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December 15, 2014

I’m only being honest when I say most people like me. I’m light-hearted and don’t take things too seriously, and I’m great at faking sincerity. It’s true that the corners of my mouth curve upward in an impish grin that people sometimes take for a smirk, but all in all I get along well with people. I’ve also spent years in retail and know what it means to give good service, and I treat salespeople as I wanted to be treated when I was wearing the nametag. But one fellow didn’t care much for me in spite of my attempts to thaw his icy disapproval.


Backing up just a bit, we’d just moved into an old house in downtown Portland. We’d bought the fixer-upper because of its proximity to Northwest Twenty-Third Street, known for its trendy shops, restaurants and throbbing nightlife. We lived on Northwest Twenty-Second, two houses from the corner, and across the street was a Pottery Barn—so close that from our front porch we could read the word “Barn” on the side of the building. In spite of financial limitations, I was determined to shabby chic the shit out of our house and spent a lot of time in Pottery Barn, perhaps too much. Was it my fault they sold such lovely things my wallet couldn’t afford?



Our former house in Northwest Portland



Mr. X managed the Pottery Barn and he must have thought I was a vagrant or someone incapable of affording any of his nice things. Tall and thin with a droopy mustache that made him look like cartoon villain Snidely Whiplash, he stalked me like I was a tweaker dating his daughter. Wherever I went in his store, his eyes trailed me, and he never offered any assistance.


One day I finally decided to splurge on a new rug to cover the floor of my office. Pottery Barn sold a beauty called “The Franklin Persian-Style.” The colors were perfect and the rug was available in just the right size, 9x12 feet. Mr. X was hovering nearby, and he looked surprised when I turned and said, “I’ll take this rug.”


He checked my bills carefully when I paid cash, as if expecting they might be counterfeit. His expression was stiff and unfriendly as he rang up the sale.


“I’ll need help getting this home,” I said.


“That will cost an additional $35.00, and delivery will take a week,” he snapped.


This guy was really pissing me off. “The least you can do is help me get it to my car.”


Mr. X wrinkled his face, but grabbed one end of the rolled rug and helped me carry it to the parking lot. As we passed rows of cars he grunted, “Where’s your vehicle?”


“It’s nearby,” I promised, leading us out of the parking lot and across the street.


“Where did you say your car was?” he growled.


I paused a few houses from the corner. “It’s right here, in my garage. Thanks for helping carry my rug home,” I said, smiling.


Mr. X turned fire engine red. Before stomping back to his store he backed into the street and was nearly hit by a car.


I no longer live in downtown Portland, but I still have that rug. Pottery Barn still carries it but I don’t recommend you buy one. It’s made of 100% wool and sheds terribly. Every few weeks I vacuum up  a kitten-size ball of burgundy wool.


Our rug in the Pottery Barn Catalog







I hate people like that, I don't know what makes them so cranky!
By: Cranky on December 15, 2014
laughing at your cleverness. :) but the shedding is his way of paying you back all these years...
By: TexWisGirl on December 15, 2014
Ah sweet justice.
By: John on December 15, 2014
A duel of sorts. His snarkiness verses your impish grin. Do you still frequent the Pottery Barn?
By: Daniel LaFrance on December 15, 2014
Ahhhh, hahahaha, Good for you!! That's awesome!! :))
By: Hey Monkey Butt on December 15, 2014
There are some people who just should not be in retail. They make me want to flaunt my money in front of them as i sashay out the door to the competitor!
By: mimi on December 15, 2014
It's always more fun to smile nicely, and get the better of someone. Especially someone who quite rightly deserves it. What a tool. I've had my moments of incivility with these types of cretins.
By: Bob on December 15, 2014
In my salad days sales people sometimes ignored me when I went in stores. I went elsewhere. I'm glad Snidely Whiplash helped you carry your rug home without knowing what he was doing. Love, Janide
By: Janie Junebug on December 15, 2014
hahahah It would have served him right if he had been side swiped! I do not get why some folks are so cranky! I was like you when I worked retail in a flower shop for 10 years after retiring from the phone company....I loved helping people get exactly what they wanted- I've always had the work philosophy of making my job fun- and when it isn't fun find another job- which is why I took early retirement! Cheers!
By: Kathe W. on December 15, 2014
Ha ha, that was brilliant. Free delivery plus extreme satisfaction.
By: Akansas Patti on December 15, 2014
Oh, perfect! Too bad the rug sheds, but at least you got a bit of payback.
By: Nancy/BLissed-Out Grandma on December 15, 2014
I'm reminded of the scene in "Pretty Woman" where Julia Roberts (now dressed beautifully) goes back to the shop where she had been told they had nothing for her. She's carrying a bunch of bags from other stores & says, "I suppose you work on commission?" They tell her they do & she waves her bags & says, Too bad!!"
By: fishduckyf on December 15, 2014
Oh Mr. Chatterbox you are a sly one......
By: Oma Linda on December 15, 2014
Oho! That was fantastic! Serves the old grouch right.
By: Catalyst on December 15, 2014
It might have helped his disposition toward you to have informed him from the start that you are of Portuguese--not Mexican, descent.
By: Jerry E. Beuterbaugh on December 15, 2014
There are too many people who don't get the idea behind customer service! I love that you got home delivery of that rug!
By: Eva Gallant on December 15, 2014
I would have given up on this guy long ago. He must have owned this shop and I'm sure he would have gone broke.
By: red on December 15, 2014
And I bet you had an impish grin on your face after you and the rug arrived at your house! I'm with fishducky - I had the same thought of Julia Roberts in "Pretty Woman."
By: Pixel Peeper on December 15, 2014
You and your shenanigans! This reminded me of my refrigerator-buying mission on Saturday. No, I didn't have somebody carry one end of it home for me. But I met a cranky saleslady. Without a mustache.
By: Val on December 15, 2014
Your former home looks lovely and charming. It has character. I wonder why some folks seem to be natural jack asses? Your move in getting him to help you carry it "to your car" is a classic!
By: Tom Cochrun on December 15, 2014
Like your style! Mr X deserved everything he got. I detest poor service; though insincere good service is pretty irritating too.
By: Mike@A Bit About Britain on December 16, 2014
I LOVE that rug. And I'm so glad I never met that particular Mr X. Oh, how I wish had the nerves (or even the wit) to do what you did!
By: Mitchell is Moving on December 16, 2014
I guess you got him for all that prejudicial treatment. Very funny and I "might" have done the same thing if I was a little braver.
By: Tabor on December 16, 2014
On top of everything else ... nice house!
By: Tom Sightings on December 16, 2014
That guy would put me off by a mile. I think you had the patience of a saint. Obviously, this was not during our times of online shopping. I get everything on Amazon. No hand carrying for this gal.
By: CiCi on December 16, 2014
He deserved that for sure. But I probably would have worried that he now knows whre I live...
By: Hilary on December 16, 2014
Ha! That makes me think of the commercial where the intoxicated guys went into the pizza place & ordered delivery - & rode with their pizza home :)
By: The Bug on December 16, 2014
I love how you got the best of ole Snidely! LOL! You have wicked skills;)
By: Leah on December 16, 2014
I like you. I'm sure this guy probably doesn't like anyone else either. I bet everyone around knew of the grouch.
By: Madeleine McLaughlin on December 17, 2014
Ah, this is a lovely story. You put him in his place without being unkind - not easy to do!
By: Jenny Woolf on December 17, 2014
Cunning and amusing. But it reminds me that it takes just as much energy to be kind as it does for someone to be cruel and apathetic as this man was. I hope he has changed.
By: Michael Manning on December 18, 2014

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