A Year In New York

A Daily Bite of the Big Apple

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Day 15: Rudeness 101

July 11th · 2 Comments

If my transformation into a New Yorker is already underway, I thank Rebecca the Mattress Saleswoman. I have been bouncing onto an inflatable mattress for two weeks now, and today I would get some real bedding. Rebecca was the first person I met when I walked into Sleepy’s, a bed store that is as ubiquitous in Manhattan as street vendors making gyros. Rebecca had a black dress and a pale complexion and her eyelids had felt the plastic surgeon’s knife once, if not twice. As she asked me about my comfort needs, a younger sales associate wandered around the empty store, straightening signs and brushing imaginary dust off of mattresses. This was a sleepy day at Sleepy’s.

Rebecca asked me how important it is to me to have a good night’s sleep. “I need a plain, firm and inexpensive mattress,” I told her, examining her evenly across the sales desk. “I could lay myself down on a stack of two-by-fours and be asleep in couple of minutes.” She smiled, and I smiled, and as she glided me toward the cheapo mattresses in the corner of the showroom, I made up my mind to torpedo any hope of her making a buck.I reserve the same level of trust for mattress vendors as I do for telemarketers with their Mr. Ferris, can we interest you in a subscription, Mr. Ferris, but still I grinned at Rebecca, because I am a Californian and in California we are friendly to people even if we don’t quite trust them.

Within a few minutes we had found a suitable sleeping surface and were back at the desk. “Let’s fill out the invoice so we can get your new mattress to you tomorrow. Address?” Rebecca pressed.

“You know, I am going to keep looking around.”

“Sure. Let’s fill this out. You know, Sleepy’s does have a payment plan over 12 months with zero interest.”

“That’s great. I’m going to keep shopping around anyway.”

“Well I can certainly understand, if price matters more to you than having a good night’s sleep. We could waive shipping if you’re willing to sign now.”

I escaped the store with Rebecca all but chomping my leg. But the abandoned invoice she held contained my phone number.

The call came that evening, after I had gone to the 1-800-MATTRESS store around the corner and found a bed for less, with free delivery that day, from a very nice woman named Isabella who didn’t pressure me in the least. “I bought a mattress today.” I told Rebecca.

“Where did you buy it? We like to keep track of these things.”

“I bought it at another store.” I was determined to give her not a shred of useful information.

“If you come in tomorrow we could waive your shipping fee and reduce the cost of the mattress by $40,” Rebecca said, as if I had never declared my new allegiances.

“I…am…not…interested,” I said, startled to hear myself speak loudly into the phone, enunciating each word clearly, so Rebecca wouldn’t miss it, in a tone that sounded very much like sarcasm. “However, if I have any other mattress needs while I’m in New York, I will be sure to give you a call. Good bye.” I blipped the phone off, and stared at it. I had never been that mean to a bulldozing salesman before. I had brushed someone off New York style and I was….totally exhilarated.

Tags: Personalities · Sights & Scenes · Urban Survival

2 responses so far ↓

  • 1 Emma Tallberg // Jul 12, 2008 at 2:40 am

    Hi David!
    So you’re in the Big Apple, huh?!? Good to hear from you! I am well. Found a new GREAT love and is staying in Sweden for the summer. My first summer in 9 years NOT spent in Mill Valley. Feels a bit strange, I miss it. But this new man of mine is too good to leave behind for a whole summer…hehe. And knowing you are not in Bay area anymore, it makes even more sense =)

    What brought you to NY? Miss you!
    XOXO

  • 2 Jeff Green // Jul 12, 2008 at 10:11 am

    We all have in us a little New Yorker! I have really enjoyed reading about the first 15 days!

    Jeff

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