She whipped into our showroom like the first bitter winds of winter. With her black designer trench coat billowing behind her, she darted from one piece of furniture to another, frowning and shaking her head in disbelief.
Normally, I like to welcome our customers to our stores, but something told me to seek shelter from this storm. She was a nor’easter about to unleash her fury on FCG. “There is nothing here as nice as my furniture,” she spat at me when I finally worked up the courage to approach her. “How dare you reject my furniture for consignment!”
To prove her point, she shoved her phone at me and started scrolling through photos of her home’s interior. Oh, yes, suddenly I remembered her. She had contacted FCG a few weeks ago as she was beginning the task of downsizing her large, lavishly furnished home. She’d wanted to consign every piece of furniture, all of which she’d bought in the mid-1980s.
“What is wrong with you?” she demanded. “These are classics.” She pointed to a photo of her dark cherry Queen Anne-style dining room set. It was a classic, I silently agreed – back when Ronald Reagan was President. “Now, that’s quality!” she barked. She flipped to another photo of her bedroom set, a thirty-five-year-old clunker with a triple dresser, a tri-fold mirror, and chunky handles.
“M’am,” I interrupted cautiously, but she was not going to be stopped. Next in her photo stream was a massive armoire, so large it could have been used as a bank vault. We haven’t had one on the showroom floor in years, in part because they require their own zip code in a house.
“M’am,” I tried again as gently as possible. “Our customers prefer –” She narrowed her eyes and glared indignantly at me. “Prefer what!?!” she retorted, waving her hand dismissively at the showroom. “This stuff?”
“Madam,” I said firmly, “with all due respect, your furniture is out-of-date. No longer in style. Passé. Old.”
She looked at me, clearly astonished. “Old?” Our entire store quaked as she teetered on the edge of confusion and fury. Then, as quickly as she’d roared into the store, she melted. “Out-of-date?” she said, finally facing the painful truth.
She retreated from the showroom in a daze. Downsizing is a process full of difficult truths. One of the hardest: your furniture, circa 1980, just isn’t appealing to the millennials who are flocking to FCG, eager to furnish their first homes.
She headed for the parking lot with somewhat less energy, muttering to herself: “What is wrong with these millennials?”