Well, well, well, here we are once again at the most important time of the year for the jewelry industry. That time of the year that brings out the best of the crazy in people. That time of the year when normal people decide to show their craziness right out in the open... usually in my store. Since this will be my 35th Christmas season as a jeweler, I’ve seen some of the funniest, craziest, and stupidest things you can imagine. But, it seems, every year the following happens...
A young guy comes in on December 23rd and needs to have a 1 ct. diamond set. Not an unusual request, mind you, but look at the calendar. He ordered the diamond from one website and the mounting from another. I looked at the job and told him it would be $500 to have it set and finished by Christmas Eve when he planned to propose. He thought the price was high. I know the price was high. But, I kind of have a policy around my store that I’m going to take away all of the savings you realized by buying it elsewhere and put the money in my pocket.
He asked me if I knew of anyone that would do it cheaper. I told him I didn’t. He told me he was going to check a couple of more places first. I said okay, but the small hole in my schedule to set his diamond would probably fill up within the hour. He doesn’t show up until about noon on Christmas Eve when he realized I was his only hope. Since I have a little party at my store every Christmas Eve, I was already way into the egg nog by noon and there was no way I was touching his diamond. He told me he was going to go home and try and set it himself. I just said good luck.
We’re all going to get the guy that comes in around mid-November to discuss that “really big” Christmas present he’s planning this year. You know, the custom piece that’s gonna require you to find black, yellow, and pink sapphires, and have some CAD/CAM work done, and then have it cast in pink and green gold. You work up an estimate and the customer asks for a few days to think about it. You warn him about the time crunch and he says he fully understands and will get back to you within a day or so... and never does. No, this customer isn’t going to show up again until December 19th and tell you that it’s a go. Let’s make this piece happen. Yeah, right!
And, it never fails that we’re all gonna get that customer that comes in and wants to talk about the custom piece that’s gonna require you to find black, yellow, and pink sapphires, and have some CAD/CAM work done, and then have it cast in pink and green gold... for his anniversary in April and wants an estimate by tomorrow so he can start planning and saving. Geez.
And every single year I get a few customers that bought something at a pawn shop down the road and need me to do a sizing while they wait because the pawn shop told them about me. Oh, and they can’t believe I’m going to charge them since they just bought it... from someone I don’t know. How dare I charge them?
And every year there is the person who also bought something from someplace other than your store and wants to buy one of your expensive velvet ring boxes so they can look good when they give it to their sweetie. A word of caution from Lisa Morehead of Masman Jewelers. Think twice about giving or selling them a box with your store name stamped on it. She did that a few years ago and the woman who was given the piece of jewelry in the Masman Jewelers box thought it came from there. When diamonds started falling out she tried to make Lisa cover it under warranty. Ha. Ha.
And I know I’m going to see a few people that bought something off the Internet and want a free appraisal to reassure themselves that they didn’t get ripped off. Not gonna happen.
And, I’ll see a few customers that bought something from another store and bring it to me for a free appraisal to make sure they didn’t get ripped off from my competitor. That’s not gonna happen either.
I know for a fact we’re all gonna have the guy come in with about 8 or 9 sheets of paper that he printed off the Internet while researching diamonds and say, “I need to pick your brain for a little while to help me decide which one of these is the best deal.” Uh, not just no, but Hell no!
Of course, not all customers that come in with all the printouts are buying a diamond. At least one or two of them this year will be looking for a piece of designer jewelry, but without the designer price tag. They’ll show us the printouts from 5 different places that sell it with prices ranging from $549 to $629 dollars and they want to know if I can hand fabricate one cheaper. And, they’re asking me on December 12th. Uh, no again.
And it’s a guarantee that someone who visited my store on a lazy July afternoon and inquired about an expensive repair is going to show up in late December and tell me they decided to have the work done as a Christmas present. It’s here I point out the fine print on the bottom of my estimate sheets that says, “This estimate is good for 30 days (excluding November and December).” There’s a big difference in what I charge to do a job during the middle of the summer doldrums and what I charge if I have to stay up till 3:00 am to get it done. FYI, I charge way more at 3:00 am.
But, all of these people aside, I also know that 99% of the people that come into my store this December are going to be happy, easy to work with, and most of them will be people that I’ve seen every December for the last 20 years, and we’ll all be able to say hi and catch up with each other’s lives. It truly is a magical time of the year.
It’s the Christmas Season, so everyone keep your wits about you and have fun and sell a bunch.
See ya’ in 2013!
And don’t forget, for the person that has everything, you still have time to order a copy of “It’s Supposed to be Funny” in time for Christmas delivery. “It’s Supposed to be Funny” is a collection of every column I’ve written through the years. Go to www.LuLu.com and just put my name in the search box. Please allow 2 weeks for printing and delivery.
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.