Furniture Consignment Gallery Blog

Yet Another Covid Nightmare: A Visit to the RMV

Posted by Jay Frucci on Sat, September 19, 2020 @ 08: 04 AM

20200919-newsletter-header

 

Dante gave us a terrifying description of the nine circles of hell in his enduring classic, Inferno. Each circle features a human failing: greed, anger, gluttony and so on. Clearly, Dante never imagined the RMV. He would have added a tenth.

The RMV is where I spent eternity – I mean, a morning – this week. I showed up thirty minutes early for my appointment to register a new van. In a valiant effort to obey the pandemic rules, I’d scheduled my appointment two weeks ago.

The RMV has always been a black hole of lost time, but these days visiting the agency could break even the strongest. I waited patiently for twenty minutes in one line before being scolded by a clerk for standing in the wrong one. The short line was for those who dropped in, unannounced. Incredibly, the longer line was for those with appointments – punishment, I guess, for planning ahead.

After almost an hour of waiting, a clerk handed me a flyer that directed me to go back to my car and text the agency that I was at the RMV. Apparently, no one had noticed. Instantly, I got a text: “There are 35 guests ahead of you. We will text you when it’s time to come in”

Guests? No, we were the damned.

Time ticked by. A half-hour. An hour. Another half-hour. I’d set off from home that morning determined to maintain good hydration. Maybe I’d overdone it. I was squirming in the car, desperate for a restroom, when I finally got a text from the RMV. “We are ready for you.”

Back I went to another line. By now, I was in a cold sweat from discomfort. I waited for my number to be called, and, well, you know the rest of the story. The clerk found a minor error in my documentation and rejected my application. I asked for a supervisor, hoping for a compassionate release from this bureaucratic hell, but was instead lashed and tortured.

Maybe that’s a bit of an overstatement, but with the thought of repeating this exercise I might prefer it.

In my dreams, when midnight strikes on December 31, the pandemic nightmare will cease and life will return to normal. Maybe we can even fix the tenth circle of hell, the RMV, which would be nothing less than a miracle.

Do the FCG Loop! Hit All Three Stores in a Day and Find Great Bargains

Posted by Jay Frucci on Fri, September 11, 2020 @ 03: 45 PM

20200912-newsletter-header

 

Before Covid, Boston famously had the worst traffic in the nation. We spent 14% of our time in the car waiting in bumper-to-bumper traffic, according to studies. We’ve all been there, squirming impatiently in a snarl of cars with brake lights radiating red as far as we could see.

Covid has been a tragedy, but there has been a silver lining to the pandemic, that is, open roads. There’s no disputing the fact that driving around is a lot freer and more fun than it has been in years.

What does that mean for you, furniture lover? That’s simple: bargain-hunting at all three of our stores is a Daytripper’s delight now.

Let’s say you’re tackling that long yearned-for home improvement project and you’re looking for furniture and accessories to make it perfect for your family. Sure, you’ve checked out our inventory online but there’s nothing quite like seeing a piece of furniture in real life.

Don’t you want to see in person the gleaming finish of an expertly crafted dining table? Or run your hand over the fabric of an upholstered chair for that cozy nook you’re creating in your family room? Who doesn’t want to sink into a leather sectional and dream of Netflix nights with the family?

At traditional furniture retailers, inventories are low and wait times are long. Why not take an afternoon and plan a trip to visit all three of our stores: Hanover, Plymouth and Natick? Our stores are spotlessly clean and we take every precaution to insure your safety while shopping.

A road trip is the perfect antidote to our cabin fever. So plug our stores’ addresses into your GPS, and hit the open highway. You can even take the kids for a geography and history lesson. Yes, Plymouth really does have a rock and a replica of the Mayflower. Homeschooling and bargain hunting is a perfect combination.

FCG Acquires Tilton in a Deal that Promises Big Benefits for Our Customers

Posted by Jay Frucci on Fri, September 04, 2020 @ 06: 08 PM

20200905-newsletter-headerBB

 

Big news, folks!

FCG has acquired Tilton Cleaning and Restoration, one of the premier carpet and upholstery cleaning services in Massachusetts. Now, with the help of a company with decades of experience, FCG will be able to offer a service that’s even more critical in the midst of a pandemic: high-quality cleaning and restoration of upholstered furniture and carpets.

Mike Tilton started his business back in 1977 in Natick, and over the past four decades, he has won the trust of more than 50,000 customers in and around Boston. His qualifications are impressive. He earned the certifications of Master Cleaner and Master Restorer and was past president of the New England Institute of Cleaning and Restoration.

FCG and Tilton are joining forces to insure that you, our customers, have access to state-of-the-art cleaning services. Customers who buy a sofa or a rug from FCG will have the option of having it cleaned and fabric-protected before picking it up or having it delivered. In these challenging times, that’s a layer of protection that many of our customers will find reassuring.

Consignors will also benefit. Our consignors will have the option of having their items professionally cleaned before their furniture and carpets get to our showrooms. After all, a spotlessly clean and fresh item typically sells quickly and for more money.

Mike Tilton will be joining us here at FCG in Natick, so we’ll have access to his years of experience and expertise in cleaning. His company offers grout and tile cleaning as well as restoration services in the event of fire, water or mold damage. Mike’s white vans will continue to be a familiar sight in the towns and cities of eastern Massachusetts.

Mention you read the big news in our blog and you’ll get 20% off cleaning and restoration services through the end of September. (There is a minimum charge of $130.)

We’re excited about this new step in our business journey, and we’re happy knowing our customers will get the same great service and reliability from Tilton that they’ve come to expect from FCG.

Tax-free Weekend Is Here and Our Stores Are Jammed with Furniture

Posted by Jay Frucci on Fri, August 28, 2020 @ 03: 25 PM

20200829-newsletter-header

 

Hear ye! Hear ye!

Now is the time for all good men and women to have a helluva time shopping at FCG.

Thanks to the great Commonwealth of Massachusetts, we’ve been granted two days of freedom from state taxes: today, August 29th and tomorrow, August 30th. FCG is sweetening the deal with another 10% off, so your total savings add up to a whopping 16¼ %.

With news like that, I feel like I should don a tricorn hat and grab a bell like a colonial town crier.

Tax-free weekend has always been a very big annual event for FCG. Traditionally, it kicked off a busy season of redecorating and refreshing home décor in preparation for the holidays. Now, with the pandemic, our customers are telling us it’s even more important to make home a comfortable and cozy place.

So FCG has gone all-out for this weekend. Our three stores are chockful of the finest pre-owned furniture in all of New England. I promise you, this is going to be one of the best and most fun shopping experiences you’ll ever have at every one of our three stores.

Yes, it’s been a rough six months for all of us. Isn’t it time for some fun? Stop by FCG in Hanover, Plymouth or Natick. We’ve got fun by the truckload.

Hear Ye! Hear Ye! Five Tips for Tax Free Shopping at FCG

Posted by Jay Frucci on Fri, August 21, 2020 @ 03: 25 PM

20200822-newsletter-header

 

It’s almost time to surrender summer. Look, and you’ll see the signs everywhere. We’ve sampled all the flavors at the local ice cream shop. The sumac is starting to blush, a hint of the color that will soon blanket New England. And the annual tax free shopping weekend is almost here.

This year, the Commonwealth of Massachusetts has declared a tax-free shopping holiday for Saturday, Aug. 29th and Sunday, Aug.30th.

At FCG, we’re already in high gear preparing for the event. And, when we throw open the doors of our three stores in Hanover, Natick and Plymouth, they’ll be chock full of New England's finest pre-owned furniture.

Here are five tips for those who might be new to our event:

• Don’t wait until next weekend to start feathering your nest. After all, the best items fly out of our stores quickly. So shop now! Stop by our stores or go online and reserve the furniture and accessories you want. We’ll wait until next weekend to process your payment so you can take advantage of the tax savings.


• You’ve got options for delivery or pick-up. We can schedule your delivery for a small fee after the tax-free weekend. Or you can pick your items up next weekend. Let us know your preference.


• We’re sweetening the deal even more! We’re offering an additional 10% off the current price on any item on the store including our mattresses. The sale starts today and ends September 1. Your savings: 16¼ %.


• Remember: All of the state’s tax-free weekend restrictions apply.


• This is a big annual tradition at FCG, so we’ll be smiling behind our masks. We hope you will be, too.

Blinded by the Frosted Glass and Chrome, I Made a Big Mistake This Week

Posted by Jay Frucci on Fri, August 14, 2020 @ 03: 00 PM

20200815-newsletter-header

 

“Oh, yes!”

I was flipping through emails from folks offering furniture for consignment when a photo caught my eye. Frosted glass! Chrome! That’s exactly what our customers have been looking for in recent months.

From the photo, the cabinet looked like some fancy European contemporary piece, possibly German. My excitement was growing. I emailed the seller for more details but he couldn’t remember much. His other items were quality brands, though, so I figured this piece would be a winner, too.

A few days later, the moving van pulled up to the store. One by one, the movers carefully unloaded our consigner’s furniture, all nice pieces, but I was holding my breath for the grand finale. The Frosted Glass and Chrome was in the back of the truck lavishly swathed in a black shrink-wrap. A priceless masterpiece, for sure!

Like a kid at Christmas, I could hardly contain my eagerness. “I can’t wait to see it!” I said to the mover. He looked at me sourly then offered his opinion in a thick Eastern European accent: “Zis is – how you say—a peaze of sheet.”

Stunned, I thought maybe I didn’t quite understand him. Surely he must be wrong. He shook his head and reiterated plainly, “No, no. You watch. Is a peaze of sheet.”

He tore off the last of the black wrapping. The cabinet of my dreams emerged, then slowly toppled over and crashed on the floor in pieces – on my foot. Apparently, the only thing holding this item together was the black wrapping.

I shook off the fractured pieces and circled the cabinet in a fury. How could I have been so wrong? How had I been bamboozled? This was no exquisite piece of contemporary furniture from Germany. It was, to be blunt, exactly as described by the mover.

It was Ikea.

The mover was looking at me with a smug expression that said “I told you so.” I couldn’t wait to sweep up the rubble and get the cabinet out of the store. Ikea at FCG? Ugh.

Made of particle board and assembled, often ineptly, by customers, Ikea’s stuff is suitable for dorm rooms and first apartments, but it sags and crumbles under pressure. It’s disposable, like a cheap razor. Ikea is the antithesis of FCG.

I wandered off, berating myself angrily. What was I thinking? What a dumb mistake. I should have asked more questions. I should have demanded the sales receipt. Have I lost my touch? I made a vow to myself: never again.

Living in Limbo: The Covid Summer of 2020

Posted by Jay Frucci on Fri, August 07, 2020 @ 07: 39 PM

20200808-newsletter-header

 

Summer of 2020 is a modern-day limbo.

Medieval Catholic theologians fostered among their flocks the concept of limbo, a temporary underworld for the dead that was just a little less tortured than the fiery Hell of the Damned. For some of the more entrepreneurial clergy, limbo turned out to be a sweet bonanza – at least while they were alive. For a fee, they’d offer to purge the sins of the dead and speed their way to heaven.

Rich or poor, we’re all wondering whether it is possible to buy our way out of the restless pit of Covid this August. Like those lost souls in limbo, we have no idea how long we’re destined to stay in this tortured place.

How long will we have to wear those smothering masks? Will we ever learn to follow the signs when we’re shopping at Walmart? When will our kids go back to school?

Even our leaders don’t know how to advise us. A college student I know was advised by her school to “pack lightly.” In other words, don’t plan on spending a lot of time on campus this fall. Another Covid surge could trigger the panic button and shut down the place.

So here we are stuck in a pandemic rut. How do we plan for the future? I think we should all get ready to hunker down for the fall and winter. Our homes will be our castles with a wide moat between us and the world. Here are a few tips on how to prepare:

• Think about creating a permanent Zoom Room. Video-learning and videoconferencing will be an important part of family life in the future. A Zoom Room needs good lighting, a stable work surface, and a clean or neutral background. So your shopping list should have some lamps, a couple of stylish prints for the wall, a comfy desk chair and sturdy desk.


• Family dinner is undergoing a revival these days. The dining room is also doubling as a craft room, a classroom and a work area. For those reasons, a quality dining set is a good investment. Look for solid wood and durable surfaces that can withstand the wear-and-tear of meals, crafts and homework. Rustic tables have been in vogue but they can be problematic. Homeschooling is hard enough without the kids snapping the tips of their pencils in a rutted surface.


• Comfortable upholstered or leather chairs for the living and family rooms should be on the top of your list, too. No one wants to nestle in for a night of Netflix if the seating is old, lumpy or stiff-backed. Your gamers will appreciate the investment, too.


• Is your house too noisy to for you to work with everyone stomping around all day? Remember that fabric dampens sound. Think about covering your hardwood floors with an attractive area rug.


As we wait here in limbo, you might want to update your home now for Covid, Phase II: more homeschooling, more cooking, more binge-watching television, and more togetherness. Be prepared. FCG is here to help.

In the Midst of a Pandemic, Americans’ Hopeful Enthusiasm Will Save Us

Posted by Jay Frucci on Fri, July 31, 2020 @ 03: 22 PM

20200725-newsletter-header

 

Weary and worried are we Americans.

In these dog days of summer, even the smallest of things seem foreboding. The grass is withered. The air conditioner is leaking. The kids are cranky. The mask is suffocating. The virus is spreading. And a dreadful election season is on the horizon.

And yet.

What a remarkably hopeful fragment of a phrase that seems to me. Yes, we are in the midst of economic collapse, a worsening pandemic and a cultural crisis that has set our country on fire. All these things are true, and yet, there is hope.

Our scientists are leading an extraordinary effort to conquer a dangerous and fast-moving foe, the new coronavirus. Our business community is forging ahead to try to revive a faltering economy. Our political leaders are wrestling with big and painful issues. All of us are struggling with unprecedented challenges but we haven’t been stripped of hope.

Enthusiastic hope is a bedrock virtue of America. To quote the philosopher and poet Ralph Waldo Emerson: “Enthusiasm is one of the most powerful engines of success… put your whole soul into it … nothing great was ever achieved without enthusiasm.”

For me, that isn’t just a hackneyed quote. It’s deeply personal. I remember the day, years ago, when we acquired our first store in Hanover. After signing the papers at the lawyer’s office, I drove over to the store, unlocked the door and flung it open like we owned the place, which we did.

In my enthusiasm, though, I’d forgotten to disable the alarms. They started braying incessantly. In a matter of minutes, our parking lot was filled with police cars with their accusing sirens and lights. Oops.

Enthusiasm is part of our culture at FCG, and part of my pep talk this morning with my college-age son as he wearily prepared for a long, sweltering day on the delivery truck. “Try some enthusiasm!” I suggested. “When you show up for your first delivery at Mrs. Carter’s, you might try saying with a big smile, ‘We have a beautiful sofa for you! Where would you like us to put it?’”
Ok, so his response to my pep talk might have been a less than enthusiastic. But I planted a seed. In these dog days of summer, in the middle of a pandemic, that seems like a victory to me.

Don’t Let Furniture Shortages Disrupt Your Reno Project: Shop FCG Today

Posted by Jay Frucci on Fri, July 24, 2020 @ 03: 44 PM

20200725-newsletter-headerBBB

 

Hotter’n a blister bug in a pepper patch.

That’s how my Southern-born wife described our house after our air conditioning unit broke down in early July. When we called the repairman, he warned us of a long and sweltering wait. Replacement parts, he said, were in short supply this summer.

The reason: supply-chain disruptions due to the pandemic.

Think of the world’s supply chain as the plumbing of the global economy. It’s a total bore – until there’s a clog somewhere. Right now, there are clogs just about everywhere in the world. Factories are stuttering to a halt for want of some simple nuts and bolts. And we’re sweating it out here at home while our repairman waits for the parts and equipment he needs to fix our AC.

That’s also a big problem for the new furniture business. Sofas, tables and chairs piled up in warehouses this spring after states issued orders closing stores for weeks. Retailers quickly cancelled orders for more furniture. Now that restrictions are lifting, folks who want to furnish their homes are complaining of having to wait twelve weeks or more for something to sit on.

Luckily, that’s not a problem at Furniture Consignment Gallery. In fact, our pipeline is full and our stores are jammed with inventory. Our trucks are racing up and down the streets of New England, picking up furniture from eager consignors and delivering it to grateful buyers.

Feathering the nest is a high priority for folks this summer after months in quarantine. Smart consumers are preparing for the possibility of spending even more time at home this fall and winter. Don’t let clogs in the pipeline stall your home-improvement project . Visit our three stores or shop online. FCG is full of high-quality, stylish furniture that you can take home today.

Scariest Place on a Saturday Morning: Lake Winnipesaukee’s Boat Ramp

Posted by Jay Frucci on Fri, July 10, 2020 @ 08: 09 PM

20200711-newsletter-header

 

New York’s divorce lawyers are going to be very busy in the fall. I can say that with complete authority after having spent time in the last few weeks at the public boat launch on Lake Winnipesaukee in New Hampshire.

I’ve been vacationing on this lake since I was a kid . This year, it’s a carnival of catastrophe. I blame the New Yorkers.

Trapped in their apartments for the last four months, New Yorkers are fleeing the city in record numbers. Like a biblical plague of locusts, they are swarming north, taking up residence in New Hampshire. On my lake. Oh, and they bought boats, as in large and powerful watercraft they don’t know how to operate or navigate.

Getting a boat into a lake for the first time requires more skill and daring than you might imagine. Speed and dexterity are essential, too. Here’s why: the new – and typically very nervous – boat owner must back his enormous boat on its trailer down a narrow strip of asphalt onto a concrete ramp that slopes rapidly down into the lake.

All in all, it’s probably like flying a 747 through a storm – backwards. While your wife or girlfriend is shouting instructions from the wing and the passengers are making fun of you.

To make things worse, if that is possible, launching a boat must be accomplished rapidly because there’s usually a long line of watercraft waiting for the ramp, mostly owned by jeering locals who have no patience for some rube from out-of-state. (Attention, hedge-fund honkys: your sizzling quarterly returns don’t earn you any respect in the ‘shire.)

Here’s the scene most mornings at the lake: just before attempting to put his new boat in the water, the visibly shaky owner usually dispatches his wife or girlfriend to stand on the side of the ramp to “help.” That means lots of shouting, arguing, screeching, swearing and crying. Sometimes the trailer veers off the ramp, falling into the water with the new boat tilted precariously atop.

If I was a divorce lawyer looking to pad his roster with some well-heeled clients, I’d make a beeline for the boat ramp at Lake Winnipesaukee. Just sayin’.

Don’t get me wrong. Some marriages will probably survive the boat ramp. Those that do will get to discover the extraordinary joys of summer on a lake in New England. Nothing quite compares with the sublime serenity of dropping anchor in a quiet spot and basking in the sun on a gently rocking boat.

Covid is changing a lot of things this summer and will likely change a lot of things this fall. We’re seeing this not only at the boat ramp but also in our stores. Families are spending a lot of time together now. Formal dining is back in style. That’s one shift I never saw coming.

With limited seating at restaurants, and fears of a resurgence of the coronavirus, big family dinners are suddenly in vogue. Customers are flocking to our stores looking for dining sets that seat eight, ten or even 12. “What’s the largest table you have?” is a question we’re hearing more and more at FCG.

Comical as it may be sometimes, families are trying to create new ways of being together in this new and scary era. Visit FCG or shop our website for inspiration. We promise we’ll make it easy for you to enjoy family time. No navigational skills required.