It’s a brand new year, but the same old me, and the same old January rush. By the time you’re reading this, I will have just finished my 44th Christmas season in the jewelry industry. I started in 1978 and I think I have a pretty good idea about what to expect in the days and weeks immediately following Christmas. It goes something like this.
Do you size rings?
I will get that question, over the phone, about 600 times a day right after Christmas. I always pay attention to the pronunciation of the word ‘rings’. If they actually say the word ring, I’ll answer yes. If they say ‘rangs’, then the answer is no. You may think that’s judgmental, but ask any bench jeweler if there is a difference between the two when you’re actually holding them in your hand.
Rings are generally pretty easy to size and are usually designed to be sized and adjusted without too much trouble. I call that process mindless entertainment.
A rang, on the other hand, will show up with at least 3 of the 88 invisible set diamonds already missing after being worn for just 2 days. Just putting it in your ultrasonic will kick out about 30 more. It’s best to pick a competitor (that you don’t like) that you can refer those customers to. You’ll thank me later. Your competitor – not so much! You may not believe me, but my 44 previous Christmas seasons tell me I might not be wrong about this one.
Do you size watch bands?
“We do,” I’ll say to the person on the phone.
“How much do you charge?” they’ll ask.
It’s at this point I just pull a number out of my butt that is higher than I would say the other 50 weeks out of the year. Why do I do that, you ask? It’s simple. I’m usually answering that question, holding the phone between my ear and my shoulder, while I’m sizing a watch band for the guy that called an hour ago asking if I sized watch bands. And, as soon as I finish that one, I’m going to size the watch band of the other guy standing in my showroom that called twenty minutes ago.
There is a really weird phenomenon that comes over people right after Christmas that renders them incapable of caring how much something costs, as long as they can get it right then and there.
Maybe it’s because they want to wear it while the person who gave it to them is still in town? Maybe grandma gave them a Christmas card with lots of cash in it this year? Maybe they got a big fat Christmas bonus at work and I’m the first person that gets to dip into that fund. Either way, I’ll gladly take it and gladly size that watch band while they wait. Then I remind them to be sure and give us a good online review for the prompt service.
How long does it take to shorten a chain?
See above paragraph. It’s not how long, it’s how much $$$.
My boyfriend bought this here and I’d like a refund.
It is here I remind everyone to always use caution, year round, when giving out, or selling jewelry boxes to people who come in asking if they can buy one. If they want to ‘buy a jewelry box’ from you, it means that they didn’t buy whatever they are going to put in said box from you. Do you really want your name attached to something that can come back and haunt you?
When we sell something out of our stores during the holidays, we all put the jewelry in nice customized jewelry boxes so the presentation, on Christmas morning, will be noteworthy and stunning. And, just like the Tiffany Blue box, you want the recipient to know that the beautiful new piece came from your store.
So, you might ask, what is the hidden danger of selling a jewelry box with your store logo on it? It makes the recipient think it came from your store, not the internet, a pawn shop, or some shady alley in the bad part of town. Either way, you don’t want any part of it. Everyone that’s spent a lot of time in this industry knows exactly what I’m talking about right now.
The last thing any of us want is an unruly customer, making a scene in your store demanding you give him or her, their money back when you’ve never seen that person in your life. I can’t give you ‘your money back’ if you never gave me any of your money in the first place.
My solution to this is simple. Customers have a weird ritual of always bringing broken jewelry in to be repaired in a jewelry box that they have lying around. I call them jewelry coffins. When they are abandoned on my counter, I toss them in a box I keep under the counter for just this reason. If someone comes in needing a box, I pull out my box of coffins and tell them to pick the one they like, on the house. Especially if it’s from that competitor across town that you don’t like.
The mall store where he bought it will size it for free
The first problem is that the mall store said it will take 3 weeks. The second problem is she doesn’t want to wait 3 hours. This situation is tricky and time consuming, but manageable. It’s tricky because the person standing in front of you already thinks it should be free. It’s not! The person standing in front of you thinks it should be done while they wait. That won’t happen either! So here’s where it gets time consuming.
The young lady will try hard to get me to ‘just do it’ for free, but finally has to resort to calling her boyfriend, husband, or significant other. Then, you can see her over in the corner, or out on the sidewalk, waving her arms around, having a heated discussion weighing the options about paying for something that should be free, or waiting for 3 weeks to guarantee that it’s free.
He wants to wait for the free option. She doesn’t. He uses logic. She uses emotion. He tries another tactic. She doubles down on the emotion, possibly threatening the withholding of love and affection for an unspecified, but lengthy, amount of time. That works every time, and he buckles and tells her to go ahead. This is where the problem really begins.
After a long, drawn out phone conversation, she says she’ll do it because she wants it done today. I then have to inform her that she started this conversation 2 1/12 hours ago when that was still a real possibility. Now it’s 15 minutes till closing time and it just ain’t gonna happen today, but I can have it by 2:00 tomorrow. I use logic. She uses emotion. I use more logic. She uses more emotion. I give her a blank stare and she suddenly realizes she doesn’t hold the same power over me that she does her boyfriend. She then agrees to leave it with me and will be back tomorrow at 2 to pick it up.
I feel sorry for her boyfriend tonight.
I hope everyone had a great holiday and Christmas season, and welcome to 2023!