The door opened slowly and a head popped in to scan the scene, turning warily from side to side like a tortoise. Then he stepped stealthily into the store, one arm extended back in a signal to the troops behind him: wait for my signal! He paused, then gestured that it was safe to enter.
One by one, the entire family followed him into the store. Their mission: recon on an unfamiliar shopping experience, namely FCG. Sue, our store manager in Natick, has seen this before. “First-timers,” she said with a chuckle. “This is going to be fun.”
We watched the family weave through the store, flipping merchandise tags, studying prices, and nodding with approval. Finally, after making a few laps around the showroom, the patriarch approached us and fired off a rapid series of questions.
“Beautiful furniture. Where do you get it? Every furniture store we’ve visited is out of stock until spring. Can we buy furniture now? Do you deliver? Can we make you an offer?”
All good questions — until the last one. That was going to be an issue.
I explained to the family how we stock our three stores with the finest pre-owned furniture in New England. I explained pricing, that is, how we decide the price for each item based on brand, style, and condition. Lastly, I explained the schedule of markdowns that occurs if an item doesn’t sell quickly.
These days, though, furniture rarely lingers on the showroom floor. That’s in part because of supply-chain disruptions caused by Covid; homeowners are finding it impossible to buy new furniture because of months-long waits for delivery.
Thus, FCG’s furniture — ready to take home today — is flying out of our showrooms at breathtaking speed.
I explained all this gently to our newest customers, and they seemed a bit overwhelmed. Who could have imagined such fierce competition to buy and furnish a home?
Covid changed everything in our world, and we’ll be living with the aftershocks for some time to come. Our smartest shoppers know the victory isn’t in waiting for the lowest price but in getting the furniture they want and need now in their homes.