I was sitting at the front counter of my store, having a late lunch one day. It was the end of May, the sun was shining, and the landscaping looked spectacular out the front window. I was eating a chile relleno casserole that I’d made the night before. It’s always so much better the next day you know. Then she came through the door holding a bunch of papers in her hand.
“Are you the jeweler?” she asked me, totally ignoring the scrumptious plate in front of me.
I told her that I was as she proceeded to interrupt my lunch with her tale of woe.
“My ring is broken, but I have insurance on it,” she said trying to shove the wad of papers into my hand. I picked up my lunch tray and carried it to the back, grabbing one last bite, because I could tell that this wasn’t going to be a quick one. She had your basic halo style ring with micro-pave set diamonds going down the band, and the very last one was missing; pretty typical. While I’m looking at her ring she was going on and on and on about her “insurance.”
I informed her that I didn’t know anything about her insurance policy, but I could certainly repair her ring for $65. I also explained to her that she would need to pay me when she picked it up and then she could turn the receipt over to her insurance company for reimbursement. She then told me that her insurance company had told her to come to my store. I said they probably just Googled ‘jewelry repair Nashville’ and my name popped up, once again reiterating that she would need to pay me and deal with her insurance company afterwards. She agreed and left the ring with me.
So, the next day, she comes in to pick up her ring and asked if I had heard from her insurance company yet. I told her I had not, and that her total was going to be $71.01 after tax. Then the look of horror came across her face. WHAT? Why in the world was I charging her when she had insurance? She asks about the insurance company again and I told her I didn’t know anything about it. She reluctantly hands me her credit card and as I’m running it, I casually say something like, “I’ll e-mail you the receipt. Good luck dealing with the insurance company. You know how they can be sometimes.”
Now, for the record, this is just something I say to everybody that has to deal with an insurance company. Then she left; mad at me! And, for the record, her ring looked great after I was finished with it. She forgot to notice that I did a really good job on her repair and I even tightened up about 10 other loose diamonds that were about to fall out.
About 15 minutes after she left, I get a notification that someone had just posted a negative review online. I pull it up, and you guessed it – it was her. She was appalled that she had insurance and I charged her and I was no help to her in filing her claim. Then she said that she couldn’t believe I’d tell her ‘Good luck getting paid’ while she was paying me! Oh, the horror. She was just mad because she had to actually pay me exactly like she’d agreed to the previous day.
Now for starters, let’s understand something. This was just a repair, not an insurance claim, something I tried to explain to her the previous day. Secondly, I got about a 14 page document from her insurance company around a week later that they wanted me to fill out to begin the reimbursement process before my company could get paid (which I shredded). And, her insurance company also stated they would only pay $35 for this particular repair, not $65.
The way I see it, someone sold her something that they couldn’t deliver. This was all done by another store, in another state, and that store is no longer in business (go figure). Then, when she needs some minor repair work done, she comes to me and I do an expert repair on her ring. Finally, when it was all said and done, all can think is… Why are you mad at me?
And, we’re never gonna run out of the people that come into our very reputable, very expensive to operate brick and mortar stores to find out – Did I get a good deal on this?
The internet has opened up a whole new world of places for people to foolishly spend their money with fraudulent shysters. Yes, we’ve all seen the flashy websites, the endless promises, the glowing testimonials, and the examples of other websites selling the exact same thing for twice the price. There’s always the expert photography of jewelry way nicer than the jewelry they’re actually going to ship to you. There’s the picture of the watch that’s way nicer than the watch you’re going to get in the mail. Which is why they are now standing in front of you…in your store…asking your expert opinion…about their new purchase…that just came in the mail this morning.
“Did I get a good deal on this?” they ask.
Of course, you’re kind of scared to even hold it because you don’t want it to fall apart in your hands somehow making you responsible for whatever it is they just purchased. Then you’ve got to figure out a tactful way to tell them that, “No. You didn’t get a good deal. In fact, you got ripped off big time buddy. Good luck getting your money back.” But, for God’s sake, don’t tell them “Good luck dealing with the insurance company.” That didn’t work out so well for me the last time.
Then they pull out their smart phone and show you the flashy website. You’ve got to admit, it is flashy. They show you all of the pictures that are posted on their flashy website right alongside all of the glowing testimonials. But, none of that matters because what they got in the mail was nothing like what the company advertised and now they’re trying to make it your problem. I once had a woman say to me in this situation; “Maybe you just don’t know much about expensive watches.” I told her, “Maybe you just didn’t buy an expensive watch.”
Anyway, now you’ve burst their bubble, and being as you’re the bearer of bad news, they are now mad at you. As they repack their purchase (which always comes with way too much packaging to make them think it’s better than it really is), they’re mumbling under their breath about how you probably don’t know what you’re talking about and they’ll take it to that ‘good store’ across town because they’ll know more than you. Then, as they leave your store mad, you just can’t help but think…Why are you mad at me?
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.