Reprinted from July 1995
I was looking forward to Mother’s Day business this year although this event seems to have dwindled in popularity somewhat over the past decade.
When I didn’t see anyone asking about Mother’s Day items in May, I started mentioning it to some of the browsers I encountered.
Here’s a sampling of what I drew as responses:
“Say we have some lovely Mother’s Day items, rings, pins…nicely priced, too,” I said to a baby boomer female who was looking in the showcase of better rings.
“Mother’s Day?” She seemed in daze.
“Yes, Mother’s Day is only about a week away,” I said and picked up some items to show her.
“Hmmm,” she said as she looked casually. “I don’t think I’ve ever gotten my mother anything for that event and don’t see any reason to start now.”
“Oh, I see. Are you a mother?”
“No,” she said tossing her long blond hair. “We decided not to have any children.”
The next customer was a young man with an orange streak down the middle of his head with a haircut that would have made Custer sit up and take notice.
“Would you like to look at some items for mother?” I asked politely.
I went on, “Are you going to get mother something for Mother’s Day?”
He looked puzzled and replied, “I like don’t know where my mother is. She cut out on me and my father 13 years ago.”
The next customer looked far too old to have a mother so I asked about his wife.
“Sir, would you like to look at some Mother’s Day items for your wife?”
“For my wife?” he replied. “Why would I look at mother’s items for my wife?”
“Well….I just thought…”
“That’s the trouble with you retailers. You are all so greedy,” he snapped. “I come in here to do business with you, to get a little battery, and you want to sell me something.”
I decided to stop being so greedy and let the next few customers slip by. Then I came to the counter to find a girl about 18 years old.
“Are you going to be needing a Mother’s Day gift?” I asked with my brightest smile possible.
“I don’t think so. I am the only gift my mother needs.”
It went on that way all day, so the next day I started over.
“Sir, Mother’s Day is just around the corner. Would you like to look at some nice items?”
He acted like he didn’t hear me and I repeated the question. “Sir, sir…would you like to look at some items?”
“No,” he said flatly. “I already have my gift for my wife, it is a sweeper.”
I was taken aback. “A sweeper? For your wife?”
“Yes, I got it at Walmart,” he said. “She’s going to love it.”
I turned that over in my mind for a moment and thought how generous R.B. had been over the years sparing me such a gift of luxury.
About two days before Mother’s Day we had a pipe that was leaking. I asked the plumber that came in to fix it about Mother’s Day and he was the first person who even looked interested.
“What do you have in inexpensive mother’s rings?” he inquired.
I thought about the very light weight ones we’ve had since…since, well, a long time. Let’s put it this way, the gold was about $35 an ounce when I bought the rings and I got them out to show him.
No one had ever liked them in all these years. He thought they were pretty.
“How much?” he asked.
“I think I can let you have one of these with simulated stones for $69.95,” I answered.
He was delighted and he finished up the leaky pipe and handed me a bill for $69.95.
Somehow, I felt I hadn’t accomplished very much.
For the next day or so I tried in vain to talk up mother’s items only to be told they would be taking mother to dinner or sending flowers.
Where is our jewelry industry?
You know, the Jewelers of America who should be running national ads on why jewelry is the perfect gift for such an occasion. Jewelry doesn’t wilt or make mother fat. It lasts and pleases.
Probably, the directors are taking mother out to dinner instead of buying her jewelry.