First time for everything I guess. I’m still a little shocked that it happened. I just got kicked out of a store because… I had children with me.
That’s right. I, a full-size male, with disposable money to spend on things that might be nicer than I really need, got kicked out of an office furniture store: the Workspace Group Inc on 248 Bridgeland Ave in Toronto.
I’ve been looking for a replacement for my old Staples chair that’s been losing its skin for a couple of years (maybe longer). I decided that instead of spending two-three hundred dollars on another Staples piece of junk I’ll consider getting a properly designed, acclaimed ergonomic office chair such as a Herman Miller.
There aren’t many stores that sell that sort of thing. It’s quite expensive, can go over 1500$ plus tax. But I figured if I divide it by the decades it’s supposed to last – it won’t cost that much more and will give me a lot of comfort in the meantime. One store that was only about 15 minutes out of my way today was Workspace Group Inc. I checked their hours and went there to see.
They obviously sell mostly to businesses (that’s clear from their website) but they also explicitly sell to home offices and individuals.
As we arrived I parked the car right in front of their front door, which is on a glass wall so the people inside could see everything that was happening next.
I got three kids out of the car: an infant in a car seat, and two small children.
As I entered I got a weird look (suggesting “what are you doing here”) but I started off to make sure that I’m in the right place, and I asked whether they sell only to businesses. The guy most near me said mostly yes.
I didn’t get a chance to ask the second question, he immediately told me that it’s five o’clock and they’re closing. He forgot that there was a sign right on the door saying they closed in 30 minutes. As I was trying to figure out what he’s talking about he pointed at one of the chairs on the floor and said “that’s a three thousand dollar chair, it shouldn’t be wheeled all over the room”.
The back of my mind started getting the hint – he didn’t want my four year old wheeling a super expensive chair around the show room.. because it couldn’t handle the load? But I was still confused. My kids were very well behaved at this point (they were exhausted from earlier exercise), they weren’t dirty, they didn’t have any food or drink, and it wasn’t wet outside.
At this point he thought of asking what I’m looking for. I said I am looking for a good office chair. His eyes lit up for a moment, but he quickly pointed to someone’s desk and said he had the day off, then continued with a story about how sick he feels himself, and then basically I turned around and left.
On my way out he apologized for the inconvenience, and I said good bye, still not having understood (yes, I’m that slow).
So there you go. Clearly I got kicked out because the guy (who may have even been the owner) didn’t want kids in the showroom. It’s probably a personal difficulty for him, but I don’t think that really matters. I have a lot of personal difficulties with some people and I work with them anyway, making sure that we get the job done as well as possible. And none of those people end up giving me thousands of dollars.
It’s strange to me that someone so hip (this is no doubt a hipster office furniture store) yet well past his youth is so repulsed by children that he’ll kick a customer out of the store. I don’t feel it’s unfair, I feel store owners should be entitled to serve (and not serve) whomever they please and I’m definitely not going to make a fuss about it, but I just don’t get it.