If you're an Okie, then the picture above is probably synonimous with one thing immediately - ridiculously pushy salesmen! If you're not I am still certain you will know a furniture store just like this one where you live.
The first time we went furniture shopping, which was within a month of me immigrating, I soon found out why I will never buy anything from Mathis Brothers. As you walk through the doors the salesmen are hovering in groups ready to pounce. The first to reach you and hand you their card, then apparently takes temporary ownership of your person and wallet until you escape!
Despite the fact that you tell them you are "just browsing" and "will call" if you need help, they will then stalk your every step from a discreet but still annoyingly visible distance and will 'wander over' with an encouraging comment if you stop to look at anything for more than 20 seconds! And these are not small stores we are talking about, they are usually on 2 floors and about the size of 4 football fields. So being hunted around something that big, when they have no guarantee you'll even buy, is pretty desperate. I quite enjoy splitting up and trying to 'lose them' for a bit of sport ;-)
It really is quite unbelievable how pushy these 'commission only' salesmen are and for me it's one way to guarantee I won't buy, even if I really like something there (which is rare in that store!).
When I left the UK I had not experienced being stalked around a furniture store to quite this extent, but there were a few stores known for being a bit pushy there too. But it's a whole different ball game over here and extremely offputting for a Brit' who likes to be left alone to decide.
Being a blunt Brit' and finding it quite easy to be rude if necessary, I got to the point where as they locked on to us I would just tell them "If you stalk us I will not buy a thing in here, give me your card and if I find something I will ask for your help, now go away"....and it works! In other stores I would tell them "I hate Mathis Bros because of the stalking, so if you want me to buy anything you'd better leave me alone".....that also works as the other stores know how bad the reputation of MB is for doing this to customers.
In the end though we bought nearly all our furniture from smaller family owned stores, where there was minimal pressure and a good discount for buying a few things there.
I just find it hard to believe that they can't see themselves how offputting this is for the average customer. I mean personally a salesman's opinion is never going to make the difference as to whether I will buy a piece of furniture or not! That comes down to what I need and what I like, so all the sales chat in the world won't make something right if it's not.
Give me IKEA anyday of the week, at least there they leave you to it and you find a salesman when you're ready, and you don't end up feel like punching someone (risking arrest) or telling them to 'bog off' in no uncertain terms!
I know Americans are just as capable of making their own minds up as us Europeans? So why does everyone put up with this and not complain. Generally I find Americans much more polite than the Brit's, but sometimes Y'ALL are far too polite :-)