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Don't Be A Mannequin Shopper

My wife and I recently remodeled our basement and as the project neared completion, we began searching for the perfect couch for our new home theater area.  Our criteria wasn’t absurd.  We were hoping for a sectional, but not leather, because my wife hates leather couches.  This sectional needed to be especially deep so we could sink back into it and achieve that ultimate level of coziness. Reclining was a necessity, but electronic reclining wasn’t.  Space for eight or nine people would be ideal.  We also needed it to fit our decor, which put us in a taupe-ish neutral color because we decorated our new basement living space with warm golden tones and dark chocolate accent walls. So, one sunny, Spring Saturday afternoon, we headed out with anticipation of visiting five different furniture stores in search of that one special piece.  You heard me right...five.  

I’m not exactly sure what either of us were expecting.  We never really purchased furniture in the past. I mean, this was our first home and many of the pieces that made up our main living areas were hand-me-downs and pieces that we picked up over the years.  None of them were deliberate accents to new rooms that we created.  So, when it came time to buy our new piece of furniture, we just assumed this was how we were planning to do it - go place to place and eventually something has to jump out at us, right?  Wrong.  

We weren’t in the first place long.  We walked in and we were greeted promptly by a salesperson who kindly directed us to the sectional area.  Once in the sectional area, my wife spun around in a circle eyeing everything in the immediate area before blurting, “Okay, let’s go.  I don’t see anything here”.  I couldn’t believe it.  We had been in the store a mere two minutes.  How could she have possibly entertained every sectional option under the roof of this furniture store?  Regardless, she’s the boss, and with that, we exited the store and proceeded to the next furniture store on our list.

Friends, you’re not going to believe this but we got to the second store and the exact same thing happened. This time, I stopped her.  “Honey, what do you mean there’s nothing here? Haven’t you heard anything the sales people have said? They can literally give you anything.  Whatever size, configuration, texture, color - whatever you want, they can make it for you.  So, again, what do mean there’s nothing here??”  Her response was, “I...just...don’t...see...anything...I...like”.  Her words reverberated in my ears for what seemed to be an eternity.  Here I was, face to face with those words I’ve heard all too often from would be clients who were as I like to call “Mannequin Shoppers”.  Only this time, that mannequin shopper was my own wife.  

To clarify, “Mannequin Shoppers” are the same people that can’t buy an outfit without seeing it on a mannequin.  They tend to be visual and they often tend to lack creativity.  This isn’t necessarily a bad thing, it’s just the way some of us are programmed.  I’ve had customers visit our showroom which contains 5,000 square feet of kitchen and bath displays and tell me, “I don’t see what I want here”.  Mannequin Shoppers don’t understand that we have literally thousands of style and color combinations from several different manufacturers. We just cannot display them all in the showroom. Mannequin Shoppers assume we don’t have what they’re looking for because they didn’t see a kitchen or bath display in the exact style/color they were hoping to see but if they went through our selection area or worked with one of our designers, they’d see how easy it is to assemble the exact look they’ve been wanting. It’s really like working with a personal style consultant and it’s a built-in feature of our design service.    

So, back to our sectional hunt.  I stared at my wife and she stared back at me. I realized I needed to do what I do with any of my clients when it comes time to make style decisions and we started eliminating options.  We started at the very end of the sectional area and went piece by piece determining what we liked or didn’t like about each piece.  For example, one of the units had a built-in armrest in the center of the unit that doubled as a cooler and a charging center for mobile devices.  My wife pointed out how bulky she thought it looked and that it took away from the otherwise clean lines of the piece.  A helpful passerby salesperson told us the unit was available without the bulky armrest cooler.

The next issue was the color.  Neither one of us were fans of the particular color shown on the floor.  I asked the salesperson what other color options were available and he quickly pulled out a swatch ring with about twenty colors on it.  We quickly narrowed our options down to two and played paper, rock, scissors to make the final color decision.

My wife had one final hesitation.  “The one side might be a bit too narrow”.  You see, one leg of the sectional was longer than the other.  The salesperson said, “No problem. The shorter leg is a loveseat.  We can make that leg a full sofa and it will be the same length as the other leg.  If you’re interested, I can probably do that for the same price.”   

So there we were.  We went from a situation where there was not a single possible product that would fit our needs to finding the perfect sectional for our basement in about twenty minutes. All we had to do was understand what we were looking at, what options were available, asking the right questions and having a helpful designer or salesperson. These are the exact same traits the Thompson Price team brings to every single kitchen or bath project.  Am I generalizing here a little bit?  Absolutely.  However, the concept and the idea is the same.  Just like with shopping for clothing, the perfect outfit doesn’t just fall into place or accidentally happen; the same is true when trying to create a beautifully designed kitchen or bathroom.  There are an unbelievable amount of products and selections to consider, and the right design team can help make it an easy and enjoyable process.  

So, next time you or your wife want to visit seven showrooms looking for that perfect kitchen or bathroom design to leap out at you, save yourself and your marriage, and talk to a sales person about your needs and wants. Don’t be a Mannequin Shopper. Make Thompson Price your first and last stop and we will help you create a kitchen or bathroom that looks best on you...not on someone else.