Tuesday, May 10, 2005

The Anti-Mormon at the La-Z-Boy Gallery

I love La-Z-Boy recliners. I love that feeling when the chair tilts back even further than you thought possible. I love just lying there and feeling, well, lazy.

I was a very deprived child; my parents never owned a La-Z-Boy and I always coveted the chairs I encountered at other people's houses. Once I finally got a decent job and a bigger apartment (about a year and a half ago), I decided that the time had finally come to purchase my very own La-Z-Boy recliner.

Now, I can spend all day at the La-Z-Boy Gallery, just trying out all the different chairs. My wife, for some reason, thinks this is stupid, so she didn't accompany me when I went to the store. Once there, I quickly discovered that all but the discontinued lines were out of my price range. The salesman was very nice (even though he could see that his commission would be miniscule) and helped me locate a discontinued chair that wasn't a floor model. I headed over to the delivery desk to set up when my chair would arrive. As I waited (testing out more chairs near the desk) I couldn't help but overhear the woman in charge of deliveries talking to another salesman. Basically, what she said was this:

"The Mormons are trying to legalize polygamy because they want to have a whole bunch of wives. It's disgusting. Men can't handle more than one woman anyway. If anything, it should be a whole bunch of men for one woman."

As a totally irrelevant aside here, I would like to point out that this woman was about 60 and looked every bit her age. Now, at this point in my life, I hadn't been to church in years and hadn't even heard of the bloggernacle. For some reason, I think this lack of all contact made me more sensitive to statements such as this. It offended me that someone could spout off such nonsense at her place of business, and not even care that a customer was sitting right there. It offended me that she thought Mormons were so beneath her, that she couldn't possibly get into trouble by saying bad things about them.

I composed a thousand indignant replies in my head. I mentally drafted several angry letters to the store manager explaining how they had lost a paying (though just barely) customer. I didn't know what I should do. Should I tell her off, and risk my chair arriving smelling funky? Should I make an arch comment about how you shouldn't say bigoted things because you never know who is listening?

I sat and stewed, and genuinely considered walking out. I would like to say that the lack of another La-Z-Boy Gallery in the area did not enter into my deliberations, but it did. I considered going through with the purchase and then sending a nasty letter to the store afterward. In the end, I did the predictable thing: I said nothing, and got my chair.
If something similar happened to me today, I'd like to think I would react differently. Maybe laugh it off and tell her that she was all wrong in a friendly manner. But I don't know that I would.

So there the chair sits in my office, a big, comfy reminder of either my cowardice or my restraint, depending on my mood. What should I have done? What would you have done in this situation?

P.S. I am going on vacation shortly, so that is why posting will be light over the next week or so.


J. Stapley said...

I always go for one of my mission stand by's:

"You know, I'm Mormon. I only have two wives, but my dad has eight!"

Brian Duffin said...

I agree with J.-- humor is disarming and effective. Also, getting offended isn't worth the effort. Especially when it comes by way of ignorance.

Chad said...

One time, when I was a student at college, I actually did growl a little at people making comments that were offensive to me (nothing really bigoted, but stupid enough that it proved the straw; I was already having a bad day...).

It felt really good for about thirty minutes and gave me something to brag about, but, since it was a small campus, I ran into these people every once in a while and felt more than mildly embarrassed.

Pris said...

As soon as I get my new place and a decent job, the first thing I'm buying is a la-z-boy recliner. Who needs a bed after all?

I'm all for saying something like "Actually, that's not true. [Here's why.]" I find that if you're respectful of others, they'll be that way to you.

Stephen said...

There are times when something positive can happen, and times it is just best to leave people as ignorant as they came in ...

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