Sunday, June 6, 2010

Home on the Range...appliance humor...becoming a Range Rover

Home On the Range

There’s so much to know in life. Sometimes this knowing extends into the ordinary, as in the ordinary, albeit quite handy, stove-oven combo we all enjoy known as the “range,” where we turn home cooked, frozen meals into fork-worthy taste treats. Recently I decided I would replace our ailing stove-top with a new one, thinking it would be easy. (See what happens when you grow up with Easy-Bake Ovens?) So I embarked upon a Range Rover mission, if you will.

Upon arrival at the first store and my inquiry into all things “range,” a salesman walked me over to the most expensive oven in the showroom. He proceeded to give me a quick “top 10” list as to why this range, within the entire price range was the best bargain he could uh-range, which seemed strange given the sheer range bounty the establishment offered.

He carried on, rhapsodizing about the wonderment I’d been missing that is the convection oven and I realized, belatedly, that I had misunderstood when I told him I’m not a candymaker, whereupon he guffawed. Convection, not confection. Oh. He looked at me as though I didn’t have the slightest clue as to what I was doing. I smiled as though I did have a clue. We both knew who was bluffing in this game of retail poker.

Hope springs eternal and even moderate commissions buy nice things, so he was still sniffing the scent of sale on me while I calmly steered him over to what I eagerly referred to as the “low end” ranges. He sighed once, twice, and then a final propulsive time, as though I was personally disappointing him because I could afford the range, but I was insisting on not affording the range. On to store number two.

This guy seemed open to suggestions, but it rapidly became apparent that quick stepping the customer over to the most expensive appliance on display is listed in the appliance selling training handbook somewhere. Whether it’s because the consumer will buy the priciest item after immediately falling in love with it or, by comparison, all other appliances will look cheaper, which will also lead to a purchase, I’ll never know. The nuances don’t matter, so much as the nickels it would take to buy any of these models. How many nickels are there in sixteen-hundred-dollars anyway?

The next store found me looking at ranges with grills, my personal favorite. Who knew that I didn’t possess a fraction of the budget needed to healthfully grill my family’s food? I advised the salesperson that this had devolved into merely a fact-finding mission at which point he jammed the requisite business card into my hand after launching into a detailed – and I do mean detailed – procedural account of how to install a drop-in stove. I confirmed that humor doesn’t garner a deal when I suggested perhaps he could “drop-in” a discount which is when he ran to answer a call on his non-ringing cell phone. This was rapidly turning into Goldilocks and the Three Bears with a twist.

Next, I went to a more moderately priced appliance shop, offering access to the masses, where the clerk immediately thought I was in the market for an industrial oven. This is when I realized I should never dress in all white when shopping for kitchen appliances, lest I be mistaken for a chef or butcher, neither of which landed me a cut rate.

When I said I just wanted a “regular” oven for the common people his sales commission expectations and flair for the dramatic became simultaneously apparent because he was literally floored, plunking down on the floor right after my notification. Once again, a business card was thrust into my hands. This time I was told that I wouldn’t find a better deal on a new range anywhere in town. And you know what? He was right.

The Easy-Fix-It appliance repairman will be here today at 4:00 o’ clock.

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