Writing the Self #4 – I guess we aren’t People

As I walked in the door and searched around for the king size beds I was so excited to find the perfect one.  In my mind I was picturing what they would look like in the master bedroom of our new home.  At first all I could see were couches and chairs, it was hard not to get distracted and try them out as they looked so comfortable.  We continued into the store and finally came across the beds.  The king size beds were easy to pick out, as they were so much larger.  I sat down on the first bed I found and looked around the rest of the store as I waited for Jordan to test out other beds.  I noticed that as people came in the door they were greeted by employees from the store.  I looked around again and saw that everyone was being helped by an employee from the store, except for us.  I also noticed that everyone else in the store was “well dressed” and seemed to be in their late 30’s.  It was a Saturday and we had opted to wear our comfortable lounging clothes, I felt it made sense as we were shopping for a bed.

Jordan had finished wandering around and came over to the bed I was trying out, “has anyone asked to help you?” I asked, “no one has even looked at me.”  “Nope,” he said sounding very annoyed, “I feel they think we can’t afford anything in their store.”  We went up to the service desk and finally found an employee to talk to.  We showed him the bed we wanted and the mattress to go with it.

“Did you want to look at any other beds before you decide?” he asked, motioning towards the smaller and less expensive beds.  “No we want this one please.” Jordan said bluntly pointing again to the bed we had picked out, “we’ve already looked at all of the other beds.”  The employee nodded and led us towards one of the desks.  We sat down, he pulled out the paper work and started showing us the payment plans available. He emphasized the ones that were stretched over longer periods of time making the bed set easier to pay off and easier to afford.  “We are just going to pay in full.” my husband said handing him our MasterCard.  The employee took the card from Jordan’s hand and starting inspecting it, it looked as though he was making sure it was a real card.  He slowly and carefully put our information into the computer, he looked worried when he submitted it, but had a sudden look of relief when the transaction was approved.

He happily handed over the completed paper work and showed us where to sign, informed us of the delivery date, and congratulated us on our purchase.  He then handed us his business card and said if we were ever needing anything to come back and find him and he would be more than happy to help us out.  It was interesting to see such a change in the way he treated us now that he realized we could afford our purchase.

Just because they allow you to walk in the door doesn’t mean they see you as worthy of being there or worth their time.  We were treated poorly due to the fact that they didn’t think we were the proper class to be shopping in their store.  I felt as though we weren’t real people as they didn’t even acknowledge we were there.  I was appalled at their behaviour and looking back, wish I had gone somewhere else where all people are treated with respect no matter the “class” they are believed to belong to.

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2 thoughts on “Writing the Self #4 – I guess we aren’t People

  1. Hi Amber. I really enjoyed reading your post and you used such good descriptive words that it felt like I was with you in the store. I think it’s so true that depending on how you dress can influence how people perceive and interact with you. However, it’s really surprising to hear about this situation when looking for a bed. I for sure wouldn’t consider dressing nice would be a requirement to get good customer service. Maybe it’s possible that they have had situations where people who dressed down we more often in the lower class and they just based you and Jordan off of their previous experiences. I know I often got felt sorry for when people found out I went to a community high school, even though I was not part of the lower class that needed to go to that school for social economic reasons. But this is definitely a normative narrative about class that people from low class can’t afford to dress nice or be able to afford nice items or need a lengthy payment plan to be able to afford them, or even that they debit or credit card won’t be accepted. -Stephanie

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    1. Thank-you for taking the time to read my blog post I’m glad you found it descriptive as I was working hard on getting that across.
      As for “good customer service” I think part of the problem is staff that are paid on commission. If they don’t think you have the bug bucks to spend they won’t spend their time to help you when they can find someone that is more likely to spend more money.

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