Living in Sin: the Patio Exchange

by Rachel on June 6, 2011

white patio chair target

The patio is one area of our apartment that hasn’t gotten much love. It’s a pretty typical apartment patio; it’s big enough for a grill and some small pieces of furniture. I’ve been dying to make it a nice place to hang out, chat on the phone, read, and eat, but Eric not see the importance of making “The Max” of our apartment.

Recently, it’s been turning into that spot because we finally bought a grill. Every time I’d use my cast iron grill in the apartment, the charred bits and pieces stuck to the grill would cause it to smoke so badly, we’d barely be able to breathe. Finally, after one night when we both nearly died of smoke inhalation, Eric agreed that we should get an outdoor grill.

So, after a miserable experience putting that thing together, we had a grill! I really wanted furniture, and had found chairs and a table that I loved at Ikea (you can see them on my Pinterest board), but Eric firmly believed that it is too hot to ever sit outside. I agreed that yes, it is too hot to sit outside for most of the summer, but argued that the wonderful trade-off for the hot-as-balls summer months in Houston is that you can sit outside from October to May (as well as summer evenings).

Once we began grilling on the patio and taking the dogs out there, it was becoming more annoying to me that there was no place to sit down. I decided that if Eric didn’t want to get a whole furniture set to put out there, I would at least buy a cheap lawn chair that I could use for things like reading, calling friends, and drinking when I was sad about the fact that my boyfriend didn’t want us to have a lovely patio.

I was shopping at Target by myself early on Sunday morning when I decided to complete this mission. I found a cheap(ish) chair that I liked…and then I found a bunch of chairs that I liked even more. They were more expensive than the first chair, but they were on sale, making them a good option. I found some white steel chairs that I really liked, but it appeared that those two were the only ones in the sale row that were not, in fact, on sale.

How much does it suck when that happens?

So I was wandering around the patio furniture area, trying to decide what to do, when a Target employee walked by and asked me if I needed any help. He was wearing a red button-front shirt and khakis, so I got the impression he was just a manager making the store rounds. I said that I was doing fine. Then he sort of struck up a conversation about how nice the patio furniture was and, as he commented on the good sales, I got the impression that he wasn’t just trying to be managerly.

“Yeah, it is all really nice,” I said. “But of course the one thing I want isn’t on sale.”

My response seem to catch his attention.

“Oh, which one did you want?” he said, walking closer to me.

I showed him the two steel white chairs, which were $39, unlike everything else in that row, which was $25.

“Oh,” he said. “Well…” he looked at me. “I can give it to you for the sale price.”

He said it with just the slightest hint of seduction, and I was faced with the old female dilemma. I was pretty sure this sale price wasn’t just based on the fact that he was a nice guy. I was also pretty sure had I not been wearing a well-cut tank top and tight yoga pants, or had Eric been with me, I would have been paying full price.

But the thing is, I’ve always had a problem in situations like this. I was never one of those girls who went to the bar with the mission of getting free drinks. Sure, I accepted them, even if the guy wasn’t my type and I always put in a fair amount of conversation with the guy, just to at least consider him. (And if I didn’t want to put in that time, I wouldn’t accept the drink.) But I was single then. And even so, I still felt like a jerk when I eventually excused myself from the conversation.

On the other hand, don’t guys know this on some level? Isn’t that the risk they take, offering things to women without any knowledge of whether or not she’s single or interested?

I didn’t know what to do.

“You’d do that for me?” I said.

“Oh, sure,” he said, giving me an even more intimate look.

I gave him a quick once-over to be sure he actually was a Target employee. I mean, anyone can put on khakis and a red shirt and go cruising the aisles at Target, pretending to be able to hook a girl up with a discount. Once I saw his Target walkie-talkie on his belt, I figured he was OK.

“That would be awesome,” I said. “Thank you! Thank you so much!”


I took my time finishing the rest of my shopping, and felt awkward every time I saw the manager elsewhere in the store. I had now started something. How guilty are you supposed to feel about something like this? Was I just overthinking it? I mean, he had started it. Who among us wouldn’t save $30 on her patio furniture if given the opportunity?

When I finally made it up to the register where my furniture was waiting, he came back by and offered to help me load it into my car. I wanted to say no, but I also didn’t see how I could take two carts out to my car at once. So he walked out with me and loaded it up. I thanked him repeatedly for his help and we said our good-byes…

And then…

I mean, we knew this was coming right?

…then he gave me some lovely compliments and asked me if I was single.

And I, with my furniture packed in my car, had to tell him the truth. The thing is, even if I were single, I wouldn’t have really been interested.

Still, I wanted to say something inspiration. Like, “Hey…you miss 100 percent of the shots you don’t take!”

There was nothing else to say without coming across like a terrible person, so I just went home.

I do love the furniture though.

What would you have done?

{ 28 comments… read them below or add one }

1 Dori June 6, 2011 at 10:17 am

I would have done exactly what you did. And it’s not like you had to tell him you weren’t interested, you had a valid excuse of the boyfriend. Nice chair! And for the record, I LOVE having the sitting outdoors option, even on a hot day.


2 Rachel June 6, 2011 at 10:21 am

I totally would have done it. Don’t feel bad at all. Like you said, it’s the chance they take when they do things without knowing your situation. I wouldn’t actively seek it out, (like I would never have flirted with a guy hoping for a discount,) but if it’s offered, there is nothing wrong with it.


3 Manon June 6, 2011 at 10:24 am

I would have done exactly what you did and not felt guilty about it…he OFFERED, it’s not like you threw your boobs in his face and whispered “just IMAGINE what I would do for $30 off my patio furniture….I’m a very naughty girl!” or something…..


4 Liz @ IHeartVegetables June 6, 2011 at 10:33 am

Hahahaha I just had to say that this comment made me laugh out loud at my computer and I think my co-workers are wondering what I’m doing. Still, worth it.


5 Diane June 6, 2011 at 10:39 am

I agree! He offered. You didn’t owe him anything. You were upfront when asked about your relationship status. No harm, no foul.

At least it wasn’t this guy:


6 Rachel June 6, 2011 at 10:53 am



7 Alli June 6, 2011 at 10:32 am

I totally would have done it — hey, how was he supposed to know?

In the past if I’ve felt REALLY bad I’ve told the guy I had a girlfriend.


8 Liz @ IHeartVegetables June 6, 2011 at 10:33 am

Hahaha I think if you had said “Hey it’s ok, you miss 100% of the shots you don’t take” it probably would have been worse ;)

I mean, if he really thought he could score a date by giving you a discount on patio furniture… I think that’s kind of lame. I say, work it, girl! ;)


9 [SMASH] at Sweat. Style. Swoon. June 6, 2011 at 10:48 am

Yes, exactly what Manon said — he OFFERED. You didn’t try to con him into it with your killer rack or gorgeous smile. Sounds like everything went as it should.


10 Chrissy (The New Me) June 6, 2011 at 11:12 am

I tend to assume that there’s no way the dude is interested and clearly he needed to get rid of those chairs for some reason – I am doing HIM a favor! Am I modest? Or in denial? Who cares! Discounts are worth it! :)


11 Beth (Well I'll Be) June 6, 2011 at 11:41 am

I definitely would have taken the discount, it’s not your fault he was only doing it to get in good with you, that is his fault! I doubt he’s supposed to be hitting on girls on Target’s time anyways. Take advantage of this while you can I say, it won’t last forever. Things change when you have a ring on, not to say I miss getting hit on my random guys (not at all!), but I wouldn’t mind a discount on patio furniture!


12 Kate June 6, 2011 at 11:43 am

The phrase ‘sorry I’m not sorry’ springs to mind! If he’s so totally shameless as to use his job to (try to) pick up chicks, then he totally deserves to have people take advantage of his “generosity”.


13 Emily @ Comfortable Home Life June 6, 2011 at 12:09 pm

I would have done exactly the same thing. Sorry I’m not sorry for having a boyfriend and scoring patio furniture sales!


14 Hannah June 6, 2011 at 12:35 pm

I may sound like a jerk, but I say go for it! Use those looks to your advantage. Then again, I’m kind of frugal, but if he’s giving you a deal why not?


15 Mary @ stylefyles June 6, 2011 at 1:23 pm

“Hey! You miss 100% of the shots you don’t take!”

hahahhaha. Awesome.


16 Christie June 6, 2011 at 1:24 pm

I would have done it, except um without any guilt.

Sorry I’m not sorry, but if a guy thinks that he can score with me for a discount, well … come on, seriously… he needs to step up his game. I mean, come on… what girl is going to give it up after saving $30?

Plus- it should make you feel good about yourself that he thought you were attractive! What girl doesn’t like to be hit on, even if she knows it’s not going anywhere? It’s like not being able to take a compliment. Just do it with a big smile, and go about your day. Plus a little flirting never hurts anyone.


17 Rachel June 6, 2011 at 1:35 pm

“If a guy thinks that he can score with me for a discount, well … come on, seriously… he needs to step up his game. I mean, come on… what girl is going to give it up after saving $30?”

You, my friend, are hilarious.


18 Summer June 6, 2011 at 1:51 pm

I would have taken the discount. I mean, what were you supposed to do? “No, thanks—I like paying full-price”? And if you’d answered his offer with, “Thanks, but I have a boyfriend” he might’ve gotten even more offended/hurt than just by being turned down at the end of the exchange.

I’ve totally taken shots from people at the bar even though I have a boyfriend. Maybe it’s because I’m still really insecure, but I never assume people are hitting me on me. I guess I just think that some men troll the bar looking for thirsty vixens. I think if I’d been in your situation I would have assumed the manager just thought I looked like I needed to sit down—and furniture to help me do just that.


19 Jordan June 6, 2011 at 1:51 pm

That is just smart shopping… I totally would have done the same thing. And way to go, Target manager, for crossing over the professional to personal line. I bet he’ll win Employee of the Month!


20 Sarah June 6, 2011 at 2:19 pm

I echo the same sentiments at everyone else. You can’t help that you are an attractive woman who does not give off a “royal bitch” vibe. Hehe. So, you got a discount. It was nice of him to offer. And he offered the discount well in advance of even asking you out. Perhaps he thought he was giving good customer service (and maybe wanted a little reward for that, but can you blame him!)

Do not feel guilty! You werent using him, he offered, you accepted. End of story.

Enjoy the awesome chair! It looks really lovely.


21 zenlizzie June 6, 2011 at 2:41 pm

I don’t feel bad telling people I’m taken/busy/married/anything if they ask me out, especially if one of us is supposed to be working.
I know that it takes courage to ask someone out, BUT, I hate when guys take advantage of a situation where they know that a woman has to be nice to them (like she’s waiting on their table.. or she’s trying to buy something from them) to hit on her. When I worked customer service I started wearing a faux engagement ring to add some legitimacy to my, “Awww, sorry I’m not single,”-line.
I think it is fair. You got a deal in return for being put in an awkward situation, and he got to pretend for a few minutes that he might have a chance!


22 Nicole June 6, 2011 at 5:52 pm

Hey if you got it flaunt it, or in this case get a good fucking deal.
remember the guilt lasts for a few hours, but the great times on a patio are priceless


23 D June 7, 2011 at 9:10 pm



24 jenna k June 6, 2011 at 11:23 pm

i would’ve done the same for sure. i definitely always feel like a jerk when it’s clear that a guy’s trying to get some and i don’t immediately excuse myself. it’s so tricky to not be rude! i would 100% justify the discount by telling myself that it’s not like the guy was actually giving you anything personally. stores like that do price matching, etc, all the time, and this was no different.


25 Ashley June 7, 2011 at 12:52 am

hahahahaha guys will do anything :) i laughed throughout this entire post lol.


26 Emma June 7, 2011 at 8:11 am

I feel for you. I’m not that good with situations like that; I get a little uncomfortable. I have a ‘people-pleasing’ problem that makes shooting someone down kind of hard, especially if they’re doing something nice and/or have gotten the impression that they have a chance. I have even, in the past, stooped to just ‘fake-numbering’ them to avoid the awkwardness. Luckily, I’ve grown up a little bit since then, and can Just Say No. Sometimes, it actually helps if they start by asking if I have a boyfriend because that can annoy me – like, yes, I do, but do you imagine that’s the only thing standing between us? What if I’m just not interested?

And I mean, you didn’t do anything wrong! He made friendly conversation, you reciprocated – for all he knows, you were innocently unaware of his intentions. And you don’t want to go in the opposite direction and be That Girl who immediately announces they have a boyfriend as soon as someone asks if the seat next to them at the bar is taken.

Ultimately, I would’ve done the same thing. Obviously, he can give discounts as he wants, and if he wants to take that chance, well, that’s his prerogative. And sometimes it probably pays off! But this time it didn’t – you win some, you lose some. At least you got a sweet discount and he got the chance to talk to a pretty girl – everybody wins!(?)


27 Rachel June 7, 2011 at 8:48 am

“Sometimes, it actually helps if they start by asking if I have a boyfriend because that can annoy me – like, yes, I do, but do you imagine that’s the only thing standing between us? What if I’m just not interested?”

AMEN TO THAT! I used to hate when I was single and guys asked me if I had a boyfriend because, like you said, that’s probably not the only thing standing between us!

Everybody totally wins.


28 melissa June 11, 2011 at 12:46 am

You didn’t go in there with this huge scheme in your back pocket just waiting for the single Target manager to happen to ask if you needed help. It’s fair game. No guilt needed.


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