Being Tony, Chapter 11, Part 5

My job was all about talking to people, and I was an excellent salesman. When someone came into the store, I could sum them in just a few minutes and know the best way to deal with them. Most people didn’t really know what they needed and were often intimidated by the vast selection we had in the showroom. To break the ice, I’d say, “well, tell me about the bed you have now.” Everyone could talk about what they liked and disliked about their bed, and that got them thinking about what they would ideally be looking for.

The men were the most difficult, and if you asked one to try a bed, they would look embarrassed, stretch out for 2 seconds and then jump off. I would say how I had the best job in the world because I could lay down whenever I wanted to. I’d then rub my back and say how it hurt from an old rugby injury, and then stretch out on one of the most expensive beds and say how much better it felt. Most people were happy to talk about their aches and pains, and that was the perfect introduction to the latest in bed technology.

Sometimes people would worry about the price, but I came up with a great one-liner for them. I would say I believed one should always pay as much as you could for your shoes and your bed because if you weren’t in one, you were in the other. This almost always brought a smile, and with that, we were on to looking at what they could really afford, which was frequently higher than they came in wanting to spend.

Almost a year after I joined the company the store manager retired, I applied for the vacancy and got the job. There were two deputies, David and Keith, and at least one of the 3 of us were always on duty when the store was open. We also had 3 full-time sales staff, Dorothy, Peggy and Joe, and some part-time staff we called on in any busy times.

My schedule varied week to week, but as Manager, I was basically my own boss, and I loved the feeling of being somebody again. One of the things I appreciated about my job was having a small group of people that I worked with and got to know really well. I made sure we got to together as a team as often as possible to get to know each other outside of the work environment, and we all got along famously.

David was a keen car man, and so we had an immediate connection. Keith was into the local Armature Dramatics scene, which was not something I’d even thought of a lot, but it sounded interesting, particularly after a few pints. Dorothy’ husband had died in an accident a few years before, leaving her to bring up their 2 children alone, and my heart went out to her. Joe was the youngest of my team in his mid-twenties, and he’d been at the store ever since leaving school. He followed the local football and speedway teams and seemed to be one of those people who just liked his home territory.

Peggy was so much like a female version of me that it was scary at times, we laughed at the same things and had the same views on many issues. One evening I’d taken everyone out for an end of month celebration, and Peggy and I were the only ones left in the pub as they were talking about closing up. I got us both one last drink, and we got to talking about our romantic histories. Both of us had been let down and had let people down, and somehow we came to an unspoken agreement that we would remain friends only – close friends, but never anything more.

Peggy was also one of my best sales staff. I would watch her when she was working, and wonder at how she managed to put everyone at their ease, even the uptight men and know-it-all women. Everyone felt that there was some personal chemistry between them. The men somehow felt that they stood a chance with her, and the women that she was a confidante after only a few words.

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About Derek Knight

Transplanted Brit, now in the US Mid West | Writer, blogger & author | passionate about life | Traveler and home body | amazon.com/author/derekknight | http://derekknight007.wordpress.com/ | https://twitter.com/DerekKnight1 | https://www.facebook.com/Derek.Knight.Author
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