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…
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?