Last updateThu, 22 Feb 2018 4pm

Martha Williams

The Way It Used To Be: Our mini vacation: “Three whole days to do whatever we want!”

Reprinted from October 1998

Chip and I work very hard. Our store is open six days a week, so when it came to having a holiday on Monday, we decided we were owed three days. We put up a notice on the door and in the newspaper that we’d be closed, and we started making plans. “Well now, think of this, three whole days to do whatever we want!” Chip reaffirmed this, and we congratulated each other on our great decision.

The Way It Used To Be: Technology: can’t live without it (well, maybe)

Reprinted from September 1998

Since RB passed away everything has this as a reference point: “Oh, that was after RB died,” or “Oh, that was before RB died.” I am amazed at the things that have happened to us since RB died. For instance, when RB was alive we did not own a cell phone. Cell phones were around in 1991, but did not enjoy the popularity they do today, and now the costs are within the reach of just about anyone.

The Way It Used To Be: The Wall Street bum

Reprinted from July 1998

By now someone has written about just about everyone connected with the jewelry business but no one has written about the subculture, which occupies the alley in the back of my store.  Some years ago I noticed we were being graced by a local bum who took up an uninvited residence in the alley. Time went by and he didn’t beg or borrow nor did he cause any apparent ripples. Other than being very unkempt no one would know he was around.

The Way It Used To Be: From kidney stones to bladder problems, don’t miss a great sales opportunity!

Reprinted from June 1998

Art Linkletter and Bill Cosby talk about the darndest things children say. It has been my experience that the things kids say don’t have an edge on what customers say - without being asked.

People seem determined to unburden themselves on you whether you are interested or not. Of course you get the generic information thrust forth by doting grandparents about their grandchildren and their antics. This is not what I mean.

The Way It Used To Be: Shopping your competitors - How dare you!

Reprinted from May 1998

For some years before RB died, he used to read the paper or some magazine and sigh, “Martha, I’ve lived too long,” not wanting to believe what he was reading. I realized last month when I read an article in another jewelry related publication that I had come to the place RB had been several years ago. Reading that article and realizing it was set forth as the way to do business made me sigh that I must have lived too long.

The Way It Used To Be: Rummaging through the garbage can save you money

Reprinted from April 1998

Over the years, we have had some of the best employees in the United States. There seems to be a common bond or thread woven through almost every employee, and an equally common bond or thread woven through employers, so that employees will tend to think more link employees. But if they were to suddenly come to own a jewelry store, it would probably be very different.

The Way It Used To Be: The truth, the whole truth and everything but the truth

Reprinted from March 1998

Recently Bill Clinton was admonished for possibly telling a lie concerning his involvement with a young intern. Since no one here ever tells a lie - not us, not customers - I decided to make notes during the day about how honest we all are here.

The first customer through the door passed at the counter, reached up and removed his nose earring from an ample flared nostril and deposited it on the counter asking Chip to clean it. Chip looked at it without picking it up and said, “Ah, our ultrasonic is on the blink, why don’t you take it over across the street, their ultrasonic is working and they will be happy to clean it for you without charge.” I think I caught two possible untruths here. 1) The ultrasonic was not broke or out of whack and 2) The people across the street were not going to be any happier to clean it than we were.