me some pictures?
• Tami: Uhm, no. Sorry. You’ll just have to come in if you want them.
• Me (reluctantly): Al-right, I guess I’ll see if I can leave a little early today.
[So I leave work a little early and stop at the stone store]
• Me: Hi, I called earlier about the flagstone.
• Tami: Oh yes, I remember.
• Me: Can you show me the pallets of stones.
• Tami: No, but Matt can.
• Me: Sounds good. Where is Matt?
[Five minutes later …]
• Me: Hi are you Matt?
• Matt: Yup.
• Me: Great can you show me the pallets of flagstone?
• Matt (pointing non-discretely): They’re right here.
• Me: Okay, these are perfect. I’ll take 6 tons.
• Matt: Oh, you want six tons? This is only 3 tons.
• Me: Okay. Well … do you have anymore?
• Matt: I don’t know. I guess I’ll have to check.
[A few minutes later …]
• Matt: Yup, we’ve got some more.
• Me: Sounds great. Can I order them?
• Matt: Uhhh, no. You’ve got to look at them first.
• Me: Okay, where are they?
• Matt: They’re all the way in the back. I’m not sure if you want to walk back there. It’s kind of a long walk.
• Me: Ah, I’ll be fine. I’ve got legs. Let’s go.
[We go to the back of the stone yard …]
• Me: These two pallets will be fine.
• Matt: Well, they’re behind these two other pallets.
• Me: Okay, well … can you move these two other pallets out of the way?
• Matt: Ya, but I’ll have to get the fork truck.
• Me: Okay. Well I guess you better do that.
[Back to the stores’ main office …]
• Me: Okay Tami, I’m ready to order.
• Tami: Oh, I don’t know how to do orders. You’re going to have to talk to Kari.
[A few minutes later …]
• Kari: Hi, were you the one Matt was helping?
• Me: Yes. He showed me some flagstone and said to tell you that it was “Canadian Blue” flagstone at $225 per ton.
• Kari: Was it the pallet out there?
• Me: Yes.
• Kari: Oh. That’s not Canadian Blue. That’s something different. We’ll have to go back out there and check it.
[We go back outside, look at the pavers, and then head back to the store office …]
• Kari: Okay. Those are Canadian Blue “Wall Pavers”.
• Me: Great. What does that mean?
• Kari: That means they’re probably at a different price.
• Me: Okay, can you check on what the new price will be?
• Kari: Uhhmmm, ya. I’ll have to ask my boss and call you back.
• Me: But I’m here right now and am ready to place an order. Can you ask him?
• Kari: No. Here’s not here. He’s at the Tigers game.
• Me: Okay, is there another way to check?
• Kari: Well … I could go in his office and check the price list.
• Me: Alright, how about you do that and tell me what it is.
[Kari disappears into the back]
• Kari: Okay, it turns out they’re cheaper. They’re at $175 per ton.
• Me: Wow, that’s great! I’ll take them. Do you accept American Express?
• Kari: No, sorry.
• Me: Okay … how about Visa?
Readers: Do you ever feel like it is impossible to buy something? Even with money in hand, people still give you every reason in the world that they CAN’T sell it to you? Is there a conspiracy I don’t know about?