She hurried into our showroom earlier this week, and her anxiety was evident. She and her husband were selling their family home and moving to Florida, a move that had been planned down to the bubble wrap on the last teacup. Suddenly, the new buyers had hurled a wrench into the exquisitely timed moving machinery.
Everything in the house had been packed, labeled and loaded into the moving van except for the seller’s enormous bedroom set. Months ago, the buyers had agreed to buy it. At the last moment, the buyers changed their minds and wanted the set out of the house.
That was a big problem for the panicky woman in our showroom. Her bedroom set was relatively new and very expensive. She had to sell it or give it away within the next few hours. “Please,” she pleaded with me, “can you help?”
FCG encounters situations like this all the time. And while we have the greatest compassion for those who are dealing with these snafus, we still need to be selective about the furniture we accept for our showrooms. After all, that’s our promise to our customers: FCG’s showrooms will always be chockful of name-brand, nearly new, high-quality furniture. We simply can’t put old furniture on our showroom floor because someone needs to unload it in a hurry.
Still, I felt badly for this woman. Her hand shaking, she handed me her cellphone so I could scroll through the photos she’d taken of the bedroom set. Unfortunately, in her distress, she’d taken pictures that were blurry and too dark to see the set clearly. I zoomed in to try to find even a single detail that would help me determine whether to accept the set for consignment.
Then, I saw it: a tiny bit of inlaid border on the cabinetry. It suggested the set just might be a spectacular find. I made the quick decision, rare for me, to take a chance. “We’ll pick it up today,” I told the woman.
Her reaction was explosive. She jumped up and down in the middle of the store with joy, looking like she didn’t know whether to cry or laugh.
I had a sudden flashback to the 1983 NCAA basketball Championship, when a spectacular dunk in the last seconds of the game propelled North Caroline State University to victory over the Houston Cougars. The game is pure legend, in part because the winning coach leaped off the bench whooping wildly and ran around the court wildly looking for someone to hug.
She kinda’ looked like that.
Anyway, the next day our movers backed the truck up to the showroom to unload the set. I was nervous. What if my instincts were wrong? Would my last-minute decision compromise the stylish look of our showroom?
“Wow,” one of our talented associates gasped as the set was placed in the showroom. “That’s some beautiful furniture!”
At that news, it was my turn to act like the winning coach, the late great Jim Valvano, whose reaction after that game radiated pure joy to everyone lucky enough to be watching. I jumped up, pumping my fist in the air, looking for someone to high five. Victory is so sweet.