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Attitudes from the Editor

April 2002
Want to turn a customer off? Tell them they're wrong.... Recently my husband and I went to a local Sears outlet to buy a scratch-and-dent dryer. But right in front of the outlet was a souped-up stacker. So what if it cost more than $1,000? It would save space, save water, save money. A friend had one and loved it. I drag my husband over for a half-serious look.

Enter Charles the sales guy. "Can I help you with something today?"

"We came here looking for a dryer, but we're looking at this high-end stacker."

"Well, first let me talk you out of it." Charles, without any questions about our lifestyle or desires, proceeds to tell us what we couldn't wash with this $1,000+ stacker: no blankets, no comforters, no sleeping bags. "And if one part of it breaks you have to replace the whole thing."

So we wander non-energetically towards the rows of dryers. "Gas or Electric?" Charles asks. "Gas," I say. "Why do you want that?" he counters.

I mumble something about quicker drying, lower energy costs. "Well that's what the gas company would like you to think," Charles says, and proceeds to enumerate all of the electrical components that still have to be powered on a gas dryer.

Now Charles might be right, but I came here for a dryer, not a lecture.

He asks us how many people in our family. "Two right now," I say, "but that's about to change."

Charles congratulates us on the prospect of our first child and then adds, "I hope everything comes out all right." I should have belted him right there.

Next problem: Our basement stairway is 23 inches at its narrowest point—much narrower than the standard appliance. We're considering buying a standard sized dryer and dismantling it—as a neighbor had done successfully—but want to preserve our warranty. Charles says it can't be done.

Both my husband and I try to get Charles to talk about the various dryers on the outlet floor and what's different about each of them. After quizzing us on our understanding of Super Size and King capacities, Charles launches on a dissertation about how we can take apart our basement doorjamb and rebuild it, and how he could do it for us because he's that good with anything around the house.

At this point I have to walk away.

Janet Pinkerton

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