Connect with us

Real Deal

Real Deal: The Case of the Engagement Arrangement

Published

on

Two men, two expensive engagement rings but only one woman.
What should the jeweler caught in between do?

BY KATE PETERSON

This article originally appeared in the August 2015 edition of INSTORE.

Advertisement


Two engagement rings, one woman

ILLUSTRATION BY KARLA DURANGPARANG

Carl Hasenhauer has been a well-recognized figure in his Eastern Shore home town since childhood. He had been an athlete and high school hero, and on returning to town after graduating from college, took over his family’s successful furniture manufacturing business.

Over the years, Carl and his high school sweetheart and long-time companion, Sherri Wright, had become regular fixtures at many local events. And like most long-time couples, they would often spend a good part of their time at these events answering well-meaning questions from friends about when they might make things official. .

And after nearly 8 years together, Carl had recently begun to wonder the same thing himself.

Carl gave the matter a good deal of thought after a particularly memorable charity gala, then went to see his old buddy Lucas Rand, third-generation owner of Rand Diamonds & Fine Jewelry.

Advertisement

 

EDITOR’S NOTE

Real Deal scenarios are inspired by true stories, but are changed to sharpen the dilemmas involved. The names of the characters and stores have been changed and should not be confused with real people or places.

Lucas had known Carl and Sherri since high school. Carl was certain that Lucas would help him select the perfect ring, and that he would also keep things very quiet so as not to ruin the surprise proposal he had planned.

As a businessman, Lucas was pleased to take care of Carl, and even more pleased with the $28,000 custom ring he chose.

Advertisement

As Carl’s friend, Lucas had some serious concerns about the long-term prospects for the relationship. He knew things had been a bit rocky recently, and felt obligated to issue the “Are you really sure?” warning to his friend. Carl assured him that all was well, and that it was simply the right time for him and Sherri to wed and start a family.

With that, Lucas set about creating the perfect ring — a magnificent platinum and diamond mounting containing a stunning 2-carat cushion cut center stone — designed to look just like one that Sherri had admired on Carl’s grandmother many years ago.

Carl was delighted when he picked up the ring the first week in August, just before leaving for a Caribbean weekend in celebration of Sherri’s birthday.
It was quite a different scene, however, when he returned to the store a week later, looking quite disheveled.

Meeting in Lucas’ office, he explained how Sherri not only turned down his proposal but also took the quiet time away as her opportunity to tell him that she needed to find her own way in the world, and that she wanted out of the relationship completely.

Despite the custom nature of the ring and the fact that he had bought and paid for the memo center diamond, Lucas agreed to help his friend by taking the ring back and refunding his money.

Carl and Sherri both kept a very low profile in town after the incident, and Lucas hadn’t seen nor heard from his friend till near the end of September. On the morning of Lucas’ first day back in the store after a 2-week vacation, Carl called to tell him that he and Sherri had been talking about reconciling, and he asked if Lucas still had the ring. He felt certain that things were heading in a positive direction between them, and he wanted to buy the ring again as a sign of his good faith and commitment to the relationship. Lucas confirmed that the ring was still in the store, and made an appointment to meet with Carl the following day.

After hanging up the phone, Lucas asked his assistant Allison to retrieve the ring from the vault, explaining Carl’s intention to buy it again. Allison stood in the doorway to Lucas’ office looking dumbstruck, then explained that the previous week’s big sale — a $22,000 solitaire — was made to a doctor from the next town, who selected the ring with his new fiancée: Sherri Wright. Allison had just not had time to tell Lucas about it yet.

Lucas felt bound by a sense of duty to tell his friend about the situation before he made a huge mistake, but at the same time, knew that he was also obligated to respect the confidentiality of his other customer, the doctor who was now engaged to Sherri. Lucas was in a bind.


THE BIG QUESTIONS

With Carl due in the store in less than 24 hours, what should Lucas do?


RETAILER RESPONSES

Stacey H.

Chicago IL

Poor Lucas should schedule an “out of town” buying trip in another country, preferably one with no cellphone service, and be gone for at least three weeks while this situation plays itself out in his absence. There’s no way to win this jewelry version of the “Kobiashi-Maru” (sorry, Star-Trek reference). He owes his friend nothing more having refunded his money on a custom piece (a very, very bad precedent) and Sherri and Carl and Doctor Love are all going to have to work this one out on their own.


Rebecca P.

Dothan, AL

Lucas should definitely send Sherri some flowers — she is his best customer. Just kidding! This is a no-win situation. The jeweler should absolutely not betray the confidence of the second customer. The biggest issue is allowing the return of a custom-designed ring in the first place. If his friend had kept the ring that he designed in the beginning he could give it to Sherri and take it back as many times as he wanted, and the jeweler would not have to be involved in his personal relationship.


Marcus M.

Midland, TX

I would tell Carl that he needs to sit down with Sherri and have a very honest conversation. Give her the opportunity to be a decent human being. He’ll probably ask you some questions as to why you suggested that but just stay focused and don’t be the one to tell him about her shadiness unless you absolutely have to. If she doesn’t come clean then, yeah, you bet ya, I would tell him everything going on. He’s your friend and that’s where your loyalty should be and that’s who you should protect.


Irv J.

Highland Park, IL

Tell his friend nothing. Insist he take the ring and not pay for it. Make sure all goes well first. Then come back and pay. You helped him and stood out of the situation.


Marty F.

Albany, NY

He must find a way to be totally honest in telling his friend what he knows. There is an obligation to maintain privacy of the doctor’s gift but there are other ways of presenting it without compromising the situation.


Jim A.

Meridian, ID

Sometimes a true friendship comes with difficult times. Lucas was kind enough to refund his money after custom making the piece. Most jewelers wouldn’t do that.


Michelle R.

Elmhurst, IL

If Lucas is a good friend then he should tell Carl right away. He doesn’t have to give out the name of who bought the other ring, but tell him Sherri is with someone else and that a co-worker helped them pick out a ring the week before. Honesty is the best policy! I would never want a customer/friend to re-buy a ring to re-propose to be shot down again by a woman who was not very honest herself.


Advertisement

SPONSORED VIDEO

Wilkerson Testimonials

Wilkerson Helped This Jeweler to Navigate His Retirement Sale Despite a Pandemic

Hosting a going-out-of-business sale when the coronavirus pandemic hit wasn’t a part of Bob Smith’s game plan for his retirement. Smith, the owner of E.M. Smith Jewelers in Chillicothe, Ohio, says the governor closed the state mid-way through. But Smith chose Wilkerson, and Wilkerson handled it like a champ, says Smith. And when it was time for the state to reopen, the sale continued like nothing had ever happened. “I’d recommend Wilkerson,” he says. “They do business the way we do business.”

Promoted Headlines

Most Popular