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I played chicken with Gerard* from the Crate and Barrel…

The game began on December 26th. Hubby #1 and I were invited to our very good friends’ engagement party that evening. Unfortunately, with all the insanity leading up to Christmas, I had overlooked getting a gift for the honored couple. So, bright and early, and not quite recovered from all the wonders of Christmas Day, the whole family bundled up and headed to The Grove. We were early enough that the post-Christmas shopping frenzy hadn’t really begun. First stop (well, only stop): Crate and Barrel, where our friends had registered. We had called ahead and placed their desired cake plate on hold. This could become a world speed record for gift buying. Then, I ruined it. I was like the runner in the relay race who drops the baton.

“We should look at dining room tables while we’re here,” I suggested.
Hubby #1 had a sense that we should flee before the crowds came in, but he gave in. We were already there, after all.
We took the escalator to the second floor. The baton officially hit the ground.

We walked around looking at all the tables – too big, too small, too round, too square. No luck. Then, I saw the Morris table, shoved in the corner of “AS IS” furniture. It was a little too skinny and a little too light, but we’d been looking for a table for a long time and the Morris table was the closest we’d come to agreeing on something.

“Let me know if I can help you,” Gerard* approached us.

Gerard was a small man in neatly pressed, pleated khakis and mid-nineties Cole Haan loafers. He wore small, round tortoise frame glasses. I quickly felt the salesperson – customer bond happen.

“We’re interested in this table,” I told Gerard. Gerard confirmed that it was a great table. “But this one is scratched,” I said. He explained that it was (as the sign explained) “AS IS.” “Can we get a new one?” I asked.

Gerard scurried off to his computer and quickly returned with the ominous word. There were only four new Morris tables left in the entire country.

I gasped. “Four?!?”
“That’s right. If you think you want one, you should buy it now. They won’t last through today. It’s going to be a very busy shopping day,” Gerard explained knowingly.

He told us that we could buy the table (and six matching chairs, of course) and then take our time to think about it. The process was easy. They would be ours, safely stored in a Crate and Barrel warehouse until we were ready to take delivery. Or we could cancel the whole order over the phone. It sounded perfect. With only four left in the whole country, I couldn’t risk that the next day I would realize that the too skinny and too light Morris table was the table of my dreams only to have it gone forever.

We quickly paid Gerard and left the Crate and Barrel with a color print-out picturing our table and chairs. (Side note: buying a table and six chairs is enough to get you free parking at The Grove.)

In the weeks that followed, we showed everyone who came to the house the picture. Pretty much everybody seemed to like the set well enough. I was ready to pull the trigger. True, I hate making decisions, but I also LOVE new things. Hubby #1 is less swayed by the excitement of brand spanking new stuff, so we held off.

Then the phone calls started. The first one came when I was home, but I saw Crate and Barrel on the caller ID and didn’t answer. I believe in avoiding confrontation whenever possible and I didn’t have an answer for Gerard about whether we wanted the table or not. He left a message asking me to call him. I didn’t call him back. A week or so later, another message was left, again asking for a return call. Again, I ignored Gerard’s request. Around this time, we started leaning away from the Morris table – it really wasn’t quite right. Then, a note came in the mail. It was handwritten on lovely, fold-over Crate and Barrel stationery. It said:

Dear Kirsten,
Could you please give me a call to set up delivery for your table and chairs. I do not want anything to happen to them.
Thanks, Gerard

Was Gerard now threatening my table? What would be the next step? Was I going to find a chair leg in my bed?!? Gerard was upping the stakes, but I held my wimpy ground – our game of chicken continued. I still wasn’t ready to make a final and permanent decision.

Gerard wasn’t flinching. Two weeks later, on a Saturday, the phone rang and the caller ID said Crate and Barrel. I didn’t answer. Instead, I stood next to the answering machine wondering what threats Gerard was going to hurl. It wasn’t Gerard though… it was an automated message confirming delivery of our table and chairs for Tuesday between 11am and 2pm!

This had gone too far. It was time for me to take a stand. So, I made Hubby #1 call Crate and Barrel and cancel the order. (Making someone else handle the confrontation still counts as taking a stand.) Our money was refunded and the table was gone, which I’m okay with because it really was too skinny and too light.

Bawk-bawk, Gerard. I win!

*names have been changed to protect the innocent – or guilty.

One Response to “I played chicken with Gerard* from the Crate and Barrel…”

  1. BedoSeenlet says:

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    don’t give up and also keep penning for the simple reason that it just simply good worth to look through it.
    excited to looked over much of your article content, have a great day :)

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