She was circling our showroom, glancing at certain pieces of furniture and flipping over a few of the price tags. But I could tell she wasn't here to buy. She wanted to sell.
When I asked her gently if she was interested in selling some furniture, she lit up. "Oh, yes!" she said. "I've even got photos!"
She showed me a photo of a bedroom set from the 1960s: walnut dressers with square brass pulls and a headboard to match. Her parents had given her the bedroom set as wedding gift, a common practice fifty years ago. She'd polished it weekly for more than half a century.
American-made furniture from that era was crafted so well that it would survive the apocalypse. Manufacturers used solid wood such as mahogany, rock maple and walnut. The wood was properly dried, milled and constructed. The pieces were crafted with mortise tenon joints, simple and strong. Even the brass pulls were substantial.
But, sadly, today's buyers are looking for something different. Those durable pieces are out of style – as unfashionable as bouffant hair-dos and short shorts on the basketball court. "Unfortunately," I gently told our hopeful consignor, "we won't be able to sell your furniture."
Delivering that disappointing news is hard for us at FCG. But our buyers are looking for stylish, nearly-new furniture in pristine condition. That's why we rarely accept any wood furniture from the 1960s, 1970s, or the 1980s. And we're very selective about the pieces we'll take from the 1990s and 2000s. We generally won't accept any upholstered furniture older than five years. Our standards are very high. Sofas and chairs cannot have any sun damage or pet wear.
In the last year or so, even we've been surprised at the rapid shift in furniture styles. Consider the basic double-pedestal mahogany dining-room table that was so popular in wealthy suburban homes. Well, it isn't anymore. Our buyers are looking for more stylish, contemporary and transitional looks in their dining rooms.
We have to be selective to please today's furniture buyer. We know how much your beloved furniture means to you. So we promise to tell you the truth – but gently.