Tuesday, January 20, 2009

The United States of Apathy

In case you live under rock and had not heard (I'd like to know how you cunningly ducked the verbal diarrhea spewing from every talking head on the box), we're said to be in a recession. Every day we hear about how hard-hit small businesses are and that many are folding up their tents and going out of business. If that's the case, what kind of voodoo are they practicing at the Tile Mart? Based on their interest in my business, they must be so flush that they are shredding money, mixing it with water and using it for grout.

I walked in at lunch time yesterday and it was me, myself and tile. It was silent other than the click clack of my heels on the smartly tiled floors. There was no one there but a lone sales person. One who was clearly not on commission and whom without a quick "mirror under the nose" check for breathing, was of questionable vitality. Being that the mirror fogged, I decided to engage her in conversation. This is where she got a little lively. She reminded me of a cross between a two year old and a thirteen year old for her passionate attachment to the word "No" alternating with her complete apathy toward pursuing alternatives that could result in a sale. Here were my questions and her answers.

Do you have 12X12 white octagon tiles? - No
Do you have any size?- Maybe 8X8
Can you show them to me?- OK (Points to tile, walks away)
(I follow her back to the desk) Can you get me a price on them?- (no answer, walks back to tile - quotes price)
Do you carry this brand of tile?- Yes
Do you have the 3x3 beveled tile? - Don't know. I have to look it up.
Do you have glass mosaic tiles xyz combination of colors? - You'll never find that combination of colors, they don't go together. (My face goes purple with rage. My inner monologue is going at 100 miles an hour in my head - "What was that, bitch?!?!?! Questioning my aesthetics? Now it's on. It is so on!"

I wanted to lay her out, but I maintained my composure. I went to the wall of mosaic tiles and began pulling samples, all of which had the two colors in question, the ones that "did not go together" but they were not in the sizes or finishes that I was looking for. I promptly brought them to the desk and laid them in front of her in an "In your face!" gesture. "These are the colors that I am looking for in glass mosaic" I told her politely. To which she replied "We don't have that". At this point I was well over an hour into my lunch hour and getting nowhere. I had to cut it loose. But what I don't understand is, I was standing in front of her with a potential sale. I would have ordered floor tile, wall tile, ceiling tile and accent tile and she responded with the enthusiasm of a teenager being asked to clean the dog poop from the yard.

Recession? Not at Tile Mart.