From afar, the dark cherry table was a simple piece of furniture. But up close, it glistened with the extraordinary patina characteristic of an Eldred Wheeler. The finish whispered of hours spent in patient and uncompromising craftsmanship. An Eldred Wheeler as perfect as this is a rare find in a consignment store.
In our showroom in Natick, the woman was circling the table with barely disguised excitement. First, she demanded a measuring tape. Next, she wanted the table expanded with its three leaves. Then, she insisted on reading about the table on Eldred Wheeler’s website.
All the while, her husband sat quietly nearby, observing. Then, out of the blue, he asked, “how old are you?”
What? I was flustered by the question. I’m focused on measurements and descriptions and his energetic dynamo of a wife, and he seems to be focused on me.
“You’re 45, aren’t you?”
He nailed it. I admit I was little stunned. I certainly didn’t think I looked 45. “How did you know?” I asked.
“I’m an eye doctor,” he said bluntly. “You need glasses.”
Okay, busted. I’d been having trouble focusing on things up close. I may have been squinting at the fine print on the website. And I could have used a selfie stick to read the price tag. I’d recently gotten my first pair of glasses, but I wasn’t wearing them around the showroom yet.
This ophthalmologist wasn’t at all interested in the furniture his wife was about to buy. But he was quite concerned about the deteriorating condition of my eyes. “Eventually,” he continued enthusiastically, “your distance vision will go, too.”
Despite his cavalier disregard for my vanity, I have to admit I appreciate a customer who practices his profession with the same single-mindedness that I do mine. After ringing up the sale, I handed him his receipt and he gave me his business card. I can’t wait to let him know what I think of the furniture in his waiting room.