why the fermob tertio table is worth every penny

Tertio Pedestal Table by Fermob

A few weeks ago, we wrote about our bistro table hunt, and our dilemma whether to go with the name brand Fermob or a cheap knock-off. While we weighed the pros and cons of each as well as our reader’s thoughtful comments, we periodically surfed the net to see what other possibilities or info we might find to inform our decision. THAT led to the discovery of the perfect table AND of other considerations in the name brand vs. knockoff debate, namely customer service and resale value.

In a Google search, a Fermob Bistro table up popped we hadn’t see before: a stylish, 3-legged folding table the looked like mid-century one we coveted years ago. We called The Garden Gates, whose ad featured the table, to ask if it came in a matte white finish. Yep.

H-m-m…maybe THIS was our answer: a well-made table that would look great indoors as well as out, would last for years, be a worthwhile investment.  We hung up to mull the decision and called back a while later to buy one.

Steven in customer service was silent for a second. “Oh. Uh. That color will take two months to get from France”, he said. Our heart sank. We’d forgotten THAT part of buying Fermob: only a few colors are actually stocked in the U.S; most have to be ordered from France.

“Darn”, we said. “That stymies things. The table won’t arrive until late summer”.

“Well”, said Steven, “we could loan you a table until the one you want comes.”

“LOAN us one?”

“Yeah, we’ll send you a similar table —the one you want but in black, say. Just keep the box and packing. When you get the white table, we’ll send you a shipping label and you can send us the loaner back”.

“If I write about this on our blog, would you honor other customers the same way?” ”

Yep”, he said.

He made the sale. The interim “loaner” table arrived a few days ago. We discovered another benefit the Tertio has over the original “classic” bistro table we were first considering. The 3-intersecting legs-design makes it easy to get up close to the table without bumping you legs.

Sally Schneider

Sally Schneider

New Orleans-based The Garden Gates reminded us that extraordinary customer service is another good factor to consider. Will the store REALLY take care of you? It’s worth cultivating relationships with companies like this.

We thought of another consideration when buying name brand or knock-off. Often, name brand has signifigant RESALE VALUE. For example, 15 years we bought one of the first Aaron office chairs for a then-frightening $750. Having used it every day for all those years and written two books sitting in it (one over 750 pages!), we were able to sell it on Craigslist for $375, half its original value. So the real cost of the chair was $375. How many cheap office chairs would have come and gone (fallen apart) in that fifteen years?

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10 Responses to why the fermob tertio table is worth every penny

  1. Jim Dillon 06.10.2013 at 3:05pm #

    YES! What a great customer service story. By way of contrast, the customer service where I bought my cheap knock-off was (and is) a blank stare.

  2. Sally 06.10.2013 at 4:30pm #

    Yeah, it was such an oddly “neighborly” thing to do, I HAD to buy the table. And the table has a REALLY good vibe (and great design). We’ve got to reward companies like that, even if only by the occasional purchase.

  3. CD Murphy 06.10.2013 at 6:08pm #

    Resale is a very important point. We’ve moved roughly every two years for the last 20 or so (military). Each living situation is different and I’m constantly selling and buying furniture to fit different configurations. Learned long ago, that having decent pieces is worth it. If I’m lucky, we can often sell and replace with good quality used items (via craigslist) and break close to even!

  4. Sally 06.10.2013 at 6:19pm #

    It was quite an experience. Steven, the customer service guy, also told me about a Museum in NYC I never even knew about. A nice little bonus.

  5. RC 06.11.2013 at 10:39am #

    The table looks fantastic in black too! The Tertio only comes up on The Garden Gate’s website if you put Tertio into their search bar, and then only in a 24″ model, which sounds small. Is yours 24″? In your photo, the table looks proportionately just right with the chairs. Are they also Fermob?

    Also, I looked on The Garden Gate website and didn’t see white listed as an option for the Tertio. Reasoning that “Linen” and “Cotton” could be white pseudonyms I clicked them in the menu but the swatches that popped up looked like pink and putty to me! Do you have to call them to request white?

    Thanks for a terrific blog, BTW. Always look forward to seeing what you’ve come up with for the day.

  6. Sally 06.11.2013 at 11:47am #

    Hi, I kind of stumbled on the Tertio table; though another company is making one, it looks cheesy and comes in lousy colors. I think it’s a new product for Fermob. I believe it only comes in 24″ which is fine for me. Seats two, is easy to move around, makes the terrace look much more spacious, and the legs don’t get in the way, which I think might happen with the 24″ classic Fermob. I also have a larger rectangular Fermob folded up behind the terrace door, in case I want to have a dinner party. I bought it and the two chairs two years ago when I got my place in Harlem. It was the first thing I bought, and it came in handy during the renovation as an “office” table. The original chairs and table are in white, in a color called “cotton”. It is a really nice flat white, not pinkish at all. The table and chairs have been outdoors on the terrace for 1 1/2 years, and you’d hardly know it. Durable and really well made.

    If you have questions, The Garden Gates’ customer service is, as mentioned, incredibly helpful.

  7. RC 06.11.2013 at 1:11pm #

    Thank you for all that info! Very helpful. Love the Tertio and if that is how the 24″ table looks in comparison to the two chairs, then I’d say it’s just right. Good to know their stuff holds up so well. :-)

  8. Melanie R 11.19.2013 at 4:57pm #

    Hi,
    I scored at an estate sale, buying two Fermob Bistro folding chairs AND the 24″ folding bistro table for………. $45.00!!! I hauled it out of there so fast! Looking back at Pinterest, I had pinned the same exact color of chairs and table two years ago…. CRAZY!
    Question I have for you, how do I fold the table up? I figured out the chairs, but for the life of me, can’t get the table to wiggle… HELP!

  9. Sally 11.19.2013 at 10:31pm #

    Wow, that is a score, worth hundreds of bucks. Good for you. To fold a classic bistro table, you have to kind of push one set of the legs in where they have a joint. As you start pushing it in, the table top will start folding in. Then the table should fold up. Yours might be stuck or rusty from not having been folded. If you’re talking about the 50′s-ish 3-legged table we featured, that is a little tricker…One of the legs hooks onto the top to secure it. You have to push it to unhook, then fiddle a bit to see how the legs collapse into each other, and the top folds down.

    Which one did you get?

  10. Bill 06.18.2014 at 7:04am #

    Love the table, and the story. You won’t regret buying Fermob Bistro – we sell lots and don’t get complaints. Haven’t seen that 3 leg version – will tell the boss.

    [Who also lends out furniture when needed urgently before an order comes in. Fermob have so many colours it's impossible to keep everyone in stock. Being in the UK helps though - much closer to Fermob and all the great Italian furniture design houses. :) ]

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