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Wow, This Sale Is In Tents!

, , , , , | Right | February 11, 2021

I am working as a store manager for a national mattress retailer. It is mid-summer and we are having a “Tent Sale,” in reference to sidewalk and parking lot sales that take place UNDER tents. This is exclusively a mattress store; ‘mattress’ is IN the company name.

A young woman from a nearby restaurant, probably in her mid- to late teens, comes in, I am guessing on her break.

Me: “Welcome in! What can I do for you?”

Guest: “Well, I have a friend going camping soon, and I just thought I would stop in to look for her.”

While not common, I have had people coming in to look for camping pads before, so this doesn’t strike me as terribly odd. Still, I don’t like to presume until a guest has said what they want.

Me: “All right, I’d be more than happy to help you out! My name is [My Name], and what are we looking for?”

Guest: *Looking around* “Well… I was wondering what kind of tents you have?”

Me: “E-excuse me? Tents?”

Guest: “Yes, your signs say you’re having a tent sale.”

Me: “Oh! I apologize for the confusion, but that’s just the name of the sale. We don’t sell any tents, just mattresses.”

I motion to the sales floor of virtually nothing but sixty-plus mattresses on display.

Guest: “That is really misleading. That’s false advertising.”

I can only describe her tone as deeply offended, as if I have personally disrespected her ancestors.

Me: “Again, I really am sorry, but it’s in reference to sidewalk sales, not the actual sale of tents. We only sell mattresses and mattress accessories.”

The guest starts walking out, somehow even more offended than before.

Guest: “You need to change your sign! It’s really misleading!”

Me: *Thinking* “Yes, I, a lowly store manager, will be sure to have corporate rebrand the entire sale for all of our 3,000 stores across the nation.”

It is worth noting that this “misleading sign” showed a circus-style tent, not a camping one. Nowhere else does it mention a tent. This has not been the only occurrence of this, however; a coworker at another store had a similar experience where a guest started trying to barter for the canopy that corporate provided. I am happy to no longer be in a customer-facing job.

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