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Big Survey: Jewelers Actually Heard These Weird Complaints from Their Customers

‘There’s a charge?’

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YOU ARE EXPECTED to be everything under the sun, from a plumber (“I could not solder a faucet”) to a caterer (“We did not offer them a sandwich”) to a dentist (“I wouldn’t clean the lady’s gold teeth while they were in her mouth.”) You may feel you just can’t win. Still, somehow, you persevere! Read on for more “weird” complaints.

  • We polished a wide wedding band to new condition after sizing it and the customer was furious. She said she didn’t want to appear newlywed.
  • I wouldn’t clean this lady’s gold teeth while they were in her mouth.
  • We didn’t offer them a sandwich.
  • Customer: “What? I ran over it with my car and it’s not covered by your warranty?
    Don’t you stand behind your product?”
  • I could not solder a faucet.
  • A customer complained that her diamond had not grown over the five years she bought it from me.
  • Customer: “The electricity in my body stops watches I buy from you. You must do something to them.”
  • She didn’t like the reflection that her ideal-cut diamond created on her car dashboard as she drove on a sunny day.
  • A lady brought in a watch for a battery replacement that was wrapped in a tissue and placed inside a small sandwich bag. When she returned for the watch, she complained that we had thrown away her Ziploc bag. We offered her a smaller bag that we put extra links in but she refused. She wanted her Ziploc bag back.
  • That we could custom make body jewelry but would not perform the installation.
  • “You’re too happy.”
  • It’s easier to get in touch with the Pope.
  • You switched my diamond for a better one.
  • Why can’t I dirt bike with my platinum diamond engagement ring on?
  • I was scary looking.
  • I wouldn’t honor a lifetime battery for a woman who brought in her deceased husband’s watch. I said it’s a lifetime guarantee of the watch or owner, whichever comes first.
  • I did not put radioactive material back on the watch.
  • My honesty makes it hard for them to spend money in my store because I don’t upsell them.
  • That I couldn’t appraise a crown. (The kind that’s worn on a head).
  • Customer wanted to know if we “price-matched.” She was looking at a mini-flashlight. Price was $4.95.
  • There’s a charge?
  • Earrings exploded.
  • It’s too sparkly and makes the other jewelry look bad in comparison.
  • Customer: I need to exchange this ring bought five years ago but I want an identical one. Me: Why? Customer: Because my priest says it’s cursed so I want the same style, same price, but different diamonds and gold.
  • It wasn’t free for old people.

Eileen McClelland is the Managing Editor of INSTORE. She believes that every jewelry store has the power of cool within them.

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Big Survey

Big Survey: How Many Women Make More Than $150,000 in Retail Jewelry?

For the most part, men are the higher earners.

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FOUR IN 10 independent jewelry stores in America are now run by women according to the 2018 Big Survey. However, for the most part, it is the men who continue to be the highest earners, with 80 percent of the jewelers making $150,000 or more a year being male.

A part of this discrepancy can be explained by the fact that many of the women owners and managers are relatively new to the industry and their stores have yet to reach the scale that rewards their owners so handsomely. In 2009, the first time we specifically asked about gender, the split between male and female owners was 65/35.

It’s also undeniable that women face bigger hurdles in business, whether it’s accessing credit, being accepted in business networks or just operating in a still male-dominated field.

Having said that, the women jewelers in our survey are doing well. Forty-three percent of the jewelers who said they’d had their best year ever since 2016 were women, suggesting they are outperforming their male counterparts.

As the Store Owner, What Did You Earn (Salary + Share of Profit) Last Year?

What Is It Your Gender?

COMMENT: The number of women owners or managers has been steadily rising since we started doing these surveys more than a decade ago. The first time we specifically asked about gender, in 2009, the split was 65/35. For the record, 43% of the thriving jewelers were women, suggesting they are outperforming their male counterparts. That said, it should be noted that male-owned stores overall tend to be older and thus the owners are often comparing those last two years against a historical record that goes back decades.

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Big Survey

Manmade Diamond Legal Quiz: Can You Do Better Than the Jewelers in the 2018 Big Survey?

Test your knowledge.

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ON JULY 24, the Federal Trade Commission’s jewelry guidelines were revised to include laboratory-grown diamonds in the commission’s definition of diamonds.

The FTC’s previous definition of a diamond was: “A natural mineral consisting essentially of pure carbon crystallized in the isometric system.”

The new listing does not include the word “natural.” “When the commission first used this definition in 1956, there was only one type of diamond product on the market — natural stones mined from the earth,” the FTC said. “Since then, technological advances have made it possible to create diamonds in a laboratory. These stones have essentially the same optical, physical and chemical properties as mined diamonds. Thus, they are diamonds.”

Which of the following terms are you allowed to use to describe laboratory-grown diamonds, according to the FTC. (The figures in parentheses reflect the answers of your fellow jewelers who took the Big Survey)

Laboratory-grown
94%
Manmade
56%
Laboratory-created
47%
Synthetic
35%
(Manufacturer-name)-created
34%
Cultured
20%
Simulant
7%
Imitation
6%

 

The descriptions in orange are fine, based on the FTC guidelines, while those in red are not. How did you do?

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Big Survey

Big Survey: How Many Hours Do Jewelers Work Per Week?

More time at work doesn’t always spell success.

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CONVENTIONAL WISDOM SAYS there should be a direct correlation between hours worked and performance. But the 2018 Big Survey failed to find such a clear link. The takeaway? Working smart and other variables like being in an economically strong part of the economy matter more, because when you look at the numbers, just about all jewelers work hard.

To be sure, the strugglers in our survey (defined by those who said one of the last two years had been their worst in business) tended to be over-represented at the “fewer hours” end of the band, but they were also among the jewelers putting in the longest hours at the other end of the spectrum (16 percent of the strugglers were working more than 60 hours a week compared to 12 percent for the thrivers). Overall, just about everyone was working hard: 58 percent of the respondents to the 2018 Big Survey, which attracted the participation of more than 700 independent jewelers, reported working more than 45 hours a week.

Average / Thrivers / Strugglers

Less than 30 3% / 3% / 5%

30­-39 15% / 15% / 22%

40­-45 23% / 25% / 12%

46­-50 23% / 20% / 22%

51­-60 22% / 24% /22%

61­-70 9% / 8% /12%

More than 70 3% / 4% /4%

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