One more from a generous reader:
I had an idea for a essentially free date with my wife that I tried out yesterday and wanted to share it with you. First I primed her by telling her that I was going to take her on a “dream date”. Then later I informed her what the dream date would be: we went to a furniture store to look around, dreaming about what types of furniture we’d like to have in the future. The state of our finances don’t allow us to purchase anything at this point, but since we both understood that going to the store, there was no frustration (or coveting), only a wonderful time walking around dreaming and learning about each other’s like and dislikes. Thanks for all the tips, we both try to implement the advice we receive over e-mail from you and your wife daily.
I know others who have done the same with house hunting – look at the new homes, eat the free cookies, and dream about what might be someday.
Just be nice to the folks trying to make a living – don’t waste a lot of their time, especially if there are potentially paying customers on hand. Something like “We are not ready to buy yet, but we are gathering ideas” will fairly let sales people know not to0 invest too much in you.