Just wanted to say how much I enjoy your articles. Being a bench jeweler and operator of our family owned jewelry store, I have encountered many of the same funny experiences as you have. Everyone should have to work with the public for at least a year.
I wanted to share a story about the old farmer with a lot of money that some think is only a myth...
In 1999 we had three stores in operation in western Kentucky. One particular store was in Hopkinsville in the downtown district. At this time we were moving this location to a new building that we were in the process of building. The highway commission was going to make us build a turning lane on 41A, a very busy highway in front of the store.
In the meantime, this old man came into the store. He was in bib overalls, muddy boots, and a dirty hat. He looked around and bought a silver charm for $5.00. As I was ringing it up, he wanted to look at a ring. My thoughts were, “hurry up, I can’t stand it anymore.” He looked at a ring for over $1,000 and said he would take it. While I was wrapping it, he looked at another and then another until his bill exceeded $7,500.00.
While he was counting his cash, and I was getting up off the floor from shock, we began talking about our move and the new building. We told him about the problem with the turning lane that was going to cost us over $125,000 to build. I guess he decided he liked us and he said, “Well, I’ll talk to Paul about it.” Later in the conversation, Paul turned out to be Paul Patton, the governor of Kentucky at that time.
A couple of weeks later, we were notified we no longer had to pay for the turning lane. Turns out, this dirty, smelly man was visiting in town on a hunting expedition, owned a regional bank in eastern Kentucky and was a Cabinet member of the Governor’s.
WOW!!! Never know who is coming through the door. A thousand times it may be a slob, but the one time you don’t take it seriously, it could be a savior like it was for us.
By the way, our 2008 business has exceeded the best years we have had in the past and we have been in business 30 years.
James’ Jewel Box
Mount Washington, KY