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Commentary: The Business

Jeff Unger: Just Say, “Hello”

In this world of texting and e-mail, we forget that the simplest opening line can do the trick.




THE ART of face-to-face conversation and saying “hello” has been lost with technology. It all started with the first text message, which then transformed into one-letter conversations. We now search Facebook friends and strangers alike for information and employment.

But you never know who you could meet or what you could learn about them by simply saying, “Hello,” and starting a conversation.

My daughter Brandi, just out of college with a degree from Indiana University in communications and a minor in business, recently bought a one-way ticket to New York City in her pursuit of her dream to work on Madison Avenue in the town that doesn’t sleep.

As she waited for her flight, her emotions running onto her trusted teddy bear, a young executive approached her to make sure she was OK. She explained her new adventure and leaving home. The woman bought her breakfast as they both waited for Delta Flight 223. Brandi asked why she was traveling to New York. Turns out, she was an executive with Google and asked Brandi for her résumé.

As she landed in the city for her first interview, Brandi spent her first lunch at The Stage Deli to partake of her first of many corned beef sandwiches.

Sitting next to her was a grandmother with her grandchild. Brandi looked over and commented on how lovely her grandchild was. The woman was taken aback for a moment and said, “Thank you!”


She then asked Brandi where she was from and where she worked. Brandi told her of her adventure and countless interviews in the marketing and media world. Turns out, the daughter of the grandmother is the producer of Good Morning America. She called her daughter on the spot to get Brandi an interview.

The following evening, Brandi and some friends from college visited a local watering hole in the city.

Next to her was a middle-aged couple enjoying their after-work martini. In an effort to get a drink, she said, “Hello” to the couple. They turned to say hello. They asked her where she was from and what she was doing in New York. She went through the story … again. Turns out a simple hello got her introduced to the head of Fox Television, who asked for her résumé and gave her his e-mail address.

Three stories of the use of a simple five-letter word.

If Brandi can take on the Big Apple with such results, imagine how much more business you might do and the people you might meet if you just said, “Hello.”


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.



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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