|Posted on August 25, 2010 at 6:25 PM|
Seriously. Did someone declare today the day to come in and randomly start talking about your life? Sheesh! Today has been one filled with people coming into the store to just…talk. Now, I get it. You want to build a relationship, and I’m down with a little jibber-jabber so I can get you all loosened up. I don’t expect you to just waltz in here, all shiny and new and let me immediately have a grope-and-feel on your wallet and then get all up in your checkbook’s biznass, but there comes a point when, well, are we just talkin’ here or are we gonna make some beautiful business together? Because, this here showroom, this is me working. I might be surrounded by TVs and movies playing and an iPad (oh, iPad....you're everything I knew you could be!) but I don't come in here because I love it. (Believe me when I say that.) I come in here to work. OK, and to blog, but now you're just trying to get me off topic.
First guy walks in. He's a long time customer. Called up yesterday to make sure I’d be here. Says he's got something he wants to run by me. (Me, nervously, uhh, OK...) So he comes by. And, low and behold, I’m here. So he starts by asking me why I sold him DLP TV years ago and why DLP isn’t around anymore. I explain that when he bought his TV, it was a lot more cost effective to go DLP. Like when I bought my DLP TV (oh, Samsung, we had some good times, right?) and it was an EASY decision to choose a $4,000 61-inch DLP model over a $20,000 60-inch Plasma model. Well, he’s ready for something bigger. So we start discussing technology options and viewing habits. We settle in on a Plasma. (After, the wow, I can't believe we're still talking about this burn-in discussion.) And I say, “Great! Let me work up a proposal and I’ll get back to you later on today.” And in my mind, this interaction has now reached maturity, been consummated, had a smoke and a cuddle, left the money on the dresser and is ready to move on with its life. But not Mr. Talky Talk. He wants to start talking about the golf course where he is a member. OK. I used to be in the golf biz. I ain't no Houdini; I can roll with this punch. So we chat about that for a bit. Then how it has been bought by a new owner. And the new owner’s ten year plan for the course. TEN FRICKIN’ YEAR PLAN! And the changes he's made and is planning. And Holy Jesus, are you still talking?! So, he stops for a breath and I work in, “Well, let me get back to work so I can jump on that proposal…” except Chattersworth is just getting warmed up. Now he has moved on to his wife going back to work, and he went and visited her and the golf course he played down there and he then starts to seriously give me a stroke-by-stroke account of a round of golf he played down there. I start looking at my watch. And I wear a Rolex Submariner, and folding your arm over to look at that watch is about as subtle as just turning around and walking away. So, we finally come to the end of his round, which took only slightly less time to recall than the 5 ½ hours he said it took to play, and I again work in that, well, here I am…at work…so…well…bye! But here starts talking about the Ryder Cup and Captain’s Selections and on and on. Seriously, I think I dozed off for a minute.
So at some point he left, or I just floated out of my body all coma-style and when I came back he was gone and then another OLD couple comes in. And this guy’s wife is short. Like Lord of the Rings, low-in-the-4-foot-short short. And she’s got a cane. If she were a tad more hunched over and green, she could totally be Yoda. So they want audio in their new home. Except that Lady Yoda is totally describing an intercom system. “I want it in the wall. All of it. Radio, CD, the controls. In the wall!” So I explain that that what she is describing is, in fact, an intercom system. “No. I don’t want intercom.” “Well, what you’re describing is an intercom system. And I’d rather build you a music system.” “I don’t want music. I want talk radio.” That was her actual quote. And yes, it did stop me for a second. “OK. You want something that makes noise -- music, talk, the weather channel -- throughout your house, with speakers in the ceiling. But the only thing that comes with in-wall mounted controls is an intercom system.” “But we don’t use intercom.” This goes on "Who’s on first?" style for a bit until we finally reach a kind of detente. Like the 12th day of the Cuban missile crisis. Then she goes and sits in a chair. Which in my experience is never a sign that things are winding down. So after I figure up what I think a 6 room audio -- I swayed her to the Light Side -- system will cost, she asks if I will just sell her the boxes. "Just sell you the boxes? Like not install it?" Yes. Just like that. So her son can install it all. Sure. You want me to hand you a bunch of boxes so your son can install it, no problem. In fact, Master Jedi, I'll carry them out to your car with a smile on my face. Then she wants to tell me about her son. How he's the real genius in the family with this stuff and how I should be talking to him. And, oh, the stereo system he has. Speakers everywhere. He sounds like a real Tom Holman. (I'm sorry TH....he didn't sound anything like you. But, you know, the whole 10.2 thing... ) And then I somehow made the mistake of asking about her cable provider. I'm honestly not sure how I stepped on that punji stick, bit all of a sudden here we were, discussing how her new community’s Home Owner’s Association signed a contract with a phone/TV/Internet provider that she doesn’t like and Oy vey!
So they leave and another family comes in. Except, they don’t act much like a family. The teenage kid and mom immediately go and sit in chairs in the middle of our store. Chairs that stare off into…nothing. In an electronics store where you have the choice of a 100-inch, 65-inch, 52-inch and 46-inch sets that are ALL on, they opt to sit and look at...a blank wall. (Side not: Red flag here when your teenage son walks into an A/V store and shows no interest. I’m not saying he’s necessarily going to definitely marry another dude, but, well, this is not typical male behavior.) But after a moment with Papa-san, it turns out they are probably totally normal adjusted people who are just super embarrassed of the dad. Who wants to walk around bragging about his system. “Yeah, I’ve got like every DVD-Audio ever made." Is that like even a brag? That's like talking about my Beta collection...which is AWESOME! "And Laser discs. Yeah, I’ve got like the best player they ever made.” Seriously, I don’t know what it is about this industry that makes people want to stride into our store and perform the technological equivalent of whipping out their junk and a tape measure, but it happens ALL the time. Dude! I don’t CARE what you have! Do…not…care! I’m happy for you and all, but if you didn’t buy it from me and -- more importantly -- aren’t going to buy something from me, I don’t need to hear how great you think your stuff is. And, spoiler alert, it’s not that great! Compared to what I’ve seen and heard – and what’s in our showroom – your system is fair. (And if you say Bose 901, you lose a testicle… ) Now if in passing you want to mention your system because it is germane to what we’re talking about – for a PERFECT example on this, read my Meridian CD blog; that guy rocked the germane system work in -- or that our relationship has veered into the rarified waters of me actually caring about you – Note: these are waters that take a LONG time to cultivate, so, well, you’re probably not sailing in them – then just keepy the mouth shutty. In the end, turns out the guy is from like 3 states away, just wanted to come in and look around and give his family a break from him and tell me about “his guy” up north doesn’t have a showroom, because no one can afford a showroom anymore in this economy – “Well, except for you guys, I guess” – but he’s been with his guy for like 35 years and blah, blah! Enough! Sir, now is the time in the conversation when you have to suckle on my ZIPPLE!