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A Sales Associate Notices a Discrepancy in the Store’s Inventory, Only to Later Realize It Was His Own Fault

How would you solve “the mystery of the missing diamond”?




IN THE HEART of a Midwest downtown stood a well-known jewelry store named Diamond Emporium. Run by the passionate and meticulous owner, Mr. Charles, it was known for its upscale collection of diamonds and exceptional customer service. Diamond Emporium prided itself on its rigorous inventory management system and strict security protocols. Their dedicated team of sales associates were each handpicked for their professionalism and attention to detail.


Real Deal is a fictional scenario designed to read like real-life business events. The businesses and people mentioned in this story should not be confused with actual jewelry businesses and people.


Megan Crabtree is the founder and CEO of Crabtree Consulting. Before founding Crabtree Consulting, Megan had a successful professional career in the jewelry industry, which culminated with high-level positions at several of the top firms in the retail and manufacturing sectors. Reach her at or visit us at where you can set up a live chat or a 30-minute free consultation.


One weekend, Diamond Emporium hosted a highly anticipated loose diamond event with one of their best vendors who often drew in a substantial crowd of diamond enthusiasts and prospective clients alike. They prepared for the influx of visitors by staffing the store with more sales associates than usual.

Among them was Jason, an ambitious young man with a keen eye for diamonds and a passion for customer satisfaction.

The day began with a flurry of activity as the team set up the event space, ensuring each display case was arranged perfectly to showcase an array of loose diamonds. As the doors opened, the store buzzed with excitement, with employees strategically positioned throughout the store to assist clients and answer any questions they may have. In addition to walk-in customers, Diamond Emporium had scheduled several client meetings with potential buyers who were interested in viewing the exclusive selection of loose diamonds.

During the event, Jason helped a new customer named Henry. Jason learned that Henry had attended the event with one purpose in mind: to select the perfect diamond for his upcoming engagement proposal. However, Henry expressed his desire to explore a few other jewelry stores before making a final decision. To accommodate Henry’s request, Jason agreed to place a 24-hour hold on the selected diamond with no deposit required, ensuring it would be reserved for him while he continued his search. With Jason’s guidance, Henry carefully selected a stunning diamond and left the store knowing it would be securely set aside until his return.

Throughout the remainder of the day, the store was abuzz with activity. The event was well attended, captured some large sales, attracted new clients, and was a testament to Diamond Emporium’s reputation for exceptional customer service and selection of high-quality diamonds.


The following morning, during routine stock checks, Jason noticed a discrepancy in the inventory. According to the store’s protocol, loose diamonds were to be counted twice daily, with each transaction meticulously logged. Furthermore, every diamond shown had to be weighed in and out, with employee initials recorded to maintain a precise inventory record. If a customer could not provide payment immediately, a diamond could be placed on a 24-hour hold, but it had to be moved in the system to the manager’s box. However, in the hustle and bustle of the recent busy event weekend, an unfortunate oversight occurred. While the evening count had revealed a missing diamond, the staff had neglected to investigate further and print an inventory report to pinpoint the exact item that had gone missing amidst the heavy foot traffic.

As the realization sank in, Jason quickly notified Mr. Charles of the discrepancy, and together, they sprang into action. Running an updated inventory report, they began brainstorming strategies to retrace their steps and locate the missing diamond. They focused on areas where the oversight may have occurred.

Suddenly, a sinking feeling settled in Jason’s stomach as he made a startling connection. Recalling his interactions from the previous day’s event, he remembered assisting Henry, who had placed the deposit on a diamond for his upcoming engagement proposal. Jason realized that he had forgotten to move the diamond in the system into the manager’s box, and that was why the inventory counts were off.

The Big Questions

  • What additional steps could Diamond Emporium have taken to prevent the oversight during the busy event weekend?
  • How can the store prevent similar incidents in the future and enhance its loss prevention strategies?
  • Should Diamond Emporium reconsider its policy of allowing holds without a down payment to ensure that all activity is accurately recorded in the system?


Mary T.
Leavenworth, WA

They need to get some money down on the stone, even if it’s a nominal amount. It’ll help with their system and ensure the customer will return.

Scott L.
Brockton, MA

It seems pretty straightforward. No one counted the manager’s box in the evening or morning.

Susan M.
Dunedin, FL

I will ask for a hefty deposit for a 24-hour hold. I only do this with the understanding that if someone else is willing to purchase the item immediately, during that time, the deposit will be refunded. If a customer asks to purchase the item, I explain that it is on hold and I will immediately call the first client and offer them “first refusal.” If they do indicate they are indeed buying the item, then the deposit is applied to the purchase price and is no longer refundable should they renege on the purchase.

Jessica C.
Greenfield, WI

We employ most of the same security checks (all but the manager’s box) and also offer holds (three days for $100). The big difference is that no one is allowed to leave the store at the end of any shift if loose diamonds are not accurate. I personally think if they made that change to the store policy, they wouldn’t be in this situation.

Patrick T.
Centerville, OH

It seems like an honest mistake by Jason, but thankfully was proactively caught with an already properly implemented set of systems. A brief panic was just that, brief. This store seems well equipped to catch discrepancies prior to them getting out of hand. That being said, any movement of items within the store should be tracked on the POS/inventory software to ensure that they are easily located. In order to prevent this in the future, maybe a tracking sheet for movement to an associate’s or manager’s bin can be created. The store should have someone in charge of actively checking the sheet. Although a 24-hour hold on a diamond does not seem unreasonable for most stores, zero money down may not work for the busiest of stores, depending on the popularity of said diamond. Nonetheless, indicating where an item is located within a luxury establishment is always the priority!

Raymond C.
Grass Valley, CA

The protocols are more than enough. The problem is in training or employees following through on company policies. They should have a separate hold box for items so it can be checked for inventory discrepancies.

Richard D.
Falls Church, VA

Do not move from one inventory to another (manager’s bin). Simply place on the individual diamond’s record that the diamond is on hold for (Customer Name) through (specific date). That’s it.

Aslam B.
Miami, FL

You snooze, you lose! How many times does a client actually come back? Here is what I would do. If the client is really serious about his purchase, a fully refundable $100 deposit should have been taken to ensure securing the purchase for 24 hours. This way, the diamond is kept aside. This also keeps the client interested in coming back for the diamond or at least to take his refund back, which gives the store one more opportunity to deal with the sale. And next time, Jason needs to work with one client at a time.

What’s the Brain Squad?

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She Wanted to Spend More Time with Her Kids. She Called Wilkerson.

Your children are precious. More precious than gold? Absolutely! Just ask Lesley Ann Davis, owner of Lesley Ann Jewels, an independent jewelry store that — until the end of 2023 — had quite a following in Houston, Texas. To spend more time with her four sons, all in high school, she decided to close her store. Luckily, she was familiar with Wilkerson and called them as soon as she knew she wanted to move on to bigger, better and more family-focused things. Was she happy with her decision? Yes, she was. Says Davis, “Any owner looking to make that life change, looking to retire, looking to close, looking for a pause in their career, I would recommend Wilkerson. Hands down!”

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