She sees me eating lunch as she comes through my front door just gabbing away on her phone. Granted, it was only chips and hot dogs, but it was still my lunch. And, they weren’t just any hot dogs, they were special hot dogs. When I’m marinating anything for the grill, I’ll open a package of hot dogs and I’ll pierce them with a fork, and marinate them at the same time. Then I’ll grill them and put them in the fridge to reheat later in the week for lunch.
And yes, they are super yummy. And yes, I realize that I’m the only person on the planet that marinates their hot dogs. But, they taste like the best carnival hot dog you had as a kid, while drinking one of those sodas from the concession stand where they put a little bit of each drink flavor in your cup. What I don’t understand though, is why don’t these people ever come in when I’m bored and need some entertainment? Why does it always have to be when I’m eating lunch?
I was about 3 bites into my first hot dog when she crossed my threshold with her phone to her ear going on and on and on – and then on and on some more. I pick up my tray, move it to the back, and walk to the front counter when she holds up her index finger to me, the universal sign of ‘wait a minute’. Uh, I don’t think that’s how this works, lady. My mood, and how much money I think I’m going to make, dictates how I handle these situations, which can vary greatly from case to case.
Well, on this particular day, I was in a bad mood, and the customer was someone I don’t particularly care for in the first place. She came in with her new watch, in the huge yellow box, with the saran wrapped band that takes an hour just to get off, that she just bought off the internet. When she held up her index finger to me, I excused myself to do other work till she was ready for me. She put her hand over her phone and said something about she needed her watch adjusted. I just told her I would wait till she was off of the phone.
A few minutes later, she reluctantly told whoever she was talking to that she’d have to call them back after she finished her business with me. Now mind you, I could hear the entire conversation. She wasn’t discussing the different lifesaving medical options with her doctor, and it was a call she HAD to take.
No, this conversation was more like, “I can’t believe she’d do that. What is wrong with that girl? She’s got her a good man. Heck, I’d take him off her hands in a heartbeat if she wants to run around on him like that!”
Now granted, this isn’t Walmart where you can go in and wander around by yourself for an hour and never speak to anyone. No, this was just the two of us, right here, right now, about 36” apart from one another, looking right in each other’s eyes. We’re the only two people in the room, and one of us is eating lunch, and one of us is interrupting me from eating lunch. Get off the phone!!!
As soon as she hung up, she pokes her head around the corner to try and get my attention to let me know that it was now my turn to devote all of my attention to her. But, I was ready for that. I had my cell phone in my bench tray with the store’s phone number on speed dial. I discreetly hit the send button and two seconds later, just as I’m about to ask her what she wanted, my store phone rang and I excused myself to go into the office to take the call, giving her the old index finger ‘just a minute’, salute that she gave me a few minutes earlier. I told you I was in a bad mood and I didn’t like her, right? Two people can play at this game!
And don’t get me started about the roving ‘experts’ that keep showing up to keep us all in check on what we should be charging versus what we are actually charging. You know who I’m talking about. They’re the ones that carry their own loupe with the JTV logo everywhere they go. And they don’t just whip it out like a real jeweler. Oh no, that would be too easy. First, they plunk their gigantic purse and car keys down on your glass counter. Then they start emptying everything sharp and heavy onto your expensive counter tops, looking for their loupe in the bottom of their huge knockoff purse. Then they proceed to want to look at EVERYTHING in your showcase and impress you with their knowledge. And, just in case you’re wondering if they gleaned any or all of this factual information from Jewelry TV, don’t worry, any second now they will let you know that your suspicions are correct.
“Oh, let me see that one,” they’ll say as they take their arm and slide the 119 objects they just dumped out of their purse across the counter to get a better look at the jewelry below that they’re not going to buy.
“I think your grading and pricing is wrong on this,” I once had one of these experts tell me. I just kept my mouth shut.
“This stone is not flawless. I can see a big incident in it. Since I took the JTV GemTVologist course, I’ve become so much better at pricing and grading jewelry. I think your price is high on this. JTV sells it at 212% off retail every day. Can I see that one over there?” I just kept my mouth shut because the inclusion she was seeing was a piece of crud from the bottom of her purse stuck to her loupe.
And, my absolute, biggest pet peeve of them all is the people that come in my store and want to sell me something. Now I’m not talking about the jewelry professionals here. I’m talking about the reason we all have ‘No Soliciting’ signs in our windows. I’m talking about those people that are selling everything from credit card processing to ‘Buy one Get one Free spa treatment coupons’, or any number of oddball things people have tried to come in and sell me throughout the years. I tell them all the same thing: “If you want to sell something in a retail store, sign a lease!”
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 firstname.lastname@example.org.