Furniture Consignment Gallery Blog

Blood, Sweat and Gears: My Son Schemes to Buy His First Car

Posted by Jay Frucci on Fri, May 31, 2019 @ 07: 00 PM

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Spread out all over the kitchen counter when I got home last night were the results of a massive research project my son has been working on for weeks. He’d been consumed by the work. I thought he was attempting to split the atom. When he finally unveiled the fruits of his labor, complete with spreadsheets and pie charts, I was stunned.

He wants to buy a car.

My sixteen-year-old son is – God help us all – getting his driver’s license next month. He has a very clear vision of his dream car and the optional audio package that’ll pump out enough decibels to blow out the windows. He’s done all the research. His logic behind his first choice of vehicle is sound. He’s made a persuasive pitch to us, his parents.

In fact, the kid has everything but the money. Welcome to real life. Welcome to adulthood, kiddo.

He’s making an admirable effort to marshal his assets. Everything but his cell phone is up for sale. All of those pricey remote-control cars he got as birthday presents years ago? Make an offer. Buckets of Legos? Yours for cold hard cash. Used books and old sports gear are going to a resale shop.

Here’s a bittersweet lesson: the discarded toys of childhood won’t buy much more than a tank of gas. Cars require serious money. And so his financing schemes are getting kicked into high gear.

He figures his older brother might be good for a small loan. And there’s always the plan of last resort: a job! There are endless lawns to mow in the suburbs. Those lawns beckoned last year, but the kid had no interest until he was seduced by the thought of a shiny new driver’s license, four wheels and freedom.

So my son is a few thousand dollars away from cruising down the boulevard with his windows down and the music blasting. He’s pretty determined, though. You may see him this summer in one of our stores moving furniture. He’ll eventually reach his goal, in which case I advise all of you to clear the streets and buy some earplugs.

Oh, Those Lazy Hazy Crazy Days of Summer! But, First…

Posted by Jay Frucci on Fri, May 24, 2019 @ 07: 03 PM

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Shivering with hypothermia, I was standing in the Lake Ossipee in New Hampshire, holding a section of the boat dock and trying hard not to let my teeth chatter. My dad was taking a sledgehammer to the galvanized post that would support the dock. “Just … a…couple…more,” he gasped, breathless from the effort of trying to drill the pipe into the rocky bottom of the lake.

Ah, good times. When I was a teenager, helping my dad put the dock in the water at the lake house was the top item on the agenda every Memorial Day. As much I couldn’t wait to get out on the boat, setting up the dock was agony. After all, the ice had melted only five weeks ago.

The water was probably about 60°, and I was chest-deep by the time we got to the final section. It was hard to keep my balance. My feet kept sliding off the granite rocks into the soft mucky bottom of the lake. With both hands gripping the dock, I couldn’t swat away the black flies that buzzed around my head, tormenting me. As I said, agony.

Memorial Day is the unofficial start of summer in New England, but let’s be honest. Nothing is easy in these parts. It’s hard work getting set up for summer. Who hasn’t cracked their forehead on the bulkhead of the basement while trying to wrestle the patio furniture outside? Clean the grill? Now, there’s a mess. And the badminton net is such a tangled skein that you’re probably better off torching it in the fire pit and buying a new one.

You need a reward! So FCG is having a sale. We’re taking 15% off some merchandise to clear out the showroom now through the close of business Tuesday. As you start making those plans to entertain this summer, why not update your home? Replace those rickety kitchen chairs and that wobbly table. Say goodbye to that pizza-stained sofa in the family room. Toss that old mattress that is flatter than a pancake.

FCG is offers quality furniture with prices that are 40% to 80% off of the original retail. Our stores are full of great items. But remember: when we run a sale, the best stuff goes fast. So this weekend hit us on the way out of town instead of the way back. But if you can’t get “heah” from “theah” until after the holiday weekend, FCG will still have lots of bargains available all day Tuesday.

How to Find a Lost Horse? Check Our Front Lawn – or Your Teen’s Snapchat

Posted by Jay Frucci on Fri, May 17, 2019 @ 07: 57 PM

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Just before bedtime earlier this week, Collin, our teenage son, came thundering down the stairs and into the kitchen. “Dad!” he exclaimed, “there’s a horse in our front yard!” The night was cloudy, starless and black as pitch. We couldn’t see the horse – a runaway from a nearby horse farm – until we were close enough to grasp the reins.

“Collin,” I asked after we’d helped the owner lure the animal back to his barn with a carrot. “I didn’t see that horse until we almost tripped over it. How did you ever see it from your bedroom window?” Replied Collin: “I didn’t actually see the horse. One of my friends posted a photo of it on Snapchat.”

Snapchat is a mobile app that allows you to send photos and videos that typically self-destruct after a few seconds. Hugely popular among teenagers, the app allows users to play with the images, adding text, doodles, stickers and more. Apparently, one of my son’s classmates had driven by our house earlier that night, spotted the horse grazing on our lawn and blasted out a photo to other kids in town, including Collin.

Snapchat is a modern version of the town crier, albeit for adolescents. Unbeknownst to me, the homeowner, the horse photo was popping up on cell phones all over town faster than that horse could chomp on the tender green shoots of grass on our lawn. Clever, odd or funny photos like that are a kind of social currency for teens.

Social media like will be a part of their lives in ways we couldn’t have imagined years ago. And, now, businesses like ours are getting in on the game in a big way. Of course, we don’t tend to use Snapchat. For one, its vanishing images aren’t the right platform to showcase a design esthetic.

Instagram is the hot new medium in the world of home furnishings, and we’ve jumped into it with enthusiasm. It allows us to highlight the latest design trends and showcase the kinds of inspired looks we create every day with the ever-changing inventory in our showrooms.

You’ll probably never see a horse on FCG’s Instagram, but you will get gorgeous photos of furniture that just came into our stores this week. It’s a great way to get ideas for your home. Check us out at furnitureconsignmentgalleryma.

What to Do When Serendipity Strikes and the Strategy Changes? Call FCG

Posted by Jay Frucci on Fri, May 10, 2019 @ 06: 35 PM

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“Oh, don’t bother,” she said airily with a dismissive wave of her hand. “You don’t need to remove your shoes.” 

Awed by the flawless sheen of her new wood floors, I’d paused at the front door to remove my shoes before venturing inside. Truth be told, the house was so exquisitely crafted and decorated that all visitors probably should be required to don a white biohazard suit before admittance. Even my socks weren’t worthy of this palace. 

Perched on the very edge of the surging Atlantic Ocean, the house was their dream home. It was so new that most of the rooms still had that that aura of design perfection that exists only in the moments between the departure of the interior designer and the arrival of family and friends. 

I was there to look at the furniture, and there was plenty to see. In the living room: European leather furniture with that intoxicating smell of new leather. There were rooms full of gorgeous bedroom furniture, and an elegantly detailed home office. 

Mostly, though, I was thinking about strategy versus serendipity. 

For this wealthy couple, the strategy was to build and furnish a palatial home for family and friends near Boston, where they’d had careers and raised a family. Then, unexpectedly, they’d gotten an unsolicited offer from someone to buy the house. And a new dream took root: a condo in the city and another home in the sun near golf courses and the placid pale green waters of the Gulf of Mexico. Now, that’s serendipity. 

FCG is helping this couple shift their course. Some of their furniture will be in our showroom in Hanover. Some is destined for the store in Plymouth. And some will delight our customers in Natick. Our moving team will make multiple trips before the house is emptied. 

So if serendipity strikes, call FCG. We’ll make the transition easy for you.

Attack of the Killer Robo-Survey and Other Nightmares of Our Times

Posted by Jay Frucci on Fri, May 03, 2019 @ 07: 39 PM

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I was looking over my credit-card bill when I noticed a small charge that seemed odd. Inwardly, I groaned. Was it really worth the time to call the company and haggle over such a small amount? Could I endure another cheerful but inept customer-service rep? 

I gritted my teeth and dialed the phone. 

Before I’d even gotten connected to a real person, the automated system was asking me if I’d take a survey after my call. “Dial 1 if you wish to participate,” the voice said encouragingly. I did not press 1. It seemed a little overeager. Kind of like asking your date how things were going even before pulling out of her driveway.

As it turned out, the charge was odd. I lost 15 minutes fixing it. Finally, issue resolved, I hung up – only to have the phone ring, insistently. “Thank you for calling Company ABC. We want your feedback. Please take our survey.” 

“No!” I fumed. “I already told you to leave me alone.” Moments later, a text popped up, pleading with me to take the survey. Then, I noticed a neat stack of messages piling up in my email, each one trying to nudge me back to the survey. 

All morning, I fended off the company’s survey-seeking darts, growing more irritated by the moment. Finally, after a couple of hours, the electronic thrust and parry subsided. Then, unbelievably, it started up again a week later: “This is our second attempt to reach you.” The tone was sober, maybe even a little threatening, like a bill collector.

Arrrrrggggghhhhh! 

As the owner of FCG, I care very much whether you are satisfied with your purchase or your consignment sales. We answer the phone politely when you call our stores. We do our best to answer your questions efficiently and accurately. That’s our job.

We know we’re not perfect, but we figure you’ll let us know if we’re out of line or if we made a mistake. We’ll do our best to fix it. If we did an exceptional job, review us on Google or like us on Instagram. But take my word for it. You won’t get any survey requests from FCG. Haven’t we all had enough robo-calls in our lives?

22 Hours of Driving the Family from Boston to Florida Will Test Your Sanity

Posted by Jay Frucci on Fri, April 26, 2019 @ 06: 39 PM

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Driving 22 hours straight from Massachusetts to Florida seemed like a good idea in theory – that is, before I pulled out of the driveway in a car loaded with kids, suitcases, snacks, toys and games. Months ago, when I checked, the airlines were charging a king’s ransom for spring-break flights to Florida. And the rental car was no bargain, either.

So my wallet made the decision without any apparent concern for my sanity. We would drive 22 hours from Boston to Cape Canaveral. It seemed … heroic.

We left early in the evening. The first few hours were fun. We were excited about the adventure and buoyed by anticipation. But it didn’t take long for joy to evaporate in the cramped quarters of our SUV.

By the time we hit New Jersey, I realized I wasn’t the only budget-conscious dad in New England. There were thousands of us, grimly gripping the wheel with glazed eyes as we darted through heavy traffic in the southbound lanes of I-95. Only four hours into our odyssey, small squabbles were breaking out in the back seat.

My job was to follow the strict driving schedule that would get us to the parking lot of the Kennedy Space Center the following morning by 8 AM. The forced bathroom breaks were the worst. I felt like a prison guard, barking orders at a group of sulky inmates. “Robbie, put your shoes on! Bathroom. Let’s go,” I snarled at our ten-year-old after screeching into the only parking spot in a busy rest stop in Maryland.

“Daaaaad,” he whined. “I don’t have to go!” But my strict driving schedule didn’t allow for a potty break in Virginia. So off he hobbled, unhappily, joining the long line of other south-bound parents and kids trudging into the rest stop.

After thirteen hours, we were as jittery as rapid bats. Every comment and query coming from the back seat annoyed me. The bananas had gotten crushed. Too bad! You want water? Forget it! Turn the music up? No way! By 2 AM, I was gripping the steering wheel with steely determination, but my eyelids were drooping. I felt a bit shaky, but I don’t know whether that was exhaustion or the effect of three large cups of truck-stop coffee.

Never again, I thought grimly, wallet be damned.

Close to a state of hallucination, I pulled into the parking lot at the Kennedy Space Center, right on time. I hopped out of the car, shouting, “The Eagle has landed!” I wanted a marching-band welcome. I wanted the legendary CBS newscaster, Walter Cronkite, to take off his glasses and wipe his brow, marveling at my accomplishment by telling the world, “That was something.” Just like he did for the astronauts.

Even now, a week after my re-entry into life back home, I am still having flashbacks.

Yesterday, a scrawny couple pulled up in front of our store in a truck they’d borrowed to pick up a large dresser they’d bought. They refused to pay for delivery in order to save money. They had no moving skills, no packing materials, and no clue.

I wanted to warn them. Don’t be crazy! It’s not worth it! Pay the money! Get it delivered!

Moral of the story: Don’t let your wallet overrule your sanity.

 

*Images copyright of their respected owners.

Notre-Dame Burns and the World Weeps, but Vows to Repair the Cathedral

Posted by Jay Frucci on Fri, April 19, 2019 @ 07: 28 PM

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Even as the flames were devouring the ancient timber roof and the soaring spire of Notre-Dame in Paris, money began pouring in to begin the monumental effort to restore the Cathedral. The French have promised that Notre-Dame, a symbol of beauty and history beloved by the world, will be restored to her fullest majesty in five years. 

Rebuilding will be an extraordinary effort. And, as with all tragedies that befall buildings and people, there will be scars. But once restored, I believe that Notre-Dame will always be as enchanting as she has been since builders laid the first stone of the Gothic jewel in 1163. 

Restoration is a big issue in the furniture business. Over the years, I’ve fielded many a question from customers on this topic. Lots of people assume that restoration will destroy the value of a piece of antique furniture. So, for want of a simple hinge, many a beautiful old cabinet remain tucked away in a dusty attic. What a loss! 

After more than a decade at the helm of FCG, the biggest consignment business in New England, I can assure you that restoration, if expertly done, will not devalue your furniture. The key, of course, is finding that expertise and artistry. 

We at FCG are happy to offer recommendations of competent restoration companies whose work we’ve seen over the years. Some repairs are done with such finesse that they are almost impossible to see with the naked eye. 

Don’t let a simple – or even a complex – repair rob you of the joy of seeing and using an heirloom piece of furniture in your home. Like Notre-Dame, these pieces are part of the fabric of life. Their scars are evidence of lives lived fully: toddlers smashing toy trucks into the legs of a table, partygoers leaving wet martini glasses on an unprotected mahogany side table, breakfront drawers yanked open in a fit of pique by a teenager who doesn’t want to set the table for family dinner. 

The Great Fire of 2019 brought Paris to its knees, weeping. But the cathedral survived the plagues of the Middle Ages, the bonfires of the French Revolution and the occupation of Paris by Hitler’s Germany. The work to repair the cathedral has already begun, and that effort will be woven into the story of Notre-Dame. 

So take a lesson from the French. Repair and cherish your heirlooms. Make your decision to fix the brokenness a part of the story of your home.

 

*Images copyright of their respected owners.

Marathon Monday: Somber Memories but Spring Beckons

Posted by Jay Frucci on Fri, April 12, 2019 @ 10: 43 PM

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Six years ago this weekend, Robbie and I were waiting excitedly at the finish line of the Boston Marathon, eager to cheer my brother on as he completed the race. “Dad,” Robbie said, tugging at my hand mid-race. “I have to go to the bathroom.” “Not now!” I thought impatiently. But I swept my four-year-old son up in my arms nonetheless, hoping our hurried dash to the bathroom wouldn’t cost us the opportunity to celebrate my brother’s victory.

Miraculously, Robbie’s urgent plea likely saved our lives. We had been standing in the very spot in which the first bomb would explode only moments after we ducked down a side street in search of a bathroom. Tragically, the bombing that day would kill three and injure hundreds, including many athletes and onlookers who would lose limbs.

For many of us here in Massachusetts, Patriots’ Day stirs intense emotions. The horror of our brush with death has faded. We were lucky. Others are still suffering from devastating losses. We think of them every year.

Though tinged with sadness for many, Patriots’ Day still holds a lot of joy for our beloved Boston. Public schoolchildren are celebrating spring break. The Red Sox are beginning their pursuit of another championship. Winter had capitulated and spring has triumphed. We all get to anticipate the soon-to-come delights of summer: backyard barbecues, beach days, t-shirts and flip flops.

Patriots’ Day is rich with history. That’s when we pause to remember the victories our ragtag army won against the arrogant British redcoats in Lexington and Concord. That was one of the fledgling nation’s first steps to independence. The undaunted American spirit will be on display again this Monday when tens of thousands of runners turn out to run the marathon.

At FCG, we celebrate and honor the patriots who won our freedoms and the athletes who will demonstrate the courage and determination required to run a marathon.

This weekend, our three stores will offer a sale: 15% off everything, including all furniture consignments, accessories, mattresses, and even the more than 200 pieces of Mitchell Gold+Bob Williams furniture that came in only weeks ago. We are open for our normal hours Monday. In case you’ve got big plans to celebrate Patriots’ Day, we will extend the sale through Tuesday. Enjoy your holiday!



*Discount applies at time of sale, to total sale. I Cannot be combined with any other offer or promotion. Cannot be used on prior purchases. Discount will apply automatically in-cart for online transactions. Sale ends Tuesday, April 16, 2019 at midnight.

Life Lessons Learned from Basketball: Don’t Be Afraid to Make Mistakes

Posted by Jay Frucci on Fri, April 05, 2019 @ 04: 06 PM

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Up in the bleachers of the middle-school gym, we cheered till our voices were hoarse. Now, the game was tied and the clock was running out. All the parents and coaches were on edge, watching the players fight to the point of exhaustion for every point on the basketball court.

Seconds before the end of the quarter, the ball came soaring through the air, landing with a resounding thunk in the arms of our ten-year-old, Robbie. I gasped. He turned towards the basket and –

Let’s hit pause here. I’ve got to interrupt this story to provide some background.

Robbie is, to say the least, a reluctant participant in basketball. Every Saturday when it was time to suit up, his shoulders would slouch. In the car, I’d try to pump him up for the game. He’d change the subject. On the court, he looked pained, like he had pebbles in his sneakers. He didn’t enjoy the game. He endured it.

But last Saturday, the sports gods delivered him the opportunity to shine. In that moment, the game was his to win or lose. With almost-impossible grace and precision, he tossed the ball high. It swished through the net.

His face was jubilant. But a shocked silence filled the gym. Robbie had sunk the ball in the other team’s basket, giving his opponents the victory. When he realized his mistake, he shrugged his shoulders and walked off the court.

“Oops,” he said with an impish smile. “Didn’t mean to do that.”

I knew long ago that Robbie was never going to be a basketball player, but that’s when I realized I might have an artist. After all, artists are not afraid to do the unexpected, push the boundaries, and make mistakes without shame or judgement.

The world has lots of basketball players. What it needs is more artists. Actually, I believe we need more artists in schools, in government and in corporate America. We need artists to challenge conventional wisdom. That’s how innovation is born.

At FCG, that’s what we try to do. We’re unique. Our inventory changes dramatically every week. We sell new items in new ways. Sometimes, we make mistakes. Our loyal customers are unfazed. New ones stop by and marvel, “Wow! This isn’t what I expected from consignment.”

We are different every week. Heraclitus, the Greek philosopher, said no man ever steps in the same river twice because he isn’t the same man and it isn’t the same river. That’s true for us. You’ll never shop in the same showroom twice. There is always something new and unexpected at FCG.

Beware Cut-rate Movers if You Treasure Your Furniture

Posted by Jay Frucci on Fri, March 29, 2019 @ 08: 03 PM

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He sauntered into the showroom, snapping his fingers and rocking to the beat of the rap music seeping out of his enormous silver headphones. “Wazzup, man?” he drawled. He pointed towards the parking lot, where his friend was slouching against a battered old pick-up truck flecked with mud, smoking a cigarette.

“We’re here,” he said, “to get some lady’s table.”

My heart sank. Yesterday, an elegant woman with impeccable taste had purchased an enormous round pedestal table with a beveled glass top for the foyer of her mansion. Did she actually hire Haul Ass Moving Company? I looked skeptically at the pair. Their tattooed arms were as thin as toothpicks. This didn’t look promising. 

Uber-style companies are moving into the moving business. With rates lower than more established competitors, they provide short-haul moving services to budget-conscious customers. Like Uber, though, they’re getting off to a rocky start. Finding reliable, experienced help, for one, is a big challenge.

Take the two rubes who showed up at our store earlier this week, for example. Unlike experienced movers, they didn’t have any of the equipment necessary to move a large and heavy table safely: no dolly, no padding, no straps, and, unfortunately, no clue.

“Try liftin’ it,” the first guy said, gesturing at his pal to move to the other side of the table. Grunting mightily, they gave it a go – and failed. The table didn’t budge an inch. “Hey,” the pal said, “let’s roll it!”

My blood pressure soared. The table the woman had purchased was flawless and costly. That wouldn’t be the case if entrusted to the care of Haul Ass Moving Co. These two weren’t going to deliver anything but damage and despair. I knew I had to step in and stop this catastrophe from happening.

“Sorry, guys,” I said firmly. “I can’t let anyone but a professional mover take this table.” The pair actually looked relieved. One of the men admitted that his real profession is helping bands set up at a local bar. The other guy was just, I guess, an assistant helper.

Moving quality furniture isn’t a job for the inexperienced. Once you’ve made an investment in a piece you love, please don’t hire some shoddy unknown company to bring it home. You’re taking a big risk. Do you really want a piece of furniture with dings, dents or shattered glass dumped on your doorstep?

Sometimes, I agree, Uber-like companies can provide a cost-effective solution if you are moving a small and lightweight piece of furniture. But I wouldn’t trust them with large, costly or fragile items. FCG offers local white glove, economical, reliable and prompt delivery services to our customers. We can't help with every move, but in those instances we'll recommend the right company for the job.