There’s an old saying that goes, ‘One in four people is crazy. So look at your three best friends. If none of them are crazy, it’s you!’ Well, I did that test and my friend Dave is the crazy one -whew! But, just because I passed the test today, doesn’t mean I’ll pass it tomorrow. I work in retail and I have to deal with that ‘1 in 4’ person daily. Sometimes, several times a day. Here’s a few crazies I’ve dealt with recently.
A woman, probably in her mid to late 60s stumbles in – literally. She had plastic bread sacks over her shoes, and it wasn’t even raining. She had the crazy eyes and the crazy hair and now she was standing in front of me giving me a crazy axe murderer look. I asked how I could help her. She told me that she just wanted to look and just loved trying on lots of jewelry. Great, just what I didn’t need right in the middle of lunch (and it was homemade teriyaki beef ribs). After what seemed like 12 hours, she settles on an antique cameo pin that was marked $195. She kept coming back to it while I was waiting on her and she finally decided to take it. Then this happened.
“That’ll be $195 plus tax,” I said.
She said, “You told me it was only $95.”
“No. It’s right here on the tag, $195,” I said while showing her the tag.
“You told me it was only $95.”
“No, I didn’t.”
“Well I can’t afford $200. When is it going to go on sale?”
“It’s not EVER going to go on sale,” I said
“How do you know that?” she asked while getting an attitude with me.
Then, if you work in retail you can recite in your head what happened over the next couple of minutes of ‘he said’, ‘she said’. Then, she says, “I’m just trying to spend all of my money as fast as I can because my family is trying to have me committed to a mental institution.”
I had nothing left to say after that. I mean honestly, how do you respond to that?
Then I had an elderly gentleman come walking in and I could see this wasn’t going to go well even before he got the door open. I mean seriously, if you can’t even open my front door, I know that whatever happens next is going to be difficult.
Once he actually makes it inside, I ask how I can help him. He says he needs a watch battery and starts digging through his pockets. Since its wintertime, he was wearing a coat, over a jacket, over a vest, over a shirt and cargo pants. He starts going through the pockets and can’t find his watch and he starts cussing out loud with each empty pocket because he’s thinking he left it at home. He’s getting crazier by the second, and is just about to leave when he rolls up his sleeve and his watch is on his wrist. Go figure.
I take his watch in the back, replace the battery, and hand it back to him and he pays me. He then asks me if I can take a few links out of his Twist-o-Flex band. I told him I could and it would be $12.
Holy crap, that did it. I thought I was already done with this crazy, but now he really goes off. He can’t believe that we would charge for that.
“Why I’ve never heard of someone charging for that. The store I bought it at (25 years ago in a faraway land) always does it for free. All you have to do is….”
And then he proceeds to tell me how easy it is to do and starts getting all worked up again. I just tell him I’ve been charging for that service for over 30 years and it’s still $12 if he wants me to adjust it. He tells me he’ll just wear it big before he pays anyone to do something that easy (it’s not that easy, really) and spends the next few minutes telling me very loudly about it before he finally leaves. Oh, but it’s not over yet.
About two minutes later he comes back. He fumbles with the door again, and when he finally gets inside he takes off his glasses and asks me if I can adjust his eyeglasses. I told him I don’t even adjust my own eyeglasses and he’ll have to go to an optical shop for that. Holy crap, here we go again. He starts telling me how easy it is, and all I have to do is…, and I don’t know why you won’t just take a pair of pliers and bend them, all the while cussing. My assistant and I were just standing there staring at him as he’s going nuts right in front of our eyes for the third time in 10 minutes. After he finally leaves, Katie looks at me and says, “I don’t think he’s a very happy person.”
Then a few days later this happens. About 30 minutes before I had to be at work, I ran by my store and grabbed a deposit I needed to make before I opened up for the day. I’m there maybe two minutes, with my coat on about to leave, when a guy comes up and starts banging on the door holding a watch box in his hands that he bought online. You know the kind I’m talking about here, the kind that has way more box than watch. I walk to the door and tell him I’m not open yet but I’ll be back in about 20 minutes. He tells me he needs the band shortened and begs me to do it because he has to take his fiancé to the airport and this is the only time he could get by my store. Okay, I agree to do it real fast because I’m that kind of guy.
He starts unboxing the darned thing, although way slower than I wanted it unboxed. I reach across and take control and take his watch out of all the boxes while he tells me it needs 3 links removed. I make him try it on and he discovered he only needed two links removed. So I go back in the shop and I hear my front door open. He had gone outside to make a phone call and before I know it he’s sitting in his car. I get finished and go out and wave at him to get back in here. He gives me the ‘hold on a minute’ signal and I gave him the ‘I’m in a hurry here bud’ signal by tapping on my watch. He comes back in and I tell him to try it on. It’s here he decides to tell me that it’s not for him. It’s for his wife and that’s why he wanted three links taken out.
I’m just standing there dumbfounded. I mean, it’s a man’s watch, I made him try it on his wrist and he didn’t think to tell me then it wasn’t for him? So now, in an even bigger hurry, I have to go back and take another link out. I’m watching him through the two way mirror and see him starting to head for the front door. I yell at him to stay right where he was and don’t leave because I’m in a hurry here. And then he gives me the stink eye! I’m like, dude, I’m not open yet, I’m doing you a favor here.
And if your wife ever finds out about your fiancé, you’re gonna be in big trouble. And then…
Well, you know what happens next. Geez, does it ever get any easier dealing with the public?
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 email@example.com.