Despite the risk of loss, loving with detachment

How a couple went the extra-mile with a difficult furniture delivery

4 min read
Marvi and Joe Klock

In February we decided to buy two new sofas for the living room of our new house. We live near the famous furniture centers in North Carolina, and we wanted to find something manufactured locally.

Through our web search, we identified a company that advertised high-quality sofas, and one magazine review called it one of the best eight manufacturers in the U.S. Since they only sold online, we decided to visit their factory 2½ hours away to see samples of their work and to choose the upholstery.

It’s a small company with around six employees. We learned that the owner was selling the business to his employees and helping them through the transition. They impressed us with the pride they take in their work, the quality of the materials and the skilled workmanship. We liked what we saw and heard, so we ordered two sofas and paid for them upfront, expecting to receive them in four months, maybe a little longer.

As four months approached, we called to check on the status, and a very pleasant young woman, the owner’s daughter, told us that we should still expect to receive our furniture during the last week of June. That week came and went with no furniture, so we called in July for an update on delivery. This time she said she would check to confirm the ship date and call back—but she never called. Afterwards, we called repeatedly but no one answered the phone.

We searched the internet again, and this time we found several one-star reviews and complaints from people who had given up on ever receiving their furniture after one and two years waiting! Some said it was a con job, and we began to worry. We also saw that they had declared bankruptcy five years before.

We thought we might never receive the furniture or a refund. We wondered how to love these people with detachment from our potential loss. Since they wouldn’t answer the phone, we decided to drive there to speak with them, not knowing what kind of reception we would get. We prepared some material that might help them as new business owners to obtain free training from the government on how to run a business and made the long drive.

We were apprehensive about the reception we might receive, but the conversation with the same always-pleasant young woman went very well. We spoke for about a half hour and offered some advice, as one of us used to be a management consultant for small businesses.

We were assured that the furniture was almost completed, even though they couldn’t show it to us at the moment, and that we would have it by the end of the following week. We mentioned that we would come back for an update when we expected to pass by in three weeks if we hadn’t heard from them by then.

The following week the furniture did not arrive, and in three weeks, we went back again. They were expecting us. Once again we had a nice conversation, and the young woman assured us that we would receive the furniture by the end of the following week for sure this time, even if she could not show it to us at that moment.

Trying not to judge her based on past experience, we waited but Friday evening arrived, and we had not heard from them. We thought to give them a few more days, because something unexpected could have come up.

Then at 10:15pm Friday night, the young woman called to say they could not find a delivery company and asked if she and her father could deliver the furniture themselves the next day and assemble it for us. So that is what they did.

The next day, they arrived as scheduled. We carried the furniture in together. After they completed the assembly, we invited them for lunch and visited for an hour, talking about our families, their experience as immigrants and the difficulties of running a business.

They said the father works 16 hours a day, 7 days a week to keep the business going to care for his wife and 4 children.

As they left, we sent food with them for their family, and they said goodbye warmly. Walking down the path, they turned and said twice, “You are the best customers we have ever had.” We thanked them and welcomed them to come back to visit.

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