As the long-time owner of a couple of small businesses, I’m always surprised at the gall that some people possess. It makes me want to post a ‘Terms and Conditions of Entry’ sign on my front door and require everyone to read, understand, sign and adhere to it. It’s still a work in progress, but with the help of my readers across the country giving me new ideas, I’ve now completed the third segment of this document. Part III goes something like this.
Using inspiration from the Game of Thrones series, I decided that I’m trading in my trap door over in the corner (segments 1 & 2) and replacing it with a fire breathing, man-eating dragon. And holy moly, is my new pet dragon gonna be busy. I’ve named her Brenda, and she has zero tolerance for rule breakers and bad behavior.
To get Brenda’s attention that she’s about to get some food…errr, I mean ‘work’, I just make that little *click click* noise with my tongue and cheek like they do in the old westerns to tell their trusty steed to get-a-move-on. Then, I just ask my customer to go over and pet my sweet Brenda.
‘Poof! Problem solved!’
The day after I got Brenda, I was sitting in my office, minding my own business. I’d just made a couple of profitable sales so I thought I’d do my part to spread the love around and pay some bills. Then, I heard my front door open and saw a well-dressed, young man come in. Sweet! I bet it’s another profitable sale. Heck, I might be able to actually get current with some of y’all.
“What can I do for you,” I asked, excitedly.
“Yes, I’d like to make my girlfriend an engagement ring with an alexandrite. I’ve been researching them and that’s what I want to do. Do you make custom rings?”
I told him that we did, and he and I exchanged a few pleasantries about how happy he was to finally find someone that could make his dreams come true. Then we talked about the specifics of alexandrite, the color change effect, their rarity, and I’m really beginning to like this guy. Then, while standing in my jewelry store, he asked; “Do you know where I can go to buy the alexandrite for this ring?” *click click*
I told him that I didn’t know right off the top of my head, but why didn’t he go over to the corner over there and pet Brenda while I make a few calls for him. Ewwww, she sure loves her work!
Another thing I think we can all relate to is the myriad of experts that present themselves to us across our counters on a regular basis. You know the type. That person that makes you question why you ever invested in an education in this industry. Because, let’s face it, you’re never gonna know as much as these people.
Let me tell you, the Texas Institute of Jewelry Technology (my alma mater) apparently has nothing on the JTV jewelry school. And, years of professional experience is apparently not needed either. Why, just last week a lady came in to show me all of the gemstones she’s bought over the years off the television. As she was going over all of the made-up names of ugly rocks in impressive plastic packaging, I’m wondering why she’s here? As she’s telling me all about each one, I finally asked; “Ma’am, why are you showing me these lovely stones?”
She told me she just thought I’d like to see her collection and learn a little something about gems and gemology. *click click*
“You know who loves to hear about gemstones?” I asked. “Brenda, over there in the corner. Why don’t you go over and say hi to Brenda who’s looking hungry…errrr I mean lonely”.
I also learned recently that JTV also sells jewelry tools so you too can become a jeweler at home – in your spare time. I know this because I had a customer come in with a broken multi-colored, multi-strand gemstone bracelet that she made and couldn’t understand why it broke after only 4 weeks. As she poured about 600 pieces of garbage out on my counter, she told me that she bought her own jewelry making tools from the TV and brought them with her in case I needed to borrow them to fix her necklace.
After looking at the broken, hideous creation on my counter, I told her I didn’t do any restringing work. We actually do offer restringing; I’m just not going to stoop to this level. Then, picking up her tools, she proceeded to tell me how easy it was going to be. “All you have to do is take that broken end, and…” *click click*
“Oh looky, Brenda wants to see your fancy tools. Why don’t you take them over and show her.”
Many years ago, before cell phones, people would come into our stores and ask us to borrow the phone. It was usually a call for a ride home, or something quick and easy, and they didn’t want to drop a dime into the pay phone right beside my front door. If it was a customer, you’d say sure, and hand them your phone. If it was a person you didn’t know, you’d ask them if it was a local call. Then you’d tell them to make it quick because it’s a business phone. And, it was never quick. It usually ended up in a shouting match in your store between two people you don’t know. But, since you could hear one side of the conversation, you were pretty sure that you really don’t want to know either of them.
Now, since everyone has their own phone, if anyone asks me to borrow my phone, my stock answer is; ‘the battery is dead’. There’s no way I’m handing my $1,200 handheld computer to someone who can run faster than me. Nowadays, these same people come in, camp out in your comfy customer chairs and ask:
“Hey, what’s your wifi password?”
And don’t forget about the 2nd annual Bench Jewelers Laser and Technology Conference, August 16th and 17th in Nashville, TN. Bring the family and make a vacation out of it. If you already have a laser, you’ll learn new, profitable skills. If you’re thinking about buying a laser, multiple vendors will be showcasing their products for you to sit down and test drive.
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.