The Saga of the Sofa
IN THE VAST SOFA SHOP, we feel lost, there’s so much choice. The salesman is charming. “Sofa bed or regular sofa? Everyday use or just occasional?” It’s fabulous how interested he is in our needs. He doesn’t judge us, he approves our choices.
We stroll through the sofas, our new best friend tracking us closely. “Try that one, you’ll like it.” We focus on the comfort of our buttocks. “This is the Diva model from the Rapido range. French quality, Italian design and Scandinavian style. Firm, soft and with loose covers.” It’s more expensive than we’d budgeted for, so we hesitate. “This model is never reduced,” says the salesman, indignantly. He taps on his calculator, phones a mystery contact and then offers us an exceptional discount of 40 percent. We’re thrilled.
The salesman rapidly produces the order form and gets us to sign it. He’s still friendly, but not quite so fondly attached as before. The thrill of the chase is over. “There’s a 195-euros delivery charge. Didn’t I mention that? You’re on the fifth floor, you say? That makes it 215 euros.”
His mobile phone rings and he’s visibly upset. His boss has just told him he can’t lower the price so much without making a loss. The discount will be 20 percent. “Delivery date? In this model there’s only purple left. Gray? There’s a three-month wait.” We’re disappointed. The salesman taps on his screen. “You’re in luck. I’ve got just one left in stock in gray in Italy. You can have it in . . . eight weeks.” We want to thank him but he’s already left us and, all smiles, he’s on the heels of a new couple who’ve just come into the shop. “Sofa bed or regular sofa?”
ANNE ROUMANOFF is a wellknown French humorist.
She lives in Paris.