Get out," I said firmly. "And don't ever come back."
I was shocked - and so was he. In ten years of business, I have never once kicked a customer out of the store. Until now. And, yes, this guy more than deserved it.
He approached me at the store one day last week with a question about a "crappy piece of furniture that's seen better days." Actually, the piece was an antique pine cabinet full of vintage charm. Gesturing at it with contempt, he launched into a litany of its imperfections. The doors didn't line up correctly. The lock was sticky. The glue on the dovetail drawers had loosened.
"Your price," he said, raising his voice, "is crazy."
At this point, I must admit, the guy was starting to irritate me. The imperfections, I told him, are partly by design and partly the result of age, neither of which should be fixed or repaired. Apparently angered by my response, he began insulting me, my business and my integrity.
Now, in our business, we see a lot of folks who want to haggle a bit for a better price. In some cases, certain pieces have lingered on the showroom floor too long, and we may discount the price for a buyer eager to take the item home. In other situations, we will demur, knowing that a piece will sell quickly as priced.
Our goal is to keep all our customers happy. Our consignors want us to sell their items for the highest price. Our buyers, on the other hand, are looking for a bargain on quality furniture. We walk the knife's edge every day trying to please both.
At Furniture Consignment Gallery, we welcome all customers, including the bargain-hunters. If you think there's room to haggle on an item, make us an offer. We'll do our best to help you buy the piece you love at a price you can afford.
But try to remember: negotiating is an art best done with a butter knife instead of a hatchet.