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David Squires

In the End: A Sara Castic Letter

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This week, we bring you one of my personal favorite “In the End” classics from January 2007 — a manufacturer’s message to retailers in which the manufacturer’s frustration with the habits of its customers just can’t quite be hidden.

SARA CASTIC
JEWELRY DESIGN COMPANY

Dear
Acme Jewelers

Hello! We are honored that you have decided to grace your showcases with our humble products.

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As you know, more and more of your customers are looking for that "something special" they
can only find in a piece of designer jewelry, and this is evident from the increasing number of phone
calls we are receiving every day. To serve you better, we have compiled a short list of helpful hints that
will enable us to expedite your next sale. Before contacting us, please keep the following in mind:

the style number. Before you call us, please make a note of which of our products your customer is interested
in. This is the first information we will ask you for, so make sure that it is haphazardly scrawled on a job envelope or
Post-It note (Post-Notes work best) lost somewhere amid the many papers on your workspace, preferably on the
other side of the store. Important: Before asking our representative to hold for three to four minutes while you
search for this information, please remember to ask at least one of the following questions: "Oh, I suppose you
need that, huh?", "Can I just give you our style number?", or our favorite, "Well, it holds a princess cut – can’t you
just look it up for me?" If our representative does attempt to look it up for you, remember that we offer only
several dozen mountings to hold princess centers, so please express extreme frustration – long, drawn-out sighs are
the most popular method of doing this – as he or she attempts to narrow down the selection by asking ridiculous
things like, "Does it have side stones?" or "Is it a built-in head or a peg head?"

finger size, metal, and other irrelevant data. We understand that your customer is in the store
watching you make this phone call, and that neither you nor she has time to waste on this purchase that will last a
lifetime. That’s our job, and we can best accomplish it through guesswork and mild cursing. When we ask what
kind of metal you want, please reply, “Gold!” in an irritated tone of voice, because no one ever buys platinum.
When we inquire as to the quality and color of the gold, act baffled. It is, after all, a well-kept trade secret that both
14k and 18k gold are available in white, yellow and rose. If for some reason you have already gathered this information
from your customer, please make sure it is not written on the same Post-It note on which the style number has
been haphazardly scrawled.

custom orders. Again, we recognize that the average American consumer no longer has any time to spend on
a highly-personalized, big-ticket purchase that, again, is supposed to last a lifetime. To that end, all of our representatives
have been equipped with telepathic powers. However, they will do their best to hide these powers from you,
because we enjoy devoting our own time – of which we have more than any other business on the planet – to being
yelled at. If, after you have attempted to verbally describe an entirely unique and complicated piece of jewelry , our
representative should timorously inquire as to whether you might not be able to fax a simple sketch, please
immediately bristle. Appropriate responses include “I’m not an artist!” and/or a reiteration of the verbal description
you provided just moments earlier.

This is just a short list. We may request additional information, but only because we want to drive you up a wall
with all of our stupid questions. Then, through luck, perseverance, and more mild cursing, we will probably create
almost exactly the piece of jewelry you’ve imagined for so long. And if we don’t, you can always rely on our
industry-first please-stop-yelling-and-we’ll-agree-to-anything&#0153 return policy.

Eternally sitting by the phone, waiting for your call,
SARA CASTIC

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