Every Moment Can Be a Learning One

I pride myself on having the ability to find the positive in almost any situation. If you have a frown, come to me so I can turn that frown upside down. Sure, maybe I can be looked at as a Pollyanna, but I’d rather be a Pollyanna than a Debbie Downer. Every moment that is presented to us can be looked at as a teaching one and it’s all on how you look at things.

Last week, a customer came in who had an issue with their Hayes sofa. It seems that their dog saw the couch as a gigantic dog toy and took to chewing on one of the corners. The customer wanted to know if we offered a reupholstering option. Sadly, I had to let them know it was not something we offered, but wanting to see what I could come up with, I asked if they had a photo of the damage. What she showed me made my heart skip a beat or two. This dog didn’t just nibble on the Hayes, it had eaten part of it. I wondered if the dog had gorged itself on a Chloe chair as an appetizer and then had a Galbraith and Paul pillow for dessert. I tried to keep my face from showing the complete and utter horror that I felt. With great concern, I suggested that she call one of the furniture repairers we work with and then we could possibly order extra fabric so it could be recovered. Not wanting to focus on the negative, I tried to see how this horrible situation could be seen with a positive light.

I looked at the picture of the sad, down-trodden Hayes and within seconds, I found the positive spin! *

“Well, thanks to your dog chewing right down to the frame, we can see the kiln-dried engineered hardwood that is used for all of our furniture. You know, engineered hardwood is made by pressing thin layers of solid wood together! It’s awesome!” I said.

“Yeah…umm, anyway, do you think they can repair it or not?” the customer asked.

“Oh, I doubt it, but look at that!” I exclaimed. “Your dog chewed it far enough so that we can really appreciate that reinforced joinery, can’t we? You know, we reinforce every joint in our frames for added stability! Precision-cut parts interlock like puzzle pieces and are reinforced with eco-friendly glues, screws or staples and corner blocks. Reinforced joinery ensures your seating holds together, even with years of frequent use! Well, as long as your dog doesn’t eat it, huh?”

I laughed at my own joke.

“What’s that on the frame there, blood?” I asked, pointing to the red stains on the wood and the rug.

“I had to put Tobasco on there so the dog would stop chewing on it,” she replied, a little bit embarrassed.

“Maybe if you smear some peanut butter on it, we can get him to eat some more of it so we can see the dual flexolator within the frame. Dogs love peanut butter! And look at that fabric he ruined. Tatum oatmeal, that was. See how he shredded the two contrasting colors of micro-boucle yarns? Good dog, good dog! Thanks for showing me this photo. What an excellent learning tool it’s been.”

The customer took the business card for All Furniture Services, hoping for a miracle. I reconfirmed that I would be more than happy to custom order yardage of Tatum Oatmeal if AFS said they would be able to repair the sofa.

“Have a good day,” I said as the customer left the store.

Another day, another negative experience turned into a positive learning one!

* Some portions of this story have been enhanced for reader enjoyment.