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Commentary: The Business

Jeff Unger: I’ll Be Back

… But will you? wonders our columnist




THE TREES have sprung new growth across the country. The birds are back from their winter migration and well into their mating season. Summer is nearly upon us, and yet the world holds one more migration and mating season in store. Better known as the tradeshow season, we all migrate to Las Vegas to be a part of the annual late spring festivities. It’s a kind of mating ritual that has been a part of the jewelry industry for years. 

Between retailers and sales reps like me, the sharp-eared individual might overhear the intricacies of the mating calls and lines that stamp out what could have been the start of a beautiful relationship. Here are a few of the more common lines that I personally hate to hear: 

“I’ll be back.” It’s the kiss of death to any chance of mating. You hear it in your store all the time from your customers. As sales reps, we hear that only during a show. We know that you’re not coming, but we smile and look forward to the day and time during the show that you find your way back to my exact spot. When you have a mating area as large as Las Vegas, I can’t even remember where my pond or booth is located. How are you going to remember? We know it’s a polite way to say no.  

When we hear, “Your line is beautiful,” we know you’re saying, “Thanks, but no thanks!” Once we hear this line we have no chance of recovery. Again, you’ve decided to be very polite and tell us no.  

When we hear, “I’m just looking,” we know you’re saying, “Leave me alone.” Unlike your customers who walk into your store for a specific reason, we know why you paid your way to Las Vegas the first week of June. Why not hear the whole schtick from the sales guy or gal? Mating is about the person first and the product second. 

These are all just different versions of “Let’s just be friends” or “I never meant to hurt you.”  


As we come upon the trade show season, we, the ones behind the counters, look forward to the ritual and understand that it’s your opportunity to give back to us what your customers do to you every day. Yet still, we’re hoping for that perfect match.

Jeff Unger was the president and co-owner of B & N Jewelry (d.b.a. Alisa Unger Designs) and a long-time INSTORE contributor. He passed away in February 2019 after a valiant 10-year battle with cancer.

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