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In our quest to find the perfect couch, Melissa and I stopped by a furniture store just off I-35W while on our way home from Minneapolis.
When we first walked in the door, we were greeted by a lady sitting behind a desk on an elevated platform. She was dressed in black and looked like a judge in a courtroom. "Hello, welcome to our store," she said. "Feel free to look around; if there is anything you need, a sales associate will be along shortly."
Another lady off to our left shuffled through her papers, then appeared to gather her belongings. She seemed to perk up a bit as she looked our way. Melissa and I headed to the right, where a brown couch caught our attention.
The lady with her possessions in hand said, "Hello, is there anything I can help you find?"
"No, thank you, we're just looking," I replied.
She asked, "What are you looking for?"
I wanted to tell her sometimes people are just looking, now go away! But before I could say it, Melissa asked, "Is this couch available with full-length arms?" So now you've done it; you've engaged The Sales Lady.
Her name was Rosie, and she had more information about that one couch than anyone should be allowed - clearly, she intended to share it all with us. "Well," she began, "Those are tea cushions and...."
I wandered off a few feet, intending to show no interest. After a few minutes, Rosie finished her spiel. Melissa thanked her for the information, telling her we would just keep looking around.
Rosie said, "You just feel free to look around; I have some things to do, but if you have any questions," she glared my way and finished, "I won't be far behind you."
This woman, who appeared to be in her sixties, was carrying a clipboard, literature, notepads, a pencil, and a stack of business cards. What's more, she was packing a tape measure. I could tell by the black and yellow lettering on the side of the shiny chrome casing; this was a Stanley PowerLock tape measure. A sixteen-footer, to be precise. I could immediately tell she was not just a sales rep - she was a sales sniper!
I assessed the situation. She was packing a full complement of sales weaponry - I was unarmed, except for a concealed credit card or two tucked deeply inside my pocket. If I wasn't careful, Rosie would sell us something. I needed to ditch this lady, but it wouldn't be easy. Not only was she fully armed, she knew the store's layout. I had never been here before, and she knew it. I was about to become one of the hunted.
As we walked away, it seemed we lost Rosie. Then Melissa said, "I wonder if they have any of that log furniture?"
Rosie popped up from behind an ugly floral pattern high back wing chair, "Why yes, we do. It's on the landing," She said.
Melissa asked, "Where is the landing?"
NO, NO, NO! Don't talk to her, and whatever you do, don't look into her eyes!
We walked quickly to the recliner area. From behind a blooming floor lamp, with long black stems sprouting toward the ceiling, each supporting a lampshade, came a voice; "Did you have any questions yet?" Run, Melissa, run!
Another customer, sitting in a contraption that appeared to have more moving parts than a space shuttle, was making noises - at first, I didn't know if she was in pleasure or pain. "Is that a massage chair?" Melissa asked.
"Oh, yes!!" the lady moaned, "And it massages everything!" Her husband stood by, looking abandoned. I felt sorry for him. If she buys that chair, buddy, your life will never be the same! I wanted to help him, but we had no time for this; a sales warrior was hot on our trail.
Beyond the over-stuffed leather couches, I could see Rosie hiding behind a six-foot-tall plastic fern plant, watching us. We headed in the other direction, taking shelter in an oasis, a small break area for customers. Sort of a food court. There were cookies, coffee, and a fountain pop dispenser. Tables and chairs provided a place to rest. A sign read, "Please do not take food or drink into the floor display area." I grabbed a sugar cookie and poured myself a lemonade.
Behind me, I heard a noise; Click, click. Click, click. Click, click. It was Rosie, patiently sitting back, waiting for us. She was setting and releasing the tape measure's yellow lock button on and off, on and off, on and off.
It was as if we were in a protected area, and she was just waiting for us to come out. Outside the sanctuary, we would once again be fair game. Rosie remained poised, prepared to pounce. We went out from where Rosie stood to the opposite end of the break area. Once again, it seemed we had lost her.
Melissa found a hideous chair and ottoman. It was orange, green, burgundy, brown, yellow, and blue. It had symmetrical and round shapes and stuff. This is most likely why it was marked down three or four times on the red clearance sale tag.
I was on the lookout for Rosie when Melissa said, "I like it."
"You like what," I queried.
"This chair, I really like it," she said,
"You can't be serious," I said in disbelief.
"It's on sale," a voice announced out of nowhere. Just then, Rosie appeared from behind a decorative tri-fold dressing screen. I nearly screamed. "It's an excellent value, a discontinued floor model." It was time for Rosie to apply some pressure, "We only have that one left if you want it." I was prepared to tell Rosie it was discontinued because it was ugly as sin on a Sunday morning. However, I still wasn't sure if Melissa liked it or if she was kidding me.
I needed to get away from Rosie before that fabric-covered disaster ended up in the back of my Subaru. But then, I thought about the loons on the lakes in Minnesota. I had an idea:
If we were to dive below the backs of the couches, like a loon diving below the water's surface, get down on our hands and knees, and rapidly crawl six or seven couches away, we could pop up like a loon surfacing to reassess the dangers within our environment. But, unfortunately, Melissa wouldn't let me.
Instead, we made our way to the landing. Climbing the steps to where the limited selection of over-priced log furniture was displayed. I could see Rosie over the railing, still watching us above like a cat watching a bird in a tree. But Rosie didn't follow. The steps seemed to form a barrier she would not cross, like a cattle crossing in the road. So we were safe...for the moment.
We looked around the upper levels. Melissa still did not find the style couch she wanted. The coast appeared to be clear. We made our way quietly down the steps toward the front door. The pleasant lady (judge) behind the desk on the platform asked if we found everything okay and did we need a sales associate. "No, We're not from around here." I said, "We were just looking, but thank you!"
As we headed toward the front door, a shadow emerged from nowhere, transfiguring into Ninja Rosie. She jumped into our path, took one of the fifty calling cards from her clipboard, and handed it to Melissa, saying to look her up if we get back this way.
I walked more briskly toward the front door, pulling Melissa with my hand. The automatic doors closed behind us.
Cold raindrops fell on us as we ran forty feet to the car. Once inside the vehicle, with the doors closed and locked, I glanced over my shoulder to the back seat to ensure Rosie wasn't there.
I looked back toward the building. I saw Rosie standing on the other side of the tall glass doors. She watched us through the rain. I think she was saying, "You got away this time. But next time, I'll get you my little pretty...and your little dog too." I'll bet our dog June Bug, would have growled at her.
Knowing I had narrowly slipped the grip of Rosie, I started the engine and sped away, laughing, "So long, Rosie! You didn't get me, did you?"
Anyway, to make a long story short, Rosie some way got our phone number and the chair has been in our living room for several years. To this very day, whenever traveling through the twin cities, I take I-35 E, staying well clear of I-35 W.