Reprinted from March 1998
Recently Bill Clinton was admonished for possibly telling a lie concerning his involvement with a young intern. Since no one here ever tells a lie – not us, not customers – I decided to make notes during the day about how honest we all are here.
The first customer through the door passed at the counter, reached up and removed his nose earring from an ample flared nostril and deposited it on the counter asking Chip to clean it. Chip looked at it without picking it up and said, “Ah, our ultrasonic is on the blink, why don’t you take it over across the street, their ultrasonic is working and they will be happy to clean it for you without charge.” I think I caught two possible untruths here. 1) The ultrasonic was not broke or out of whack and 2) The people across the street were not going to be any happier to clean it than we were.
The second customer of the day spent a lot of time looking at a very nice diamond cluster. We told her all the good things like having great layaway and easy terms, free sizing and so on. She assured us she definitely wanted the ring and would be back that afternoon as she had left her checkbook at home. This un-truth is so obvious as to make a description unnecessary.
Later in the morning a stout lady came in and bought a neck chain. She had several chins and the chain she selected seemed to be too short. Since she had insisted it was the right length, who was going to argue with her? Then she stood looking at the counter top mirror turning this way and that. Finally she spoke: “Do you think this length chain makes my neck look fat?”
Both of us spoke at once, “Oh, no, you look quite nice.” We nodded enthusiastically at each other and the customer reaffirmed our opinions. Such untruths are justified aren’t they?
About mid morning we got a call from a customer behind on a charge account. “I would have been in but my mother was sick and my wife was laid off and my baby had to go to the hospital and my car was broken down. I’ll be in this week for sure.” I’m not sure whether there were several falsehoods here or just two.
The postman came in with 2 pieces of mail. On a normal day we get about thirty pieces including catalogs, advertisements, mail from jobbers and customers, jewelry publications and a daily Commercial Recorder. I asked him where the rest of the mail was. I realized this was a substitute and he responded that was all the mail there was. I was just hoping the following day the rest would follow but figured he was too slow to sort everything for a one-day delivery.
Come to think about it, I think we laid it on UPS for weeks last year whenever something didn’t come in. We just told the customer it was shipped to us, but was at the warehouse unable to be delivered. It was such a handy explanation, I was almost sad when they returned to work.
Just past 3 pm the service station called about my car repair and said they’d been working on it all morning and might have it by closing time, but not positive it would be ready. Since we can see the auto bay from the store window and the car had been parked all day, I doubted this, but then isn’t everyone entitled to his own idea of all day, etc?
Just a few minutes later, I thought about calling the seamstress and asking her about my dress she was altering. She explained that she had been sewing for Mrs. Johns whose husband had passed away very quickly and had found it necessary to set my dress aside being sure I’d understand. Well of course, a new widow, the grief…heavens! But a customer overhearing my conversation told me she’d seen the dressmaker and her husband on the ski slopes near here that weekend.
My son went to look at a motorcycle and the battery was dead, so they had to charge it so he could take it for a test drive. While they were doing this they told him that another person was very interested in that bike and he said he’d be coming back to buy it later in the day. If that were so, my son wondered, why was the battery was dead. Certainly the other customer had test driven it.
I called a customer about a hot check I’d gotten back and she rapidly explained it was a bank error, she was so furious with them she might just take her money someplace else. It really didn’t bother me as long as I got the money, but she went on for ten minutes about all the reasons it was not her fault.
Three women during the day just ‘loved’ special items we showed them, but all three had to ‘ask my husband’ before they could make a purchase. Someone just called me about this article I write every month – It was past the deadline. I explained I’d been in bed with double pneumonia and as they know I am never late.
If people would be just as truthful as me, we’d have no deception in the world!