Reprinted from September 1996
Because I am old enough to recall the enthusiasm we jewelers felt with special occasions approaching, I recently wrote about Mother’s Day.
After this disappointing gift occasion, I thought about how many items we no longer sell that once appealed to women. Items such as compacts and dresser sets.
If you were disenchanted with Mother’s Day, it is a probability you were also disappointed in Father’s Day.
What have we lost in this trade as appealing as masculine jewelry-related items?
We can hardly sell smoking related items, I long for those days when I could whip out a lighter and feel okay about showing it to anyone as a potential gift.
I recall the beautiful pipes grandfather owned and cherished, and the little pipe cleaning knives we sold to clean them out.
With the casual look today, men wear fewer and fewer cuff links or tie tacks and bars.
If a son or daughter thought about giving dad a nice pen or mechanical pencil, it’s unlikely they’d think about purchasing the item from a jewelry store.
Thank heavens there are still money clips and key rings in a price range most can afford. It’s unlikely most folks think about gold tooth picks or silver flasks, or even a letter opener.
Just before Father’s Day, I asked a woman of the baby boomer generation about her father and what she planned to give him for Father’s Day.
She spoke glowingly about her father, telling me he’d sacrificed to send her and her siblings to college and help them set up their households. He even babysat and was on hand to help them financially.
He had worked two – even three – jobs and was active in the children’s school activities and an elder in the church.
Then she told me what she intended to do about Father’s Day – take dad out to dinner. She felt there was nothing he needed and he’d be happier not fussing over a gift.
I found several children who showed no originality, instead planning on giving dad a tie for Father’s Day.
One man, who drove up in a BMW, was young enough to have a father living, so I asked him what he intended to give his dad.
His face lit up. I felt encouraged. Then he spoke.
“I already have the perfect gift for dad,” he said with a pleased look that gave me the idea he wouldn’t be buying from me.
“Oh?” I pried.
“Yes, I decided to give my dad lottery tickets and he can win his gift,” was his answer.
“How thoughtful” I replied.
Another man told me he was buying his dad a subscription to Soldier of Fortune magazine and an AK-47 rifle.
Then a boy about 14 came in and requested a watch battery for his dad’s watch, which he explained was to be for Father’s Day.
Another young boy told me he planned to give his father a goldfish.
Most young people coming in my store are in the baby boomer generation. They are well employed and generally successful. So I asked another man – fitting this description – if he’d thought about Father’s Day. He said he had, and he was giving his dad tennis balls.
Somehow, I couldn’t equate years of fatherly sacrifice with a gift of tennis balls.
However, the season was not a complete failure.
We sold two watchbands and three watches that retail for less than $100. I was thankful we sold two 14K neck chains and a couple of gold crosses, and even one gold bracelet.
But the magic seems to have gone out of Father’s Day. One woman told me she had decided to pay for a lube job for her dad’s car.
I took down my display this year. I decided times had changed from when we looked forward to giving lasting gifts selected with love, to an age when the trendy or easy-way-out solutions are desired.
As I looked at the space where my display had been, I wondered if I might be wiser to stock tennis balls, auto accessories or computer items.
Perhaps then we’d have a more productive Father’s Day season!