I swear the worst thing I think the Internet has given the world is the ability to research and self-diagnose all that ails us. If my head hurts, I don’t use my phone to check with my doctor. I use my phone to check with WebMD. “OH NO! Not that. Please be anything but that!”
No matter what the problem or the situation, you can find an answer online. It’s usually the wrong answer mind you, but it’s an answer none the less. I admit I’m as bad as the next person about doing it. But to tell you the truth, I hate it when people do it to me. Here’s what I mean.
Let’s pretend someone gave you a Rolex for graduation, but left out the minor detail that it’s not a real one. Having seen thousands of them through the years, I can tell it’s a fake before you get out of your car in the parking lot. Don’t ask me how I know because I’m not going to tell you. But I know you’re going to ask me anyway. The conversation usually goes like this.
“I just got this watch for graduation from my uncle Tony in Jersey, and I want to sell it. I just don’t like it.”
Of course, what I’m thinking is, “You actually graduated?”
But what I say is, “We don’t buy watches,” hoping the conversation ends there. But it never does.
“I looked it up on the Internet and its worth like $25,000, but I’ll take $5K today.”
I stand my ground saying no, but we all know what’s about to happen next. Out comes the smart phone. And now he’s about to show me all of his research! And let me tell you, he’s done his research. The only problem was he was researching real Rolex watches. Too bad his uncle Tony, the one with the funny accent and the broken nose, doesn’t love him that much. Like I said, you can usually find an answer online, albeit the wrong one.
But I recently had a situation that was just the opposite. I had a guy that inherited a Tiffany & Co.© watch from a deceased loved one and wanted to put it on consignment with me. It was a good looking watch with an automatic, mechanical movement and I felt sure I could sell it for him quickly. Then I did MY research on the piece. I couldn’t find it anywhere. Even Google and eBay coughed up a big ole goose egg on this thing.
My assistant Kaite and I spent a ton of time over the course of a couple of weeks trying to find anything on this watch and got nothing. Of course my customer is saying that it’s probably so rare that only a few of them were ever made. I told him that Kaite and I had no trouble at all finding those ‘rare’ watches because everybody wants them. Google had no problem finding those, but came up blank on the watch I had.
I finally gave up and returned it to the guy and told him he needed to do his own research and get back to me when he found something. As he was leaving, as an afterthought, I asked him if his dearly departed loved one had spent any time in the back alleys of third world countries. He said no. Then I asked him if by chance his relative had spent any time in any major American cities that have neighborhoods that are often referred to as ‘Chinatown’.
“Why, yes. He lived in San Francisco all of his life.”
BINGO! It’s a fake.
Another thing that happens a lot these days is the number of customers that pull up their Pinterest page on their smart phone. They show me some hideous homemade twisted wire necklace with beads and what appears to be multiple objects from a junk drawer. The necklace on Pinterest is $35, and they want to know if I can make one just like it, only cheaper. Uh, let me think. NO!
Pinterest has sparked a whole new phenomenon in the way women shop for engagement rings. What I probably hear the most is, while they’re showing me pics from their Pinterest page, “I don’t want my ring to look like everyone else’s ring.”
My usual answer is, “But everything you just showed me is EXACTLY like someone else’s ring.”
Then she’ll say, “Well this ring has diamonds going down one side. I want my diamonds going down two sides. This one has chocolate diamonds, and I want champagne diamonds. This one is in white gold, and I want mine in rose gold – so it’ll be different.”
I just shake my head up and down like I understand. But in my mind, I’m shaking my head side to side wanting to say, “Stop it! That will look exactly like every single ring you just told me you don’t like!” But, I just smile and write up the order and say, “We require payment in advance on all custom orders. Will that be cash, check or credit card?”
Hey, I may not like it, but I know which side my bread is buttered on!
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.