It REALLY Wasn't For Sale


(If you're not sure what I'm talking about, check out the previous post)

So they said 'no' to my sweet husband and 2 year-old.  (Really, a 2 year old??)  Aside from the fact they said no, apparently it didn't go that well. 

Dave (husband) approached a worker at the store & asked him if the bench was for sale.  He said he didn't know and directed him to the store manager-- the same guy I'd spoken with 8 months ago who said I might be able to have it if I brought money and a new bench...  Although I could tell he didn't really want me to.-  (Keep in mind this store operates for charity-purposes and all proceeds go to local Churches.) 

He went up to the manager and asked him how much the bench was and the man said "It's not for sale," and turned his back on Dave and walked away before Dave could continue.  

Of course Dave wasn't going to give up this easily after 8 months of waiting & planning,  with not even an explanation, knowing I was at home waiting like a little kid for the bench, so he slowly started following the guy with Christian in tow and waited while he talked wtih another customer.  When he caught the guy's eye again, he tried again,  "How much would you-"  and he was quickly cut off with, "It's not for sale," and the guy just turned his back on him again and walked away.  (Has it ever been your experience that you can feel the shift in a dialogue: to it not being about the issue at hand, but about a battle of wills? It comes to a point where it's about not giving in... Well, that's what it seems happened.)  I think at this point Dave gave up hope of getting the bench and was more into the fact that the guy was being rude.  (I mean really, would it hurt to have said, "I'm sorry, but it's not for sale.  We have a strange obsession with the bench here and can't part ways with it." ???)  So Dave didn't let things drop and followed the guy again.  (awkward!)  "I'd really like to buy this bench, could you tell me why it isn't for sale?"  This time the man got really mad.  "You're a grown man, the bench is not for sale," and he turned and stalked away again.   

(ok and I really  have to laugh here, although Dave wasn't laughing when he came home yesterday.)  He's really not a confrontational person,  but he followed him AGAIN.  really?  YES.  And this time the guy asked him to leave the store because the bench wasn 't for sale.  Oh boy.  And then Dave told him he'd never been treated so rudely by someone at a store, especially store that operated for Charity and that he'd be telling everyone he knew about his experience.  The guy directed him to the vice president  of the store.   

The vice president apologized for the guy's behavior and was really nice & simply explained that they couldn't sell the bench because people sat on it when they browsed for books in the store.  Dave told him the story of wanting the bench for his wife and offered money (a lot of it) and a new bench but he still said 'no,' although was nice about it.  So the bench was a no-go and Dave left.  The worst part is that I don't really feel comfortable going back there. 

Dave went in there trying to do something really sweet and was treated pretty rudely.  If the guy had been polite about it, I would have no issue here.  (It's so odd, but like I mentioned in the previous post, there's something about that bench!  Remember how I'd asked the woman if it was for sale and she sat down on it?? hahahahah)  Anyway, I LOVE thrift stores and this one is SO close to home, but that guy is always there.  Clearly he won't know it was my husband who followed him around the store asking why the bench wasn't for sale,  but I'll know it's him.  I like to LIKE the people I spend money with.  Although the place does operate for charity, so maybe I just need to think of it that way and forget about the grumpy dude.  ??  The thing is, I know he was a nice guy who had a quick switch.  I remember speaking to him 8 months ago, and feeling like I knew I couldn't push him too hard about the bench or he'd get upset and it would be a 'no.'  (Which was why I'd waited so long to go back because I didn't want to mess up my chances. ha!  Like I said, they were obsessed with the bench too.)  But anyway, it's just so odd.  He could have just politely said that it wasn't for sale (without turning immediately to walk away) and let Dave ask him why.  He could have then explained that when the store shuts down every night they dance around it holding hands singing Kumbaya...hee hee ok... I'll stop..   so that's about it! :)  I couldn't write yesterday because we left as soon as Dave got home to go search for coffee tables and didn't get home until late. 

But we GOT one!!!  For only $188!!!  (BHG said we could attampt to rent one for a percentage but not all of the stores we found would do that so we bought one insrtead.)  It's a gorgeous slightly damaged table from Restoration hardware that doesn't quite work in our space.  I'm going to have to tweak it a bit.  Dave had really good luck because the original price was $995 and this time the guy at the store actually LIKED him so he kept taking discounts off of it for various reasons until it hit $188.-- I was in the car feeding Justin and about to give up on our long search, so Dave ran into the RH outlet to see what they had & texted me pics and prices.)   I'm thrilled with it and of course it works so much better than the beloved bench and it will be so much cheaper!!  (The tufted bench needed to be reupholstered.)  We're working on the table today so it'll be Monday's Organizational Project.  (The term "organizational" is now being used fairly loosely to mean anything that needs to happen around the house that makes it better :)

xoxo,
lauren

ps-  I'm sure I will go back to the thrift store but not until I feel more comfortable (i.e. less mad at the dude) shopping there. I'm thinking of dropping off some donations??  ;) ;)

54 comments:

Visual Vamp said...

What a saga, and story of how human nature can be so off.
Maybe the sour rude guy is mentally challenged, hired by the charity to work in the thrift store.
Your husband is a darling man and a saint, and this story is a a true Valentine.
Glad you found another bench. The shoot is going to be flawless.
xo xo
PS Keep shopping at the thrift store, and bring the poor miserable grumpy guy a flower, a box of cookies, a smile...he is such a sad thing.

Catherine Hansen Peart said...

Ok, my favourite part of the whole story is imagining them dancing around the bench singing kumbaya! lol. Seriously, that is weird. Maybe it belonged to a previous (and dearly beloved of course) volunteer who passed away and that is why they have such an attachment to it. But, I would say, don't let one rude guy get in the way of possible thrift store bonanza's! Oh, and of course your donation to charity....oops, can't forget that....

Linda Merrill said...

I was thinking the same thing as Catherine - maybe it belonged to someone they cared for and it's why they are so attached to it. And, they feel uncomfortable discussing why? I'd shop there again, after all, the money goes to charity and it sounds like you've ended up with a great deal.

Kristi W @ Life at the Chateau Whitman said...

Wow, that saleman's rudeness really is surprising! I mean, I've been working at a garage sale at my grandma's house before where someone wants to buy something in the yard or inside that isn't for sale. It's not hard to politely tell them "Sorry but no" and then smile so they know it's nothing personal. You'd think a professional (also a "grown man" in his words) could be capable of that.

Dianne said...

I say kill him with kindness and don't shortchange yourself the opportunity to discover new treasures. Go back and just be oh so charming. You probably have a better piece in the end anyway. Is it yours or BHG's? I must say I loved the acrylic table in there.

The Boese Family said...

Poor thing! Glad it all ended up well. Hubby scored big points, huh? Not sure mine would go to those lengths. :) And I cracked up at the "Kumbaya" visual. Too funny!

lizziefitz said...

Wasn't meant to be. Maybe rude guy and girl did more than dance around it after closing ;0!!!

lizziefitz said...

If you ever do go back into store bring a black light LOL! Can you tell I have 3 brothers, inappropriate humor, sorry.

Dayka (Life +Style) said...

Don't boycott it because you might miss out on some great things! I was actually thinking that you're probably not the only person who's asked to buy that bench, and they just may be fed up. Imagine if someone came into the store 30 minutes before Dave and was trying to buy it, and then Dave came in behind him/her! Dave probably just got all of that dude's wrath.
A woman who works at a Goodwill I frequent tried to check me really hard a few weeks ago, and we kind of got into it (she tried to close her checkout line after I had been standing there, and then when I said, "uh, I know you're not closing this line after I've been here" she tells me that this isn't walmart and I don't need to get crazy-the nerve!!). She pissed me off, but I find so many great things there, I can't let her keep me from the piece that may make my collection. I'm sure the attitude will change when you buy a bunch of stuff.

Sorry so long!

Appletree said...

Good story. Nice husband. Weird store. Love your blog.

Amber B. said...

If it's a magical bench that comes alive at night and cleans, then I would just go up there and steal it and bring it home!! :-) What a strange story...glad you found something wonderful! Can't wait to see the magazine photos...

Isabella & Max Rooms said...

Great story, but strange. Yes...what is their attachment that they can't talk about? But what a sweet gesture by your husband, trying to get it for you! Janell

Karena said...

I just know something good will after after this. Find out what that guys hours are! he can't be there all the time!
Karena

DesertChildAZ said...

Maybe they just love the bench as much as you do (it does seem to be a very special bench) and are tired of people asking to buy it when they have no intention of selling it. That bench has special powers!!!! I'd love ot know what they are!

Lauryn said...

That is so bizarre that they were so uptight about it. I think there is always some employee like that at the charity shops I frequent. I'm usually an extremely polite and non confrontational person but every now and again someone I encounter is just surprisingly rude, think they need to consider a new career path. On the other hand a few shops have such exceptionally nice people too I keep going back and just avoid the cranky ones. Glad it worked out for you in the end!

Linda at Lime in the Coconut! said...

Yep...seems they have been asked this question before...probably MANY times. Might behoove them to put a dayum sign on the bench...

...which I am convinced is holding tons of loot or stash in the crumbling upholstery. Just sayin'.

Living It At Home said...

So sorry for your loss! I am sure it is like grieving...it will stay with you, but hopefully you will move on from that sour experience! I think the world works in mysterious ways. It probably would have been a bad vibe to bring that spooky bench into your beautiful, sweet home. You are better off! I can't wait to see what you do to the discounted coffee table...I know it will be great!
~jamilyn

Acanthus and Acorn said...

Yeah, there must be some kind of story that goes with it. Do go back for the finds and peace of knowing it's all for the greater good. But perhaps wait till St.Partick's Day and dress up like a leprechaun and then do your Kumbaya dance! And, oh can I come???!!!

Peggy and Fritz said...

I love what the first person posted - I personally tend to the be the one not to go back because of the service I received - why because I'm in sales and customer service is 100% of what I do - so I have zero tolerance for rude or terrible service. However, I do like the killing them with kindness especially when he's grumpy. If you want the bench that bad - trust me with a lot of good positive energy flowing and a good friend from above (especially is this is for charity) sooner or later it will be yours. I would have played the charity card - oh, but just think what the charity can do with the money from the bench :)

monkeygrasshill said...

Sorry you didn't get the bench. This is some magical bench, it's sucking us all in! I was riveted by this story, the first thing I did this morning was check your blog to see if you got it. Now, I feel compelled to visit this thrift store --Any chance you'll divulge the location?....

2 Hounds Design said...

LOL,

Visual Vamps comment "Maybe the sour rude guy is mentally challenged, hired by the charity to work in the thrift store." and suggestions to take him a box of cookies made me think of Forest Gump...perhaps a box of chocolates will melt his heart...?

And it's Valentine's Day. Perhaps over the chocolates, sitting on the bench, you could learn the true affinity they have to the bench. Then if for any reason they do decide to sell it...they will call you to ensure it goes to a home where it will be loved as much as them.

That's what I'd do.

If that didn't work, go straight to the top: find the church that runs the place and explain the experiences. I see I'm having a hard time letting go now...I understand your frustration & obsession!

bluehydrangea said...

I am so sorry you didn't get that bench but really..did the guy have to be so rude???!!! What's up? Whatever happened to the customer comes first? One thing I try to drill into my kids is to ALWAYS be nice. That is not asking too much!!

simply seleta said...

That guy was a total tool.

I completely agree with you on all points. And understand your feelings about the bench. What makes some people so anti-social and just plain weird?

Kathysue said...

Wow! Lauren, I am so sorry you did not get the bench but that is because the table at RH was out there waiting for you to take it home. It is so sad that people have to be mean. Mean people are beyond handling . Nice people just don't quite know how to handle people like that. You and Dave are in the nice category. It sounds as if it got to be a little territorial on the story-guys part. Enjoy the day with your sweetie! I can not wait to see the table. I am sure it is amazing!! Kathysue

Low Tide High Style said...

Unfortunately there are rude people everywhere, and I'm sorry your husband had to confront the man at the thrift store, that's never fun!

But it all worked out in the end, and I'm betting your new RH table will be twice as nice in the long run. Maybe those people at the charity thrift store know something you don't, maybe they know that that bench is like the legendary Hope diamond, and it's somehow cursed. Maybe the owner's great aunt once owned it and said, if you ever sell or giveaway this bench to anyone bad things will happen to the new owners and they just didn't want such a nice family as yours to get that cursed bench! ;-)

That's what I would tell myself, and then I'd go back in there and let go of that cursed bench, and shop for charity just the same!

Kat :)

Tracy @ Comfort and Luxury said...

So sorry your poor husband had to suffer such an ordeal just to come home empty-handed. And I do think you should still shop there. Just never together!
Did it occur to you that maybe you dodged a bullet? That bench could be haunted or cursed. It seems to affect people's moods and attitudes, turning otherwise decent folks (they work at a charity thrift store, they're probably nice people) into obsessive, rude, compulsive grouches. If their attachment was sentimental, wouldn't it be fairly easy to say so? But no. The bench channels its angry "I'm not going anywhere!" mood into theirs when its security is challenged! Think about it ;)

nameisgrace said...

wow, that is crazy! this bench must have some special powers or something. haha. hope you and your family have a wonderful valentines day!!!

Room Service ~ Decorating 101 said...

Thanks Lauren for your sweet note. Hey, If I win that poster on srt, I am going to send it to you...lol it just looks like you to me. Soon as I saw it, I thought Lauren!

Room Service ~ Decorating 101 said...

Forgot to say, that I can't wait to see your new coffee table, it always works out in the end...

mimi said...

I have a funny story about a bench. When I sold my last house, we had a giant yard sale but set aside a bench for the new owner who had purchased it from us. Well, of course, my husband not knowing this, victoriously told me he had sold it at the yard sale!! We knew who had bought it and had to track him down and buy it back for the new owner. And it wasn't even a very nice bench!

Nancy @ Live love laugh said...

Such a funny and not-so funny story! I am glad for you that it worked out in the end!
~Nancy

elisabeth (bovagoods) said...

maybe the cushion is all torn up because that is where they hide their stash??? maybe the dude is a drug lord posing as a charity worker. this could make for an incredible book, don't you think?

next time you get the nerve to go in you HAVE to take a picture of the bench (maybe with your phone?) and post it for us all to see!!!

i would definitely keep trying and show up with another bench for them as a replacement. how could they turn it down???

Susie @ Maddie's Nest said...

Go back, kill the guy with kindness. It is the best revenge. Glad you found another alternative...I am sure it will look great!

Caroline said...

Thanks for sharing this story. That's one of the things I like about your blog -- not only your lovely decorating skills -- but your willingness to share real-life stories that aren't always so lovely but to which we can all definitely relate. Glad you found the RH table. I was really hoping you'd get the bench since I know how much you wanted it, but everything happens for a reason, right?

Tammy@InStitches said...

Oh no, what a meanie ! I'm glad you found another table that you like.

Kerry said...

ooh too sad about the bench...I still reminisce (mourn seems too strong a word!) over things I missed out on or just let slip by myself (no excuse for that one). As a friend of mine so gorgeously calls it..just take the FLORAL high ground...life smells so much nicer there!! And the thrift shops need people like you who can support them and then do amazing things with what you find. Good luck with the new coffee table.

Lisa said...

Go to the store. He won't remember you and my guess is that he won't be working there much longer. Your husband is probably not the first person he's been rude to.
And it has a happy ending! Good for you. Love your blog. Thanks for sharing!

MyLittleHappyPlace said...

WHAT a drag! I'm soooo one of those people who want to know the WHY of something, so I'm dying to know what's their deal with THAT particular bench! I mean, seriously, wouldn't a replacement bench have been welcome, from a group who supposedly is open to support church ministries? Strange, just strange.
Glad about the RH coffee table snag, though! Simply cannot wait to see the BH&G spread!

JacciM said...

Crazy - but I was thinking - maybe it used to belong to the person that founded the store and that person has died. Maybe it's the last thing they have in the store to remember that person by. OR maybe it was like a good luck charm to some of them or something - but they know it would sound crazy if they said, "No, we can't sell it because if we do the curse will come and the store will go belly up!" :) Just my thoughts. Either it's a REALLY sentimental piece or some weird superstition.

Sorry you didn't get it, but glad you found something else!

~Jacci

angela | the painted house said...

Bizarre!!! But what a good story. :)

Mrs. P said...

that was hilarious! i don't understand how rude people can be.

glad you found another bench!

chair up said...

I would love to get Christians "take" on this story and then turn it into a children's book with a great moral. I can already imagine what the grumpy guy would look like in the illustration.
Next, I would be praying grumpy guy out of the store (and into another job, otherwise that would just be mean on my part) so I could resume my treasure hunting. I've done this many times and you'd be suprised....
Angex

Windlost said...

Lauren, sorry to hear of Dave's bad experience and that you didn't get your table. Sometimes life just sucks a little. But glad you got a deal on a new one - can't wait to see it! xo Terri

Annie said...

Am I the only one thinking that I would love to go to this charity store and try to buy the bench from this guy just to keep this story going?!?!!? Love your blog, Lauren! Best of luck on your photo shoot!

Jeannine @ Small and Chic said...

I'm with Annie. Tell us what store this is so all of the DC/VA/MD blogging community can pay them a visit and ask about the bench. :)

Seriously, as a letter writer, I'd write to whatever organization runs the thrift store and let them know about the publicity that missed out on because that bench was going to appear in a magazine with significant circulation.

They lost out on some significant exposure.

I agree with you. I support stores owned by people I like. There is one store in my town that I won't frequent or mention on my blog because I found them difficult and unhelpful. It's the only US location for this company and they have nice things, but there are plenty of other options, even in this small city.

Maria Killam said...

I like to LIKE the people I spend money with. Love that line, I am exactly the same way. . . loved this story lauren, I was totally riveted until the end and I'm glad it was a happy ending xoxo Maria

Anita said...

I think you should take the high road and forget the bench. Just wasn't meant to be. I've had things in my store that weren't for sale- maybe display or whatever and it could get old, the asking, even with signs on the items that said not for sale. So try to think about it from his perspective. How many other people could ask him daily, weekly, monthly about the bench?


And, if he was mentally disabled, there is always the idea that they think no really means no....and not a lot of debate happens there.

On to bigger and better things!

House Hunting in Paris said...

It's really interesting how sometimes the charity-oriented thrift stores have sales people that are snottier than exclusive designer boutiques...there is one in my hometown that reserves the "good stuff" in a secret back room for "exclusive customers" - and whether or not I am deemed worthy depends only on who is helping me! I have to admit that even the snotty salespeople don't keep me away because the place is truly a treasure trove...when I'm deemed worthy.
Thrift stores are one thing I really miss in Paris but the auctions and brocantes (though not with this weather!) help fill that void.
Good luck with your bench, can't wait to see the after photos!

tarheel said...

your husband's sweet- perfect Valentine's gift. I'd feel the same way about the store, but since the proceeds go to charity {and it's so close to your house!!}, you'll probably get over it once you're over being mad!

DesertChildAZ said...

I think that if you do go back to the store (or if someone you know does..wink), that it would be great to approach the owner and preface it by saying that you do NOT want to buy the bench, but you have been admiring it for a long time and are curious to know if there is some history or story behind it. Maybe you will find the answers to the mysteries of this bench!


http://desertchildaz.blogspot.com

LindsB said...

I'm really late on this post- but #1 the bench people suck- I mean why so rude man? I'm with you, I like to LIKE the people I spend my money with too :)

And #2 I could cry that Dave went into the store for you and texted prices and pics so you could see them while you sat in the car with the kids- SUCH an awesome husband!

Tara said...

I don't mind spending money where the people are rude, after all I am buying the stuff for myself and usually because I LOVVE what I am buying. I drive on the streets with rude people, I eat food processed by rude people, and I think I'm probably rude myself sometimes. But the bench sounds cool, and who knows, maybe they will get new owners and the bench can then find a new home over at your place.

Tasha Roe said...

just found your blog and i have to say that my sister and i have had terrible experiences with rude workers at thrift stores many times. so unfortunate. my immediate reaction is to flee the store and tell everyone how much i hate it and how rude they are. my sister takes a different approach - stay and make them feel uncomfortable. hold your head up and and don't let them get you down. She even smiles and says "hi" gotta love it! ;)

Erin said...

Lauren, I was at the local St. Vincent's thrift today and saw a woman ask the clerk about buying a cute white table. The clerk said she would have to check because they use the table. I looked at the customer and asked, "Do you read home decorating blogs?" She replied that she did and I asked her if she reads Pure Style Home. She does and we were laughing because her situation was like yours with the bench. However, her story ended on a positive note. The clerk sold her the table for $5. A DEAL!!! Also a small world...Love your blog, by the way! ~Erin