In a previous blog I lamented my desire to have a nice pen, and that my attempts at buying one ended in failure. Well I got a second-wind today and thought I'd give it another go. On Fridays at work we get to "dress down" so I didn't have smart clothes on, but I was still at work so I wasn't that badly dressed down.
I had looked up all of the information on the net regarding the exact pen I wanted (name, materials, type and product code) and wrote it down on a PostIt note. Alas one bit of information I couldn't get was the price…they don't list that on the site. I loitered outside of the shop for a while, pretending to look at the window goods but actually seeing if the shop was busy or not. I couldn't see any customers but it seemed quite light on staff too. I went inside anyway.
First problem…door was locked and needed to be opened by the security guard inside. Just what I needed. I hoped he didn't lock the door when he saw me lurking. Luckily he opens it and I gain entrance with no ado, no ID required, no pat-down or rectal cavity search. A sales girl looks up and utters "Can I help you?" I approach and tell her I am looking for a specific pen and she guides me to a nearby table, the type you see in minister's rooms on television. Dark, polished wood with leather surface, atop it a mirror in case you're buying jewellery. Or maybe a very expensive razor.
Sat at an identical table a short distance away is a woman who probably thinks that Keeping up Appearances is a documentary. In matching green floral dress and hat she watched me from the top of her nose as I sat at my own table. After producing my PostIt note the salesgirl went to get some brochures and some help from a colleague. After thumbing through a glossy brochure I helped the colleague locate the exact pen I wanted while the salesgirl held the brochure that contained the prices at an angle guaranteeing I couldn’t see. She reached for an oversized calculator and, after a few taps, got past the delivery of the "bad news" as quickly as she possibly could, as if even having to tell me the price meant she had to add bleach to her bathwater when she got home. Before the price had even reached my ears she was calling the manufacturer to ensure stock and delivery times. Putting the phone down she tells me "7 to 10 days, ok?" I got the impression that this was not an establishment where you said you'd "have to think about it".
Commission firmly in the bag, the salesgirl then began to schmooze me in a way that I am sure I would have been schmoozed beforehand had I have been a fat businessman in a suit, making sure everyone could see the Rolex up my wrist. With me, in my T-Shirt that came from a pack of three and dirty jeans, she needed to see the colour of my plastic before she was willing to even start her usual script. As the delivery of my writing instrument (please don't be so crass as to call it a "pen") was being arranged by the colleague, the salesgirl enquired about my weekend plans and probed a little into my reasons for buying the writing instrument, taking the time to laugh at all my jokes along the way. I would normally have been happy with her laughter, but now that I knew how much this writing instrument cost I think she should have laughed harder and for longer. Returning to the glossy brochure, the one I was allowed to look at, she remarked at what other writing instruments would perfectly compliment the one I'd just bought and would be an asset to my collection. Now it was my turn to laugh at her joke.
I soon found out she wasn't joking.
Grasping my A5 sized receipt I left the store with the promise that they'd call me when my writing instrument was available for collection. I shall ensure that I pick it up at the weekend just to see their faces when I walk in in my "usual" attire.