Who knew shopping for a recliner would be one of those moments that emotionally scar you for life. I had no idea such would be my fate. Innocence lost.
The three salesmen in an empty furniture store spot my brother and myself, near non-verbal introverts. I lead bravely as point man, the lamb of innocent dreams, the potential sacrifice. I see the recliners, all in double rows, my target, but then blam! A Sales Pitch Bomb shrieks toward me. I duck, nod, smile lamely, mumble about “checking the chairs out”, add “just looking” and utter “cool” for the first of what will be roughly 400 times while in the store.
Somehow the wounds are not mortal; my limbs are intact, my wallet still firmly pressed to my right buttock.
The chair testing begins. Both of us, especially my brother, keep one eye on the price tags and the other on the sneaky sales personnel. We even look up occasionally. A tough economy leads to all sorts of desperate acts.
And then the Nuclear Pitch. Nothing to be done. We saw it coming. Nods, smiles, ducking, no eye contact, nothing worked. Even saying, “cool” like I had discovered stuttering and really enjoyed the effect didn’t save us. “Come check out this chair, around the corner.” And so we followed, devastated by the blast. We were dust to be blown in the direction the wind blew.
“Sit down in that chair.” So I did before quickly realizing that I was dealing with something more than a mere salesman. Here before me was CREEPY SALESWEIRDO. He pressed a button on the side of the chair while standing in front of me and up my feet went in uncomfortable (whisper quiet) slowness as the sales pitch continued. All I could hope looking at the bespectacled, balding blond man was that he did not have a speculum in his back pocket. He had that sort of look in his eyes, like he would try anything as I was at his mercy, feet pointed up in his direction, my red face a helpless beacon ignored by my grinning brother who was thus far unscathed. Then the CREEPY SALESWEIRDO demonstrated how nice the footrest was by putting his hand between my knees.
I scrambled to find the chair’s operation buttons. The Salesman frowned, perhaps because I was resisting, or perhaps because I was scratching the upholstery. He aided my release by again making the uncomfortably close lean over to operate the controls. All while giving The Pitch. I was reduced to whimpering, “cool” as I zoomed to any area where my boundaries might have been lost. Maybe my boundaries fell under a seat cushion along with my seventeen cents. I didn’t care.
“Let’s just buy a chair.” I pleaded with Mr. Grinny who was formerly my brother. We tested a few more, walked around, kept moving to through off pursuit and to confuse our scent.
We bought a chair. It was the only way to save face and the only safe retreat option. We were outnumbered and I at least was clearly routed.
My dreams were not gentle dreams.