Here’s something we all know. It’s a tough time to be a furniture
retailer. In an environment where delivery disasters, people problems,
supply snafus, warehouse worries, cranky customers and unrelenting
uncertainty are the norm, it has to be tough for retail owners and
managers to be happy.
The author Idries Shah tells a story about a man of “comfortable enough
circumstances” who consults with a sage to find a cure for his unsettled
nature and unhappiness. The sage sends him on a journey to find the
happiest man in the world and instructs him to ask to be given the happy
man’s shirt. Upon finding the happiest man in the world and asking for the
shirt, seeker of happiness learns that not only is the happiest man in the
world the same sage who sent him on his long journey, but also that the
sage does not own a shirt. Pronouncing the man cured, the sage remarks
that “Striving for something unattainable provides the exercise to achieve
that which is needed; as when a man gathers all his strength to jump
across a stream as if it were far wider than it is.” The journey the man
took was, the sage explained, preparation to make that jump.
I suspect that after living through an anxiety-inducing 2021, many
Furniture World readers can sympathize with the seeker in this story.
Those of you who know me or have read this column before realize that I am
no sage. However, in this issue of Furniture World you will find useful
information which I hope will provide a bit of wind at your back to help
get you to the other side of 2022. Toward that end, please check out our
interview with Tom Liddell, paying special attention to his sage-like
advice about checkbook issues. Don’t miss the Design & Designer discussion
with product and trend luminary Patti Carpenter as well as tips on
customer service, hiring, delivery, retail funnel metrics and sales
education, written by Furniture World’s wise editorial contributors.
Russell Bienenstock is Editor-in-Chief of Furniture World Magazine, founded 1870. Comments can be directed to him at firstname.lastname@example.org.