I remember it like it was yesterday. The sun finally came out after a long, cold, lonely winter. I was having lunch at the little table in front of my store soaking up the sunshine. I’d been waiting for hours for this lunch… at this table… with that sun on my face. What I wasn’t waiting for was them!
“Oh, don’t let us interrupt your lunch,” they said while continuing right on by me into the store. They’ve been in a few times so they know I work there. I’m pretty sure this is the textbook definition of ‘interrupting my lunch.’ I picked up my tray and follow them inside, lifting my tray just high enough to get one last look at my lunch before it turned cold. Then I hear my favorite words to hear at lunch: “We’ve got a lot of projects for you today.” Ugh. Why now? Why always right at lunch? Why not an hour before? Why not an hour or two later?
As she starts digging in her suitcase sized purse for her bags of goodies, her husband starts telling me about all of the jewelry they’ve bought through the years at jewelry stores that weren’t mine. Then she starts complaining about not being able to find what she interrupted my lunch for. After dumping out her purse on my counter, keys and coins scratching across the surface, she admits defeat and starts loading everything back up and telling her husband they need to go back home. Yippee. Since it’s only been about 4 minutes, my lunch is probably still warm.
As they leave, I grab my tray and head back outside to soak up some sun and finish lunch. Their car gets about 6 feet before it stops and pulls back in, exactly two bites in case you’re wondering. Turns out she had placed everything in the glove compartment. So, here we go again with the ‘I’m sorry to be interrupting your lunch’ while interrupting my lunch. I gather up and follow them inside again. That’s when the fun started.
“We bought this on a cruise in the Bahamas. Do you know you can get really good deals on jewelry down there?” Really? I hadn’t heard that one before! Of course once I heard the word ‘cruise’ I quit listening. I already know where this is going to go. Downhill, and downhill fast.
The next 30 minutes was a hodgepodge of can I take the square diamond out of this ring I bought in the Virgin Islands, and set it in the triangle shaped ring I bought in the Caymans? Can you size this ring up 5 sizes and can you size this one down 4 sizes? And you guessed it, she wasn’t happy with any of the answers that I gave her. All while her husband kept asking me why not? And then she said it:
“Well, I’ll just take it to my guy and see what he says.” What the heck? You ain’t got a guy! If you had a guy, you’d be interrupting his lunch right now, not mine! The only reason you showed up here is because you found me on the internet because you didn’t like your guy. Or your guy before that guy. This, people, is why we drink!
Because she decided to bestow one tiny repair on me, I was able to find out her name. And, because most of the things she was showing to me had the name of other jewelry stores on it, I decided to do a little detective work on my own. Turns out I know one of her guys, so I just called him. He said, “Go check out what she wrote on my online reviews.” Yikes! Now I’m sorry I actually took in a repair from this couple.
In the old days, about 15 years ago, we had a saying that went; “If you do a great job for someone, they might tell a friend. If you do a bad job for someone, they will tell all of their friends.” Nowadays, you don’t even have to do a job for someone for them to give you a bad review. You just have to have an encounter with them. I don’t know about you, but I didn’t start my own business to suck up to people I don’t like. I started it to avoid people I don’t like. And I do a pretty good job of that most of the time, unlike today.
I know a lot of people are worried about a customer leaving a bad review online. Not me. Not anymore. I’ve retired from caring about that. The internet has given too much power to people that don’t understand the phrase, ‘with great power comes great responsibility.’
There are now countless lawsuits popping up against consumers that left a bad review and the business owners realized they didn’t have to just take it. They are fighting back. Here in Nashville, a woman left a bad review of her experience at a doctor’s office. She’s now practically bankrupt because of all of the legal proceedings that have followed her decision. The doctor is fighting for his reputation and this lady is now wishing she would have kept her opinion to herself. Something tells me that doctor is not ‘her guy’ anymore.
Like everyone else, if I’m looking for a product or a service, and I don’t already have a guy, I get on the internet to look for it. Then I read the reviews to get an overall picture of the company. If they have 25 great reviews and 4 really bad ones, I automatically research the people that wrote the bad reviews. If you look right under their name, it will tell you how many other businesses they’ve reviewed – and you can read those reviews. For the most part, most of these people wake up every day looking for something to make them even more unhappy so they can go online and write yet another bad review. Here’s one on my page:
Very rude towards my girlfriend and I. Seemed aggravated by having to adjust a watch band. Charged $18. I just had my watch done days before at another jeweler and it was $10 and he had 100% better attitude. I know now not to ever do business at Anthony Jewelers.
Now technically, I wasn’t rude. I just wasn’t very nice because once I told him it would be $18, he immediately told me that ‘his guy’ only charged $10. Really? Then why are you standing in front of me? Why aren’t you standing in his store right now, irritating him instead of me?
I think the internet has been around long enough now that people are starting to realize that nothing you read online can be taken at face value. I feel if you wake up every day, go to work, and do your best, that’s all you can do. You can’t make crazy normal. You can only do your best to not react the way you want to react sometimes. So I just smile and say, Isn’t that special!
If you want to tell me about ‘your guy’ in person, be sure to check out the Bench Jewelers Laser and Technology Seminar on August 16 and 17 in Nashville, TN. Bring the family and make a vacation out of it. We had a great turnout last year and have even more to provide this year. I hope to see you there.
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.