DutchCrafters founder Jim Miller gave employees an entertaining introduction to slow furniture in a staff meeting featuring food, furniture, and a chainsaw. He promised us a meeting to remember and it didn’t disappoint. So we wanted to share it with you! Learn more about the Slow Furniture Movement right here at dutchcrafters.com/slow
Fast Food vs. Slow Food
Jim began the staff meeting by engaging us with a discussion about food. Staged before us were a fast food meal and some examples of slow food. A hamburger, fries, and a drink. And on the other side, apples, grapes, bananas, carrots, cucumbers, tomatoes, and more.
What are some things that we identify with fast food? Here are a few terms or experiences we mentioned:
- Feeling sick after eating
- Factory farming
- Ethical issues
We eat fast food because of busy lives. Because advertising keeps us thinking about it constantly. Because they make it an easy choice when life is complicated.
In contrast to fast food, slow food is:
- Fresh vegetables
- Takes longer to grow
- More expensive
- Prep time
- Sitting for dinner
- Taking time to enjoy food
Fast Furniture vs. Slow Furniture
After our discussion about fast food and slow food, we shifted focus to our specialty: furniture. Jim started the section by saying, “We’ll take a little time in digging in, if you will, to some fast furniture and also some slow furniture.”
Fast Furniture Coffee Table
Jim’s example of fast furniture was a coffee table that had been pulled out of a dumpster recently. This coffee table was built just two years before, in 2017. Here in September, 2019, it had already been thrown away. This coffee table was made primarily of particle board, a low quality manufactured wood product. So we decided to make an example of it.
First, Jim asked for volunteers. Scott and Ryan came forward to pull at it, twist at it, and see if they could break it with their bare hands. Soon, one side’s legs were off and the top was barely connected to the base of the coffee table. That’s when Jim pulled out the chainsaw.
Right in the middle of the DutchCrafters store in Sarasota, Florida, Jim set up the coffee table and just cut it in half to reveal the inside. What did we find after the furniture was cut in half? Particleboard, paperboard, a grid of cardboard, and empty space. The coffee table was mostly hollow inside! Suddenly it made sense why the furniture was thrown away in just two years. Cheap materials and cheaper construction techniques make for a poor product.
Slow Furniture Solid Wood Table
Next up was a table leaf for one of our solid wood tables. It took a little more muscle and a little more time to cut through the table leaf, but soon we saw, as expected: solid wood. An exact match to the outside of the table, maple wood with a natural finish. This clear and obvious contrast between two “tables” shows why furniture is a good choice to join the slow movement.
Introduction to Slow Furniture
All in all, as promised, we were left with a memorable staff meeting. And a newfound understanding of the similarities between fast food and fast furniture, slow food and slow furniture.