After a hectic morning, I was finally able to sit down at my front counter and eat lunch. Today I was having a homemade broccoli and cheddar cheese soup paired with a hot ham bagel sandwich with smoked provolone. My trick with the soup is to first fry up a pound of bacon, extra crispy. Then, as the soup is simmering, crumble up about ¾ of the bacon and put it in the pot. Then, add the bacon fat as well. Yum, Yum. Then, once… oh wait, I forgot, this isn’t a cooking show.
So, I sit down, I take my first bite, and the front door opens. And there he was; “Hey buddy, remember me?”
Uh, NO! So I just stare at him and say, “Remind me.”
“About a year ago, I came in here and talked to you about making a piece of jewelry for my 10 year anniversary in a couple of years. As a matter of fact, I think I caught you at lunch that time as well.”
Oh hell, now I remember. I’d smoked a pork shoulder the day before and I’d made a loaded pork BBQ baked potato. My secret to the potato is… once again, not a cooking show.
This guy came in the middle of December about two years ago wanting to talk about an incredibly complicated (and stupid) idea that he had about a ‘special piece of jewelry’ for his mail order bride. I told him that mid-January would be a better time to talk to me about it because, well, you know, Christmas is 12 days away and I’m kinda busy this time of year, and I’m also kinda hungry. He wasn’t having any part of it though.
An hour, and 112 degrees later, as my loaded baked potato went from piping hot to room temperature, he proceeded to bore me to tears about something he wasn’t going to order for a couple of years. Well today was my lucky day because he just came back in – to talk about it again – but not order it yet. Oh, joy of joys.
“I think I’ve changed my mind and want to get your professional opinion about something I found on the internet,” he said.
“Buy it,” I said without hesitation. “The internet is the best place to buy jewelry nowadays. That’s where I get all of my inventory. You just can’t beat the deals.” All the while thinking, ‘beat it, buster, I’m hungry.’
Well, that didn’t work because out comes his smart phone and (we’ve all seen it) he starts looking for the pictures he’s saved over the last two years that he didn’t bother to organize before he showed up, during lunch, at Christmas, not ready to order, and still not knowing what he wanted. To be honest though, I was kind of surprised that he was still married.
I gave him the same, ‘come see after Christmas’ spiel I’d given him the last time, but he wasn’t buying it this time either. He needed my professional opinion to help him make his internet purchase next year. Sometimes, shaking your head and being rude is the only tool you have left in your toolbox and you just have to bring it out. Oh, but the fun doesn’t stop there this time of year.
The next day, while having a smoked chicken salad stuffed tomato (my recipe is to die for) that is sprinkled with smoked paprika, I get another one.
“Hey buddy, remember me?”
Uh, NO! So I just stare at him and say, “Remind me.”
I was in here over the summer and you quoted me a price to make a custom engagement ring.
“Well, I checked out a bunch of other jewelers and you were the cheapest, so I’d like to go ahead and order it. And, I need it by December 20th. We’re going to her parents for Christmas and I’m going to ask her then.” Oh, joy of joys, another one.
“Won’t happen,” I said. “I told you when you were in here in August that your deadline to get it by Christmas was the first week of October. If you’ll pay particular attention to that calendar on the wall over there, you’ll see that today is indeed not the first week of October. You’ll need to go back and order it from one of those other stores.”
He told me that they also told him it was too late to get it done by Christmas. So he resorted to bribery and asked me if I could do it if he paid me extra for it?
Well, now he’s got my attention. Not because I wanted the extra money, but because I was interested in how badly he really wanted it. The ring I quoted was around $1,800. He offered me an extra $100 bucks. Uh, no!
Now mind you, he wasn’t ordering a simple stock mounting and I just needed to set his center diamond. If that was the case I’d charge him double, knock it out, and pocket the money – cha ching – Merry Christmas to me! No, what he wanted was a mounting that would take 6-8 weeks to produce, not 6-8 days. And he knew that 12 weeks ago. But, the fun doesn’t end there. While he is standing at my counter, my front door opens up and…
“Hey buddy, can you do me a favor?”
But, in all honesty, there’s just something about the holidays that brings out the crazies. You just gotta get up, go in, take a chill pill, and let it happen. There is nothing you can do to stop it. This will be our 11th Christmas season since the Great American Recession and I’m looking forward to it this year. Remember to tip your bartenders and servers and don’t overwork your shop staff (unless they ask you to), and I hope everyone has a profitable season.
And, for the shop staff, to help keep your hands and fingers from cracking and splitting this winter, order Mary Kay Satin Hands hand soap. It’s expensive, but soooo worth it. You’ll be glad you did.
And, since it’s also the ‘what do you get the person that has everything’ season, I highly recommend my book, ‘It’s Supposed to be Funny’, now available at www.LuLu.com. ‘It’s Supposed to be Funny’ is a compilation of all of my columns, from the very beginning (almost 20 years ago), through today. Just punch my name in the search box and order early and order often. It takes about 2-3 weeks for delivery, and I don’t control distribution, so order quickly if you want one in time for Christmas,
Well, another year is in the books, so Merry Christmas and Happy New Year, and I’ll see everyone in 2019. Now go sell a bunch.
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. Chuck can be reached at 615-354-6361, www.CMKcompany.com or send e-mail to firstname.lastname@example.org.