Insert Chassis Albuquerque: Chapter 2 - The Short Skirt: "Beaumont's Pianos"

Chapter 2 - The Short Skirt: "Beaumont's Pianos" though I was running late, I still made it to work on time.
That’s the difference between being responsible and not.
As with most people my age, youth had left me brain damaged. Mild brain injuries - very pleasant sounding medically - had left me somehow incapacitated. Work, any work, I'm dead against it. You see those successful people on the TV - well, imagine the work that must go into it…!
So I didn’t want to work.
But I had to.
And it was a routine I was still struggling to get to grips with.
There’s a certain freedom, a certain stupidity only accounted for by being 18.
Problem was, I was 38. And the last time I checked I'd been living recklessly for about 20 years already. In fact, I'd hit a low point as a man in round about 2002 I think it was and, if I remembered correctly, now let’s see, what had happened in 2002…?
Thinking about it, I couldn’t remember what had happened in 2002.
But, looking back, mostly strategic in nature, a lot of my life has consisted of often running away.
And always somehow mostly uphill.
Anyway, whatever had happened in 2002, it couldn’t have been any different from than where I was now: Nowhere. I was at BEAUMONT’S, the piano store, where I’d been for 11 months as a salesman. How'd I get this gig? Same as the last one, the owner was a crooked tyrant. He’d also told me I had no value and was “dispensable”.
“Everyone could be let go anytime, so don’t go getting any ideas, Broadway. I run a pretty tight ship here,” he’d said at the interview.
“I appreciate your candor,” I’d said.
BEAUMONT’S had been around since 1889 and had anywhere between 70 - 100 pianos; mostly German, mostly absurdly expensive and overpriced. BEAUMONT’S made a big deal out of the fact they didn’t sell any Chinese or Asian pianos. And it was funny, people frowned on these pianos, but that’s where the largest section of the market was: Goddamn Chinese, Asian pianos. Like a lot of the cheaper, immigrant workforce, the Chinese labor force were less expensive, hard-wearing and did the job well. Weirdly, apparently the only people not buying Chinese were often the Chinese.
Customers would visit BEAUMONT’S and say - and they always sounded supercilious - things like: “I’m looking for something European - German…? With a German touch, with a German sound and feel…? Maybe you have something Austrian? With a German touch, with a German sound and feel…?”
“Did you have a budget in mind…?” a salesperson might wonder, if they even bothered to get up.
This the customer dismissed, outright - always, and without fail.
Most of the time.
As long as they were shown “something” with the “… right feel, sound and touch,”, the  budget was "...flexible and entirely unimportant,” they’d claim
Bullshit. When has budget ever being unimportant?  People buying a car know they're either buying a Ford or a Mercedes! We’d show them the cheapest “Austrian” upright piano built in Germany, with German touch and German sound and feel and the customer, in virtually every instance, would run a mile.
$30,000…! Are you outta your mind! I want a piano, not a piano made of gold! What kind of a store is this! I ask for a German piano, or maybe an Austrian piano with German touch, sound and feel and you try sell me the most expensive piano in the store..! It’s not even a grand piano…!”
“You’re absolutely correct. Very good. I can confirm that it is an upright piano. Of course, if you’d mentioned you were so price sensitive when you told us the budget was unimportant, irrelevant and had absolutely, categorically, no influence on your purchase today, I wouldn’t have bothered to get up, come all the way over here and waste my time showing you our least expensive Austrian piano that’s made in Germany. Unfortunately, we don’t have any Chinese or Asian pianos. Frankly, it’s not our market.”
“You refusing to help me…?” they’d say, outraged.
“Absolutely not, sir. I am, however, very clearly saying we do not cater for price-points below this amount - $30,000. Still, in the interest of maintaining customer relations and to try be of some help to you, I would point you in the direction of The Big Piano Warehouse Discount Store? They have a wonderful, far wider selection available for customers who also don’t have a budget.”
German pianos…?”
“Could be, sir.”
“Who knows, who knows - it truly is a mystery…”
There was just something about retailing pianos that wound customers and sales people up the wrong way. And because of the massive online presence, the nature of retail piano sales had changed.
In a recent survey, 75% of all piano sales people interviewed said they believed almost every customer was a total a-hole. rude.
And dishonest.
And highly abusive.
The other 25% of sales people, after a further survey, turned out to be crazy and were fired.
The survey background? I asked two of my colleagues if they thought the retail piano sector was these days often the victim of the customers. One agreed wholeheartedly the customers were all a-holes.
The other disagreed.
So we fired him, better to have a united team sharing the same vision.
And now here I was, facing Dr. Peter Beaumont of BEAUMONT’S pianos.

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