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Big Survey

Family Jewelers Report That Customers Often Jump to Conclusions About Who Is Related and How

Awkward situations often ensue.



HUNDREDS RESPONDED TO our Big Survey question: “If you work with any family members, please tell us the funniest or strangest thing that’s ever happened, either between you or that you both (or all) experienced?” Jewelers report that they experience every possible form of mistaken identity and misunderstandings about just who is related to whom and how. Here is a sample of those awkward situations and memorable moments:

  • My dad was swearing like crazy in his office, adjacent to the bridal section. I, with a straight face, apologized to the customer for his Tourette’s syndrome. Boy did I get cussed at for that one!
  • We have pulled a wrapped Christmas gift (for my sister) from under the tree at home and sold it on Christmas Eve!
  • I started at the age of 18 and hired my mom as my staff. Try going without Mom’s food when there is a disagreement!
  • I work with my dad, and he always calls me Troyki on the sales floor. My name is Troy, and I tell him over and over that is not professional. “Let me get Troyki for you!” SMH
  • Our customers assuming my wife and I were together before we actually were.
  • The cutest thing recently has been our grandson’s inquiry “What did you sell today?” (He’s 9) That’s one of the first things he asks.
  • Grandson pushed the panic button instead of the door buzzer and was surprised when the police came.
  • I was using our large melting torch, and as I turned off the gas, it popped and was very loud. My wife screamed bloody murder.
  • Many clients think all staff are related to me.
  • When I call vendors, they think it’s my son; it’s like I don’t even exist.
  • When we were younger in our business, a woman tried to set my husband up on a date with her granddaughter in front of me. She didn’t realize we were married.
  • Customers assuming my mother-in-law was my wife or that my wife was my sister. They basically knew it was a family run store and it was funny how they put the relationships together.
  • My son and I did a 36 hour turn around driving 12 hours to pick up a laser. We didn’t kill each other!
  • Twin granddaughters confused the buyers.
  • Everyone thinks I am my father when I answer the phone.
  • Customers call my sister my mom.
  • People keep asking me if my dad is here. He is actually my husband and is really only 5 years older than me!
  • Customers thinking I’m my father’s wife!!! Ugh!
  • I work with my wife. At the advice of our legal team, I will not be answering this question now or in the future.
  • People asking me if my wife is still married.

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



When There’s No Succession Plan, Call Wilkerson

Bob Wesley, owner of Robert C. Wesley Jewelers in Scottsdale, Ariz., was a third-generation jeweler. When it was time to enjoy life on the other side of the counter, he weighed his options. His lease was nearing renewal time and with no succession plan, he decided it was time to call Wilkerson. There was plenty of inventory to sell and at first, says Wesley, he thought he might try to manage a sale himself. But he’s glad he didn’t. “There’s no way I could have done this as well as Wilkerson,” he says. Wilkerson took responsibility for the entire event, with every detail — from advertising to accounting — done, dusted and managed by the Wilkerson team. “It’s the complete package,” he says of the Wilkerson method of helping jewelers to easily go on to the next phase of their lives. “There’s no way any retailer can duplicate what they’ve done.”

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