Buying a Bed

Some advice for Bed Salespeople (and others).

Bea needed a new bed, and so, with our suitcases barely unpacked from holiday, off we set. We went to the large shops spread along the Purley Way near Croydon, because many years ago, whenever we wanted to buy furniture, it was always worth braving the confusing dual-carriageway packed with cars, to visit a range of large, out-of-town stores. However, rather shockingly, the super-busy road, and the overly-full car parks had sort of disappeared. Instead of joining throngs of people, we were sometimes the only customers in the shops, and the car parks were empty. Where were all the shoppers? Has retail in the UK really deteriorated to such an extent so quickly? Or did we simply visit on an unusually quiet Saturday? I don’t know, but it was a little worrying (and I shan’t be buying shares in any retail businesses).

However, what I really want to tell you, is about the range of salespeople that we met (in the nearly empty shops). Some were so much better at selling than others, and I found this to be a good learning experience—so if you ever sell anything (such as books) take note!

We visited one shop and began to wander around, looking at furniture in general. Bea spotted that some of the furniture had chips, or was broken. The furniture was pretty, but the quality was fairly awful (and not particularly cheap). We were never approached by any salespeople, and we left pretty quickly. If you want to make a sale, it’s a good idea to approach potential customers before they leave!

The next shop we went into had a good range of furniture, and we were offered help (which we didn’t, at that stage, want). We tried a few beds, and discovered that beds vary a lot in softness, and some are like sleeping on marzipan and others are so hard, you may as well sleep on the floor and save the money. There were mattresses so thick that they doubled the height of the bed, and others which looked more like a thick duvet. You could buy two slim mattresses, and zip them together to make a double, which would suit the couple when one likes marzipan and the other prefers floor. Bea was very decided on her views of sleigh beds and wooden headboards and cushioned headboards. I found some lovely bunk-beds, reminding me of when she was little, but she was not even slightly interested in those. We then needed some help, and a salesperson came, but she looked cross. I felt that she thought we were wasting her time, and that really the answers to our questions were very simple, and we should have done more homework. I didn’t like her at all. Customers like to be smiled at, even if you think they are annoying! We left.

Another shop had very good quality furniture, and we saw several items that we might like to buy. We were very quickly accosted by a salesperson, who asked if we needed any help. We said no, thank you, we are just looking at the moment. However, salesperson was very persistent. She gave us information about the sale items, which was useful but long (and we are quite good at reading, so would have probably found the information eventually) but at least she was trying. She then asked what we were looking at, and proceeded to show us what was in stock. Which stopped us browsing other items (and we were interested in several things). Salesperson left, and we attempted a conversation about size of rooms and space and design. Salesperson returned, and joined in the conversation (despite not knowing the size of our rooms!) and then took us to see another piece of furniture. It was too difficult to make a decision, we felt rushed, and so—even though there were items we liked—we left. Sometimes customers need a little time and space to think! If they are looking at something (or reading a few paragraphs of a book) leave them alone.

Our final shop also had a range of furniture, and we were again approached by a salesperson soon after entering the shop. However, when we said we were just looking, he moved away, and hovered nearby, pretending to adjust display cushions. When we had a question, he was on hand to answer, and he knew the answer and spoke with authority, so we trusted him. He suggested a few items, and then again left us to discuss them. We liked the products, and he gave us the help we needed so we bought something.

There were a few fun aspects of buying a bed. Like the woman who we saw lying on a bed, with a pull-along suitcase next to her. I wondered if she had moved in, she certainly looked very comfortable. So did the chubby Chinese boy, who was asleep on one bed with his mother telling him to wake up, it was time to leave! There was also a coffee shop, and so we stopped for a quick cake and coffee, which is a lovely thing to do when you’re out with your daughter, and so much more fun than shopping. But we did buy a bed too, so it was a successful trip I feel.

Thank you for reading. I hope you have a successful day too. Take care.
Love, Anne x

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