If I came by the store between noon and 7 PM the next day, they could talk with me about pricing. I secured the church credit card, our tax-exempt certificate and hit the road.
At the store, I found the person who was handling this bit of closure. She's not a regular employee, which means she won't lose her job when the store closes. That'll get interesting in a minute.
We walk back to where the furniture is being kept. "What items were you interested in?" the woman asks.
"I signed up for one of those low tables and two of the chairs in one of the reading areas."
"Right, the coffee tables. We've sold all of those. We do have these little metal tables that you can't really set anything on because they're too light."
"Well, no, I don't need them."
"OK, what else were you interested in?"
"I'd written down that I would like a couple of those chairs like those over there."
"They're all sold too; they're a set."
"So the things I signed up that I wanted to buy are all sold, I guess."
"It looks like it."
"Then why did you call me?"
"None of what I wanted to buy is available anymore, so why did you call me?"
"You signed up to be called about fixtures."
"Where did I sign up?"
"On the list we had of people who were interested in buying the fixtures."
"So you saw the list?"
"And my phone number."
"And what I wanted to buy."
"And even though those things had all already been sold and you had nothing left like it at all, you still called me to drive up to the store -- not let me know these items were sold or leave a number where I could call and find that out."
"You had signed up to be called."
This is a conversation that would have made me much less sad about the store closing, except that the sales clerks who waited on me several times during the shutdown -- with good cheer and who didn't let impending unemployment dampen their helpfulness or friendliness -- will be out of a job when the doors lock, and the stranger to logic who called me to drive 20 miles to tell me what I wanted had been sold will still be employed by the company.
I'm not optimistic about the chain's recovery.