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Big Survey

Here’s What Jewelers Proudly ‘Do Wrong’

From not stocking diamonds to leaving the toilet seat up, store owners share how they’re bucking the system.



IN THIS YEAR’S Big Survey, we asked jewelers, “What do you proudly ‘do wrong’ … and why?” The answers varied from bucking the system in business to eating too much junk food. More than a few jewelers said they swear too much at work … or at least make inappropriate comments! Here were more answers, including some interesting takes on doing business that definitely go against traditional wisdom.

  • I set the wrong center stone. It was cheaper and better looking than the one the client selected. I told them what happened, and they said leave it.
  • When a customer is trading in scrap gold for repairs or jewelry, we pay them 100 percent of what we will get from the refinery, for two reasons. First, we’re already making a profit on what they’re buying, so why should we make a profit on their scrap? Second, it shocks the customer into an instant bond of trust. It always turns a “we’ll think about it” into a “YES!”
  • Don’t mark it down after it’s been in the showcase for a year; mark it up instead. We can always mark it down later.
  • I come right out and ask bridal shoppers their budget. I told him I have anything from a couple hundred dollars all the way into tens of thousands it gets them to feel comfortable and state what they had in mind.
  • Do not offer financing, as it has the potential to cripple young people financially.
  • I will often counsel a couple to spend less on their rings knowing that money is the No. 1 cause of marital stress.
  • Discounts. I like to make people be happy with me and come back, even if I don’t make the big bucks. (My husband hates it.)
  • We don’t stock any diamonds. More work up front for every sale, but it leaves me with more money for hiring and improving our space.
  • I work every day. I don’t take days off. I don’t understand what people do with all that time — just like read a book? Or do housework? I’d rather sell more at work and get a cleaning service.
  • I’m passive-aggressive … because it’s the only way associates understand mistakes!
  • Don’t give refunds. Credit in-store merchandise only, because we aren’t a bank for people to use merchandise and return a week later!
  • I talk people out of selling family heirlooms. I make them really think before they sell me certain items. They are many times very grateful. And other times, they just sell it to me after thinking about it.
  • I proudly don’t dress like a “jeweler.” I love selling diamond engagement rings while wearing flip flops, jeans and a T-shirt.
  • Wear socks with my sandals (only when with my family). It drives my daughters nuts.
  • Focus on my numbers. It’s never been my thing, and as long as we are making money, I really don’t care.
  • Remove commas. Why? They’re often overused and superfluous.
  • Talk politics. I think it’s important to have communication no matter what “side” of the fence you’re on.
  • Put mascara on first before all other makeup. That way, if you run out of time, you already have the most important piece already done. Also, good mascara is noticed more while wearing a mask.
  • Leave the toilet seat up. Look before you sit.
  • Micro-manage. I can’t seem to stop completely, so I’ve decided to embrace it.
  • Wear Vans sneakers with suits. I started doing it 25 years ago because of sore feet. Now, it’s my style.
  • Flirt with customers. I don’t know why I get away with it, but it’s worked for me for 50 years.
  • Carry a conversation on long after the sale. We make each customer feel like friends and family. The first store I worked at used to shun customers that were not buying. I didn’t, and those customers followed me and brought whole towns of business. The owner always told me, “You’re wasting your time, he is not buying today.” That store is out of business.
  • Speed. I just want to get where I am going!
  • I wear my watch on the wrong wrist. Saves wear and tear on my bracelet. Try to convert others!
  • Swear and be a normal person in front of customers. I’m just me. I have a trucker mouth. Of course, I know when to reign it in and know when I can let it fly. But I’m not a stuffy stereotype salesperson.
  • Fix others’ mistakes without bringing up the problem. Most of the time, I don’t like repeating simple tasks that are done every day that shouldn’t be a problem.
  • Spend too much on technology. I’m addicted to being on the bleeding edge of technology.
  • Balance a paper checkbook. I need to see everything on paper!
  • Work on electrical outlets without turning out the power. I like not inconveniencing others.
  • Lower our prices for those less fortunate.
  • Stepped up to serve my city and state as an elected official — something our industry wouldn’t consider safe.

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