Last updateWed, 19 Feb 2020 12am

The Retailer’s Perspective: Well, they said

Through the years, I’ve written numerous times about how irritating those people that we call customers can be. They interrupt my lunch every day. They waste my time several times a day. And they bore me with their stories about 1,000 times a day, every day! And, they always want to enlighten me with their vast knowledge of this industry, utilizing information that they’ve learned from ‘they’.

You know who they are: “Well, they said that it’s a real diamond because it will scratch glass.” Immediately followed by, “Here, watch this,” as they attempt to prove it to you on top of your showcase. I don’t know which I’m quicker at, stopping them from trying to scratch my glass with their CZ, or stopping them from slobbering all over their finger to get a ring off.

They also say that jewelry stores mark up their merchandise 500% so they demand a discount. Now, now, we all know that’s not true. In fact, it’s kind of ridiculous. Heck, who could even make a living with a mere 500% mark-up? If I can’t make 900% I’m not going to even try to make the sale. Of course the people that say that have never had to make a yacht payment before. And, with the sky high price of aviation gas these days, they have no idea how much it costs to fill the tank on my private jet either. 500% my butt!

“You know, they say that diamonds are not really rare. They say that diamond prices are artificially inflated to make you think they are more valuable than they really are.”

I think they are right on this one. I mean, it doesn’t cost very much to buy a fleet of those dump trucks that each have 14 tires that are taller than my house. And, digging a hole 2,000 feet into the ground and removing a million tons of dirt a day, and having said hole not collapse on you, is not very expensive at all. They must be right about this one…it’s a ploy.

I think it’s common knowledge though that not all diamonds come from a gigantic hole in the ground. “They say that black diamonds come from meteorites.” I just wish they would tell Neil Lane that there are no more meteorites left so he can just stop now. But, at least now, I understand why the designer-to-the-stars only sells his designs at those super high-end, exclusive stores called Kay, Zales, and Jared. I suppose his team of designers and craftsmen go out at night during a meteor shower and pick up all the black diamonds that fall from the sky. And all this time I thought they were just crappy diamonds that someone figured out how to creatively market, and then sell them to the masses.  Silly me.

The other day, just as I was about to change the battery on a Kenneth Cole watch, I was asked if I would guarantee that the watch would still be waterproof when I was finished. I informed my customer that their watch was never waterproof. To which I was informed; “they said it’s a waterproof watch.”

I asked who said that. They said that it says it right there on the back of the watch. I handed them their watch and asked them to point out the word ‘waterproof’ to me, because I couldn’t see it. My customer, pointed out the words ‘water resistant’ and ‘100M’. I told him that meant if he kept his watch ‘100M’ away from water (and yes, I used the universal ‘air quote’ fingers when I said it), then no water would get in his watch. If he got it any closer than that, it would be a goner.

And, in case you didn’t know, they has a cousin that shows up in my store almost daily. Their cousin, ‘I read online’, is a close second to they said on a long list of things that bug the crap out of me. I can’t remember a day where at least one conversation didn’t take a turn for the worse by someone blurting out those three little words; I read online.

I read online can be about anything. Heck, I personally use it all the time, especially when I’m speaking with authority on subjects that I have no actual knowledge of. But, when it comes up about a topic that I have decades of actual hands on experience, it makes the hair on the back of my neck stand up. And a lot of times, it comes from people that work in the finance section of our industry. You know who I’m talking about.  Yep, the mall store employee!

“I read online that white gold comes from south of the equator,” she said with an air of authority, and a nametag that read ‘Angie’.

I was just kinda standing next to a mall jewelry store waiting in line for a warm cookie from the kiosk in front of the store. After I got my cookie, (macadamia chocolate chip in case you were wondering), I decided to just linger a little while longer, to listen and to learn.

“And, pear-shaped diamonds don’t come in a quality better than I1. They cut this quality diamond in this shape to enhance their brilliance,” Angie said.  

Angie’s customer then said, “I read online that diamonds can’t be broken.” Angie replied, “Oh, that’s true. I read online that diamonds are the second hardest substance on the planet, next to moissanite, and the only thing that can scratch a diamond is a moissanite.” They chatted for a few more minutes about the ring and lots of things that were untrue. Although I had finished my cookie, I didn’t want to leave until I heard it.


“And, this ring is only $189 a month. But, for only $18 more a month, you can buy the extended warranty to protect your purchase.” There it is! I knew it was coming. And, at the end of it all, regardless of all of the misstated truths, incorrect statements, and just made up facts, Angie closed the sale! Ya gotta give Angie an ‘E’ for effort.

And, just when I thought it can’t get any worse, I saw a post on the internet where someone said; “I read online that they say that Chuck Koehler fella is a pretty good writer.”

Hey wait, maybe they’re not so bad after all!

Welcome to 2018. Let’s make it a great year!

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. If you would like to contact Chuck or need a speaker or instructor for your next conference/event he can be reached at 615-354-6361, www.CMKcompany.com or send e-mail to This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it..