Sam and I took a trip to Tuscaloosa's new Ashley Furniture store one Friday a couple weeks ago. I was simply looking for a mattress and box spring, not a full suite of furniture, but I figured it wouldn't hurt to look. Also, I'd never been in an Ashley Furniture before.
Upon entering the store, I was surprised to find out that the salespeople wait by the front door and attach themselves to you. They also refer to themselves as your "shopping assistant", or at least ours did. I hate that. It makes me feel crowded and rushed and pressured into buying something, and to me it seems slightly insulting. I've been shopping since I was four, and I'm actually pretty good at it. If I need help, I'll ask for it. Our "shopping assistant" was also obnoxiously cheerful.
"Hi, welcome to Ashley Furniture! I'm Nicole, I'll be your shopping assistant today! What are you guys looking for? *SMILE*"
"Uh, hi Nicole. Just looking for a bed." At this point I attempted to escape by putting Sam between me and her and then beelining off in the opposite direction -- curio cabinets, maybe -- but no such luck. Nicole jumped out and took the lead.
"Our bedroom sets are right over here, and we've got some more that way and that way! We can just work our way around! *SMILE*"
We reached the first bedroom mock-up, I started examining the bed, and that was when things got weird. "What kind of bed are you looking for? And I just have to tell you, I =love= your hair! It's so pretty!*SMILE* *PAUSE* I should just cut it all off! I could make a =beautiful= weave out of it!*SMILE*"
"-- uh, thanks. I'm just looking for a queen-sized bed, nothing fancy."
"Well, lets head over here! There's a queen-size all set up!*SMILE*"
We went and looked at a couple more beds and then wandered over to chairs, with every new piece of furniture we examined accompanied by Nicole's aggressively cheerful descriptions of the prices and features and what a LOVELY weave she could build out of my hair. I started obviously paying too much attention to the padded leather frame of one bed (which was actually quite nice) and I looked up and suddenly she was gone.
I panicked and checked my six. No Nicole. I glanced around desperately, trying to spot her. No luck, but I saw Sam and rushed over to him. I checked around to make sure none of her co-workers were close, and leaned in and whispered, "Where'd she go?"
He pointed towards the back of the store. "Over that way. She said she was going to check on some of her other customers. Why are you whispering?"
I looked back where he was pointing, but I still didn't see her. "Bullshit," I whispered as I ducked behind a potted plant. "She's gone to find a boxcutter so she can scalp my ass. Let's go."
"Are you serious?"
"Look, I'm leaving. You can stay if you want. But when she comes back and I'm gone, you better hope she doesn't realize she can use your hair if she kidnaps you so she can grow it out."
I walked away as comprehension dawned in his eyes, and he was right behind me when I hit the door.
Thus is the tale of my first and last time in an Ashley Furniture store.