Ten years ago, for reasons unbeknownst to me, I submitted a column to jewelry industry newspaper called Southern Jewelry News. My favorite columnist Martha Richardson had just retired and I wondered if anyone else missed her column as much as I did. Since it always seemed that everything that happened in her store also happened in mine, I thought I’d give writing a similar column a shot. So, on my 10 year anniversary I thought I’d look back and review what was going on every July for the last decade. Let’s take a look...
I was writing about Things I’m Tired of Hearing in a jewelry store. It’s funny how many times I’ve heard these statements since I wrote this ten years ago. A few excerpts:
“How do I know you’re not going to switch my diamond?”
For what? A better one? I certainly don’t want this one! What was your husband thinking? Actually, I know exactly what he was thinking: I don’t love her that much! Let me have the smaller one. It’s the thought that counts, right?
“I won’t let this ring out of my sight!”
Okay, so let me get this straight. You want to come into my shop and watch me do the whole job, right? Hey... wait a minute. How do I know you’re not going to steal something from me? I mean it is a jewelry shop. It would only make sense that I’d have lots of jewelry laying around. Since it’s not open to the public, nothing in the shop is under lock and key. By the way, we keep all of our showcases out front locked because we think that you are going to try to steal something from us. So there!
“I want my gold back after you size my ring!”
Ahhh, the Summer Doldrums. This column was about how to deal with the slow summer months. Funny how the Great American Recession has changed how I do a lot of things. Here’s what I was thinking in ’03.
For the last 20 years or so I’ve kept a “Summer Fund” going 10 months out of the year. Every week I put aside money to play with during the summer. I go on a vacation that I paid for in December. I build a patio that I paid for in March and April. I close early several days a week. I close to go play golf any time I can find someone to go play with me. I know it’s not conventional wisdom, but I live a pretty stress free life. I recommend it highly! (Ha ha. Stress is my middle name now!)
FAIL! Okay, not my best work. We’ll just skip to ’05.
I was discussing how to deal with incredibly difficult, impossible to please people that come in my store and discussing one of my philosophies of life which still holds true today. Enjoy.
I’ve got kind of a dumb (but true) theory I’d like to share with you: ‘All people are incredibly complicated and screwed up deep down inside.’ Let me explain:
Sometimes you meet someone and immediately realize how screwed up they are causing you to think, “What a weirdo.” Other times, you meet someone and you think they’re wonderful. Then after a few months you find yourself saying “Man, that person is nuts!” (Of course sometimes you have to actually marry that person to figure out that my theory is correct, but that’s a story for later). My point is that when you have a customer that you don’t like now, and you never will like, why put yourself through the hassle. End your professional relationship.
Wow, how things have changed. It was about the growing pains of expanding my business. I had just finished a big remodel and moved my shop right out in front so everyone could see the work being done. BIG MISTAKE! Don’t ever do that. But, it has one of my favorite quotes in it about how to deal with things in business you don’t like to do...
Somewhere in the middle of all of this confusion, my buddy Mark Grosser spells it all out for me. He said what I needed to do was make a list of every task I have to do in my business. Put the list in order of the things I like to do at the top, and then going in order all the way to the thing I hate to do the most at the bottom. Then tear the list in half and hire someone to do the bottom half of the list. Brilliant!
Moving Day. This was the month I moved into my new location after realizing that my original location of 60 years was dead and starting to decay. I was going to go bankrupt if I didn’t do something drastic. After all that remodeling at my old place I just had to walk away. My favorite part of that column...
My guardian angel recently told me to take a drive down a street that wasn’t on my radar screen. And lo and behold, there was a big sign that said ‘For Lease’ in a small shopping center right in front of Nashville’s newest, high end, retail commercial development. And for the first time in what seems like a long time, everything fell into place. Before I knew it, I was signing the lease on the most perfect spot in all of Nashville to move my store. Yeah!
This one was about the pressures of running a trade shop with dozens of accounts relying on you. My favorite part was this:
Let’s start with the main misconception. ‘Bench jewelers get to be creative all day and make beautiful things to our heart‘s content.’ We’re out of the public’s eye and have a much slower pace. We don’t have to deal with the customers and basically knock out easy jobs all day and make a great living.
HAH!!!! Nothing could be farther from the truth.
The title and the first paragraph spell it all out.
“And you looked so normal walking in the door...”
Sometimes you can spot ‘em getting out of their car and sometimes they just outright surprise you. Yep. It’s the crazies. They’re baaaaccckkk.
About the same time I started writing this column, I became an emergency responder. This was what was going on at that time...
“Water, Water Everywhere, but not a drop to drink...”
On May 1st, 2nd, and 3rd of 2010, Nashville, TN experienced what is known in emergency response circles as an MCI - a Major Catastrophic Incident. We fell victim to the worst flooding in the US in years. In a 48 hour period, middle Tennessee received the greatest amount of rainfall in recorded history and everything flooded.
This month I was discussing my philosophy on warranties. My favorite part of this column still holds true today:
I’ve always felt that warranties are nothing more than a marketing ploy by large faceless corporations to attract customers to their stores over their competitors. Hell, the only reason they offer the warranty is because they already know it’s going to fall apart before they even sell it.
I actually had another idea in mind for this month called Adding Back. It was going to be about adding back some of the things I cut back on while dealing with the recession. Well, guess what next month’s column is going to be about because I just exceeded my 1,200 word limit!
Happy 10 Year Anniversary to me. If anyone would like to read my past columns, go to www.Lulu.com where you can find my book “It’s Supposed to be Funny” which contains every column I’ve ever written.
Chuck is the owner of Anthony Jewelers in Nashville, TN. Chuck also owns CMK Co., a wholesale trade shop that specializes in custom jewelry and repair services to the jewelry industry nationwide.