This past Sunday I heard a knock at the door and opened it to find a guy who gave me a quick pitch about how he was in town from North Carolina with a tractor trailer loaded with furniture that they were liquidating as part of the “summer markdown.” He went on to say that they were selling it for $0.30 on the dollar and invited me to see what they had in the truck.
It turns out that they were going up and down the street trying to get people to come out to see their wares. We don’t need any furniture, and there’s no way I’m going to buy it off the back of a truck from a guy who cold called at my front door but, curious guy that I am, I went out to see what was up.
When I got out to the street, I noticed that the door of the truck said something about Thomasville Distributing Co. (or something like that) out of High Point, NC. While I’m familiar with the Thomasville brand of furniture, I somehow doubt that these guys were official representatives of Thomasville Furniture Industries, Inc. It seems more likely that they slapped some letters on a truck that made them sound official and then went out looking for some scammable souls.
Anyway, when I got to the truck, it was chock full of apparently new furniture, ranging from a grandfather clock to living room and bedroom sets. They had some slick brochures and official looking price lists, but it was unclear exactly what brand the furniture was. And what about those low, low bargain prices? Most of the full sets were ‘marked down’ down from ~$10k to ~$3k, which got me wondering…
How often do these guys stumble upon someone that’s willing to shell out three grand for furniture off the back of a truck from a total stranger who happened to knock on their door on a Sunday afternoon? It must work at least occasionally, otherwise they wouldn’t be doing it. Beyond this, I’m really curious as to what the underlying scam is – again, I’m assuming here that people with legitimate truckloads of Thomasville furniture don’t make a living by pulling into subdivisions and trying to unload their wares in the middle of the street. I’ve Googled around a bit looking for an answer, but I haven’t run across anything related to this.
Was this really Thomasville furniture, or some sort of knockoff? Were the pieces factory seconds, or perhaps otherwise damaged? Or maybe they were stolen? Then again, maybe it’s perfectly normal for roving furniture salesman to go door-to-door trying to offload a truckload of home furnishings on a Sunday afternoon.
Regardless, I think that I can safely add these guys to my list of people to whom I wouldn’t write a check.
Update: Reader ‘hoops4ever’ provided a link to the Thomasville FAQ page, which contains the following information:
Someone in my area claims they are selling Thomasville furniture off of a truck. Are they legitimate?
No, we have heard of situations like this and would like to caution you about this furniture. While the truck may say that it is from Thomasville (the city in North Carolina), the furniture is not made by Thomasville Furniture Industries. Thomasville furniture is sold exclusively in retail stores – from Thomasville Home Furnishings stores to authorized galleries and dealers. To find the store nearest you, please visit our online Store Finder.